From tactics to taglines, Wistia’s CEO, Chris Savage, chats marketing with the brains behind successful brands on our new video series, Brandwagon. Last week, Chris sat down with Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-Founder of SparkToro, to talk about building brand affinity and why it’s more important than ever to make deep connections with your audience. Today, we’re excited to share our extended interview with this week’s guest, Justine Jordan, Head of Marketing at Help Scout.
Check out the episode to hear Justine talk about how design thinking is essential in her approach to marketing and brand building.
Watch the actual Brandwagon episode here!
When Justine Jordan started at Litmus, a leading email marketing company, she was one of eight employees and a self-described “designer, masquerading as a marketer.” Although her background is in design, she quickly learned the importance of wearing many hats at a small company. She saw Litmus grow to over 100 employees, and today she’s the head of marketing at Help Scout, a software company that focuses on helping you delight your customers.
Both Litmus and Help Scout are brands defined, in part, by exceptional design. On this episode, Justine shares how she weaves design thinking into marketing and hiring folks who share the values of your brand. Plus, she details what it’s like to run remote teams, how to have super-effective internal communications, and the challenges of creating your brand’s first show.
“Your brand will never be differentiated because if all senior leadership is saying, ”We’re a great brand," and then all the people at the bottom are saying, “Well, I can’t actually make the brand great on a day-to-day basis,” it’s going to completely fall apart." On this episode of The Brandwagon Interviews, Justine Jordan explains the importance of living the values of your brand across your company.
Here are some of the lessons learned throughout the episode:
- Get comfortable wearing many hats at a small company
- Leadership should live their values and empower employees to reinforce brand values in every interaction
- Written communication and documentation is super important for a remote workforce
Short on time? Check out some of our favorite moments during this interview between Chris and Justine.
Jordan and Savage have known each other for a long time, and while Chris knows a ton about Litmus (Justine’s previous company) and Help Scout, he asks Jordan to share just what Help Scout does and what their mission is. Justine talks about Help Scout as a help desk platform, but like all good brands, it’s constantly evolving. She shares where Help Scout is headed and how their brand messaging is changing.
Justine has a deep design background she has brought to every one of her marketing roles. She says design school “taught [her] how to think,” and describes how design thinking has been essential in her approach to marketing and brand building.
When Justine started at Litmus, she was employee number eight. By the time she left, the company had grown to over 100 employees. What advice does Jordan have for folks who are at a small company trying to gain traction? Jordan talks about how, at first, she felt like a “designer, masquerading as a marketer,” and discovered it’s important to get comfortable wearing many hats at a small company. She explains how she leveraged her personal expertise to become a resource for her company and for other companies working with Litmus.
For both Litmus and Help Scout, meticulous design is a hallmark of their brands. Savage wonders how Jordan is able to uphold such impressive design standards wherever she goes. Justine says it’s all about your talent. When you’re hiring, make sure your prospective employees understand and share the values of your brand! Then it becomes easy to rally your team around ideas, best practices, initiatives, and keeping everything on-brand.
Chris asks Justine about using brand as a differentiator for your business. Jordan echoes what Mark DiCristina said in episode 1 — in a way, brand belongs in the minds of your customers (and non-customers). And in that sense, she says it’s incredibly important that top leadership in companies live their values and empower all of their employees to reinforce brand values in every customer interaction. If the employees on the ground are hamstrung by senior leadership, and they don’t feel like they have a way to make your brand great, then your brand is going nowhere fast.
Litmus and Help Scout are brands that rely on remote teams. Justine details what it’s like to run marketing teams remotely, and what advice she has for other folks who are remote today or are considering using a remote workforce in the future. She also talks about the myriad benefits of working with a remote team. Aside from having a positive economic impact for the employees and for the business, remote teams tend to be more inclusive and bring together diverse perspectives to build a better brand. Communication — particularly written communication — and documentation is super important for a remote workforce, and Jordan shares how she handles internal communications on her teams.
Help Scout is a B-Corp, meaning they balance making a profit with supporting a cause they believe in. Justine talks about what it means to have B-Corp certification, and how it plays into the marketing at Help Scout.
Jordan is setting out to create Help Scout’s first show. She and Savage talk about the idea behind the show and the thinking that went into their pilot episode. Admitting that “pre-production is incredibly hard,” she talks about the up-front challenges of making a show. Some of the considerations that have made it difficult are: what is our brand voice in a show format? What employees do we want to appear on the show, and how do we want their personas to come across? And, how can our brand values shine through in this new format? The pre-production phase has been challenging, but ultimately pretty rewarding for Justine.
The subject of their first show? Death Wish Coffee Company.
At Litmus, Justine helped create “Email Client Market Share” reports for their customers. The report was accompanied by a blog post and a video that helped break down information into actionable advice. Her team was able to reduce production time once they found a repeatable format — the first episode taking several hours to film, and latter episodes taking only about 20 minutes each.
39:21 – “If your attitude toward email is a ‘blast,’ it probably indicates a lack of respect to your customer”
Savage and Jordan talk about the language used around email and video marketing. If you’re using negative terms like “blast” and “viral” to describe your tactics, it’s difficult to see how those approaches lead to anything positive or personalized for your customers. If you’re trying to build a strong brand, you need to cultivate deeper connections with your customers to boost brand affinity. Jordan talks about why email blasts are a thing of the past and how marketers should be thinking about their audiences moving forward.