As a cloud-based software company, Salesforce has created a place on land for their brand story to connect with customers. Salesforce embraced the U.S. National Parks System to help tell their brand story of empowering people and businesses to be trailblazers. With a customer centered mission that focuses on customer success, Salesforce has equated success with being a leader in your field, aka a Trailblazer. The Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, found National Parks to be the perfect foundation for Salesforce’s brand story, connecting to the parks’ spirit of blazing trails, adventure, community, and the goal of providing equal access for all people to spectacular resources that educate and inspire.
With the Trailblazer campaign, Salesforce takes pride in looking different from what you would expect from an enterprise software company. Their National Park, exploration-based brand story conveys that they are a “different type of organization, grounded in our core values of trust, innovation, growth and equality”. Salesforce delivers this brand story consistently through all customer interactions with the company, telling one cohesive customer-centric narrative of Trailblazers empowered by their software. Whether it is through their presentation of products, brand mascots, or customer stories, Salesforce ties their marketing in with their brand story, leaving no holes in the plot.
BRAND STORY THROUGH PRESENTATION OF PRODUCTS
Delivering on its National Park inspired mission, to provide equal access to trailblazing for all people, Salesforce provides an extensive series of online tutorials that coach developers at any experience level on how to code for the Salesforce platform. This collection of tutorials comprises the Salesforce Trailhead. Customers are invited to “Blaze your trail” with guided learning paths that chart their course through Salesforce skills. Like the Junior Ranger Program at various U.S. National Parks, where you earn patches by completing a series of tasks, Salesforce also has customers “Choose your adventure” through earning badges. These are short, self-paced tutorials covering specific topics customers are interested in. Trailhead is presented as “the fun way to learn,” gamifying the acquisition of essential new skills for customer success in utilizing Salesforce products in the digital transformation of their company.
CONTINUING BRAND STORY WITH BRAND CHARACTERS
Customers are not alone on their Salesforce journey, they are joined at the Trailhead by the Trailhead characters. There are six characters that guide the customer through Salesforce, each having their own area of expertise. Astro is the guide to Salesforce, providing an inclusive persona that identifies as they/them/their that accompanies customers on their trails. Appy helps to navigate the AppExchange ecosystem. Einstein represents the AI technology that helps to solve problems, learn about the customers of Salesforce’s B2B clients, and predict the future. Cloudy spreads knowledge of everything cloud-related, helping customers build innovative apps within it. Codey gets “his paws dirty” with the actual making and building of coding apps on Salesforce. The last brand character, Blaze, helps customers throughout their journey by giving deeper guidance and inspiration to help them reach their full potential.
Each of these brand characters serve to continue the brand story of National Parks and Trailblazing while engaging with the customer in an interactive and fun way. They provide welcoming faces to help customers approach the intimidating digital world, feel comfortable and find success in the utilization of Salesforce software.
SHARING STORIES THROUGH CUSTOMERS
Salesforce calls their customers Trailblazers, defining a Trailblazer as (1) a pioneer; an innovator; a lifelong learner; a mover and shaker. (2) a leader who leaves a path for others to follow. (3) most importantly, a person who builds a better world for others. The Salesforce website allows you to Meet the Trailblazers, showing customers in fun Trailblazer hoodies that have successfully utilized Salesforce in their business. In a video on their website, Salesforce shows how anyone can be a successful Trailblazer regardless of a background in technology.
The Salesforce website also features an area sharing company success stories in blazing new trails with their product. The success stories are showcased with graphics that resemble movie posters, naming the company that “is a Trailblazer” and interweaving the brand characters into an image that fuses Salesforce’s National Park theme with the nature of the customer company.
The company stories themselves show how Salesforce provides a customer-centric system for companies to digitize their business and connect with the users. The success stories put the clients in the active role, as the hero in their own success story while Salesforce plays an essential supporting role. In the Adidas company success story, the goals, the achievements backed by data, and the Salesforce products utilized are featured on the webpage. In the video below, the Adidas story is told through the Trailblazers at the company in an upbeat and exciting way that subtly includes the brand characters in the Adidas visuals.
CONSISTENTLY WEAVING IN YOUR BRAND STORY
Throughout the many ways customers can interact with Salesforce, one thing remains constant: the commitment to a consistent brand story. Through the characters, imagery, and spirit of trailblazing, Salesforce reinforces a strong brand image by staying committed to their story. With a posted revenue in 2018 of $10.48 billion, this brand story and the delivery of its promises with Salesforce products seems to have resonated with the market. Companies are embracing the digital world, lining up to “start their story” with Trailhead and Salesforce.
It is not enough for your company to simply provide value for your customers if they aren’t first drawn to your offering. There must be a brand story that serves as a landing strip for audiences, guiding them into doing business with your company and keeping them there. Brand stories provides a clear and consistent message of what your business is about can be a powerful way to attract and retain customers. Each interaction with a customer is a chance to reinforce your brand story, resonate with them on a deeper level, and create a sense of ownership and involvement. Find what inspires your brand, like Marc Benioff did with the U.S. National Parks, and build a brand story that can be the underlying theme for everything that you do. If Benioff can make cloud-based software feel fun and welcoming to all experience levels by telling compelling brand story, there are no limits to what you can do!
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