As a marketer, have you ever taken a look at your website, your content, or your branding and just thought… something isn’t quite right here?

Unfortunately, businesses are often where creative ideas go to die. Even if you had a great idea about how to solve that branding problem or upgrade your look and feel, the internal obstacles you'd face might be insurmountable.

Or at least, they'd feel that way.

In this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, we talk to two experts about how marketers can bring a creative idea and new branding initiative to life in an organization. You'll hear from:

  • Simon Mulcahy, Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce
  • Colin Fleming, Chief Creative Officer, Salesforce

Simon and Colin were key players in the team that rolled out a new look and feel across Salesforce properties. See a few examples of how this new, inspirational brand looks below. 

In this episode, which you can preview here, you'll hear personal stories from Simon and Colin about how they brought these creative ideas to life. 

For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights from Simon and Colin, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

#1: Get executive buy-in.

 

When launching a new National Parks-inspired look and feel for Salesforce, Colin and Simon both talked about how important it was to get Salesforce's CEO on board. Check out this example of what this new, creative branding actually looks like in the wild:

Not your typical B2B look, right? With any major branding initiative that you unveil, you want executives to be your advocates, not your skeptics.

Make sure your managers and their managers understand the importance of the work you’re doing - so they can get out of your way and let you do what you do best.

Colin, our Chief Creative Officer, explains, "Educating and enabling an organization on your look and feel, your brand identity, and your campaign strategy is much easier" for small companies. The bigger you get, that executive buy-in becomes even more important.

 

#2: Get the whole company to rally around your idea.

 

Bringing a net-new brand to life isn't for the faint of heart — or those who aren't looking to collaborate across teams and departments. Colin continued, "The most difficult thing, in my opinion, is getting the entire company to rally around a point of view."

When bringing a look like the below to life, Colin and his team created an internal campaign, not just an external one.

To educate every employee, Colin says his initiative "literally delivered a trail map to every single person in the company. Whether they [were] remote or in the office, they got a trail map that was their guide to this campaign. And it talked about what it means to be a trailblazer, why the characters, and their purpose in the community, and it really helped give everyone a common definition of what this campaign really stood for."

As you bring your own creative idea to life, think about how you can rally internal groups around the idea and make them feel a part of the new narrative, instead of excluded.

 

#3: Keep new initiatives close to the root of your company.

 

"Every company has unique aspects of their culture that sets them apart from the crowd," says Colin. "My advice is to really make sure that whatever idea you come forth with is deeply embedded and deeply rooted in the culture of the company. Get down to the ethos. Don't do things because Airbnb did it, or Nike did it back in 1985 or Apple did it with the Think Different campaign. Do it because it makes sense for your company."

It's fine to be inspired by other companies, but it's most important to capture what makes your company unique and special and start there.

Colin says to begin by asking, "What is your unique differentiator as a company? What does your company stand for? And that is where you begin, and along the way as you're developing this idea, this campaign, or this narrative, or whatever it may be, see where that idea takes you — but make sure you can always point back to the root of it."

 

#4: Think differentiated.

 

Simon, Salesforce's Chief Marketing Officer, is a big advocate for Salesforce's new campaigns and hopes other companies will be inspired by blaze their own trails within marketing. If you want to do a similar rethinking of your brand, he suggests, “I think there are a number of things you've got to do to really move in this direction. The first is, you've constantly got to look at your brand. Is it really differentiated? If it's not, then experiment. Try different things out."

That said, Simon also recommends not changing your brand beyond recognition: "You've got to be careful about innovating your brand too much, because then you begin to lose it. So, it's good to pause ... and make sure you get the right feedback from all these different audiences.” That leads us to our next point about experimenting and testing.

 

#5: Do plenty of experimenting and testing.

 

Run some focus groups, run some A/B tests with that new creative on your website, and go with your creative intuition, but then back it up with data. Simon advises, "You experiment by putting it out there, by trying new ideas, and then getting feedback. Not just feedback internally, because in many cases, the feedback you'll get internally is not a very good indication of what the market thinks."

He continues, "And you can't necessarily just go to customers either, because maybe your customers just know you too well. You've also got to go to prospects and places where they don't know you. How does your brand resonate?"

 

#6: Iterate and continue to improve.

 

Just because you've launched that clever new campaign or gorgeous new brand doesn't mean your work is done. Colin says, “We marketers must stay close to the expectations of consumers, stay plugged in, and not be afraid to disrupt ourselves. Any aspect of marketing can always be better, and I think that's what keeps me coming back to the well, in terms of marketing, and keeps me always hungry — because what is cutting edge today a year from now will no longer be that."

In other words, Colin says, it's important to stay ahead of customer expectations, and avoid the status quo. He wraps it up, "Stay away from the status quo, not a fun place to be.”

Simon agrees with this focus on customer expectations and experiences: "More and more, every company is going to have to become ever more focused on the end customer. And that does require companies to look at every single thing they do. How are they listening to the customer? How are they engaging the customer? Every single touchpoint needs to be carefully designed and well thought through." 

Whether you're a large company like Salesforce or launching a new brand for the first time, the importance of pushing for better and avoiding the status quo is tantamount.

Learn more from Simon about Salesforce's National Parks-inspired campaign.

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Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.