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Brand Academy SF: Branding Secrets From Slack and Pivotal


After a great turnout at our first Brandfolder on Tour event, we packed up our belongings and headed to San Francisco to host our second installment of “Brand Academy.” Brandfolder clients Slack and Pivotal offered their advice in two outstanding presentations, which were enjoyed by attendees from some of the top companies in San Francisco. (A special shout out to Pivotal for hosting our event in their space!)

 

Since the event was filled with so many insightful tips, tricks, and bits of advice, we wanted to share them with the rest of our audience.

Below, I’ve recapped the best lessons and takeaways from each presentation.

Pivotal: Building a Brand Culture

Morgan Holzer from Pivotal kicked things off with the story of Pivotal’s culture, which has played a huge role in the overall growth of their brand. Pivotal is focused on transforming how the world builds software, but their culture reigns above all else. This is seen in their mantra, which reads: Do what works. Do the right thing. Be kind.

branding lessons from slack and pivotal

Morgan showcased how culture at Pivotal impacts all aspects of their business, from hiring new employees to setting guidelines about how work is accomplished.

For example, Pivotal wants to ensure that new employees will fit in culturally. They consider a cultural fit to be highly important during the interviewing and hiring processes. Once accepted, Pivots (as they call themselves) are privy to many great perks, including free on-site dental cleanings, haircuts, amazing snacks, and more. Not all companies can realistically provide such perks. However, Morgan explained that such benefits are very purpose-driven — they stand to improve the lives of their employees, so they’ll be happier and more engaged throughout the work day.

So, if money actually is an object (as it is at most workplaces), think about simple things you can do, like providing extra time off for hitting major milestones, or hosting a monthly lunch and learn. No matter what perks you decide, make sure they will help your employees lead more fulfilling and productive work lives.

Additionally, Morgan discussed how taking time to focus on employee happiness brings direct long-term benefits to your overall organization. Pivots love Pivotal — this became very apparent when I was in their office listening to Pivots talk about their jobs with friends, partners, and peers.

When employees are your number one advocate, it’ll be easier to build your brand’s value — and that’s something every company should focus on.

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Slack: Humanizing Your Brand Voice

It’s not every day I get the opportunity to hear from the Editorial Director of Slack, Anna Pickard, in a personal setting. Slack, the world’s fastest growing startup, didn’t get themselves in that position without also creating a great brand. Anna’s presentation reminded us that at the end of the day, we are all human, and we should communicate to one another as such.

For example, release notes don’t have to be release notes. In fact, there’s a small conglomerate of people willing to pay money (yes, actual cash) to read Slack’s release notes.

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This attention to detail permeates across the entire Slack user experience, and it’s the reason people are so in love with the Slack brand.

Anna highlighted four traits as key to “being human” in your brand efforts: courtesy, empathy, playfulness, and honesty. Anna showed how Slack humanized their brand experience at every consumer touchpoint, from social media to in-app messaging. For example, Anna mentioned how Slack apologizes for interrupting someone’s day in order to communicate to them, and how they always admit it when they make a mistake.

Specifically, one Slack upgrade didn’t run so smoothly. This required users to restart the app, which wasn’t an ideal experience. However, the way Slack communicated about it left end users less irritated and more understanding. The lesson here is to connect to your customers on an emotional level, so you can leave them with a positive feeling about their interactions with your brand. Anna encouraged the audience to think about simple ways you can enhance your user experience (via email messaging, social media, or within your own software). 

Brandfolder: Calculating The ROI of Branding

Last but not least, Brandfolder’s own Steve Baker took the stage to conclude Brand Academy. After all, Brandfolder was built to help you better store, share, and showcase your important brand assets, including elements of your culture and your newly refreshed brand voice.

Steve shared findings from our latest State of DAM survey, which revealed key industry insights such as the fact that “marketers waste 62.5 hours annually searching for brand assets.” Without a system in place to help maintain the assets most important to your brand, your employees become less productive and face brand inconsistency.

branding lessons from slack

Steve used examples of well-known companies like MapQuest to prove the value of a consistent and well-managed brand. According to Steve McKee (and at Brandfolder we very much agree with him), “A brand is the only corporate asset that managed properly, will never depreciate.” Steve explained how important it is to have a dedicated location for sharing your digital assets. To ensure you see ROI on your branding efforts, today’s brands should adopt a Digital Asset Management solution such as Brandfolder.

Steve also used this opportunity to announce Brandfolder for Slack, which includes two new apps for managing your brand directly in Slack. Brandbot is a handy bot for interacting with your Brandfolder directly from your Slack channel, and Event Feed lets you track your Brandfolder’s analytics in real-time. Both of these highly-anticipated apps are now available for free download in the Slack App store.

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We’d like to thank both Morgan and Anna for sharing valuable branding secrets from Slack and Pivotal. We’d also like to thank all of the people who made it out to the event. We’re hard at work planning additional stops, so check back for announcements on upcoming tour stops.

We’d love to see you at our next Brand Academy!


Jenay Sellers runs Digital Marketing at Brandfolder. As a Marketer and wannabe website designer, she understands the importance of digital asset management tools and solutions. When she's not encouraging others to check out Brandfolder, she enjoys cooking Blue Apron meals, playing golf, and curating Spotify's best new music.

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