Hootsuite invented the social media management category, but in recent years had seen a decline in awareness. Concurrently, social media has evolved at a phenomenal pace since we started 14 years ago; mirroring the speed at which society moves, it has become an uncontrollable force of culture and the wildest part of the internet.
We have witnessed and felt this movement, and we know better than anyone that no business is immune to the ever-changing nature of social — and how important it is for brands to keep pace with consumers’ evolving expectations. But, we weren’t walking the walk; while we inherently believed that storytelling should be more emotive, more human, we primarily looked (and acted like) a B2B brand… and it wasn’t landing with our customers.
To keep pace with social, improve brand awareness, and re-establish ourselves as the leader in social management, we unveiled a new visual identity and brand platform, designed with our customers at the core. Through the new brand ethos, “Your Guide to the Wild,” we wanted to bring the vibrancy (and chaos) of marketing online to life, which was executed through a complete redesign of our logo and visual brand representation, tone of voice and Owly (mascot).
The new brand system didn’t stop there. Bringing this to life, we designed an integrated campaign — with a significant focus on digital and social media — to challenge outdated perceptions of our brand and show that we don’t just ‘get’ social, we are social.
This rebrand project started with our customers. Through a partnership with branding agency Prophet, we underwent a stakeholder interview process to understand our position in the market. We discovered there was a gap between our brand's perception and that of the modern social media space. Hootsuite had acted as a B2B brand but, to reflect our customers’ demands, we would have to throw away B2B convention and become comfortable with a more modern, emotive and human brand.
Prophet helped us develop the entire design system: from our logo, color scheme and font to our tone of voice and the personality of our mascot, Owly. Examples of the changes we made to visually bring this to life:
Our new primary saffron color represents our warmth, the natural green color palette takes inspiration from the mountains of Hootsuite’s home city, Vancouver.
We introduced the world to the new Owly. As the face (and voice) of our brand identity, we gave Owly a glow up to represent their growth — to be bolder, cheekier and more emotive – with a library of over 20 expressions depicting all of our customers’ moods on social.
Our internal creative team also developed a new manifesto: “Your Guide to the Wild.” Through this brand ethos, we show our customers that we recognize social can be an overwhelming space, and they don’t have to navigate the wild world of social alone. We share their commitment to showing up on social, and they can lean on us to help guide them.
We also wanted to bring our new brand ethos to life through an integrated digital and social marketing campaign.
The team started with a brief that included truths about our customer, product, current culture and mission, which led to our first area of focus — creating social-first photography and cinematography. We know that as brands, competition on social isn’t peers, but the content that users see before and after — and getting consumers engaged requires content that makes their thumb stop.
We partnered with director Amy Lombard to help create a brand video that would be used as the cornerstone to our campaign. What we got was a true creative partnership that pushed our team and the overall strategy. Her aesthetic is humanity and joy with a message — which is exactly what people feel when they are on social. Together, we decided to cast real social creators as our campaign talent (including Blair St. Clair from RuPaul's Drag Race and Chi-Gods, IG famous chihuahuas), further demonstrating our commitment to the social space.
With all of these pieces together, our brand video was born, which was executed via 1) paid media (via shorter snippets of the fulsome hero video across social platforms), 2) organic social (by rebranding and creating unique content across all of our social platforms), 3) an influencer campaign (via a partnership with Emily Zugay, a creator known for recreating logos on TikTok), and 4) a fulsome PR strategy.
A 10% increase in organic brand search in the UK and a 9% increase in the US.
When surveying exposed users, the campaign lifted awareness among 6.7M prospects and purchase consideration among 1.4M prospects, while delivering a lower “cost per lift” than any campaign in Hootsuite’s history.
Five months in, we’re starting to see the long-tail business effects of the work, with an ~5% increase in product trials (standard at the 5-6 month-point).
Rebrand assets engaged YouTube audiences at a 64% higher completion rate than the SaaS/Marketing benchmark.
In the first 60 days, our PR campaign generated over 10M UMV (unique monthly visitors) from 36 pieces of earned media coverage, including an exclusive full feature article in AdWeek.
Our paid media campaign reached 19M unique users, generated awareness with over 1.7M prospects, influenced 528 conversations and delivered over 94M impressions.
In the first two weeks, our social campaign generated 24.2K views and 10.5k engagements on Instagram; 30k views, over 3k engagements and a 50% increase in follower count on TikTok; and 192K impressions, 10.5K engagements and 8.4K clicks on LinkedIn.
Following launch, the TikTok influencer video created with Emily Zugay was tied as the most viewed/liked post on our TikTok with 1.8M views (additional to above).
The end-result: A campaign unlike any B2B strategy you've ever seen — one that focuses less on pure product features or rational reasons to believe, and instead draws you into the wild world of social media.