S4 • E2 – Jun 07, 2023

Inside Marketing Design at Webflow

with Director of Brand Design and Creative Jess Rosenberg

with Director of Brand Design and Creatives Jess Rosenberg and

with Director of Brand Design and Creative Jess Rosenberg and

In this episode, Charli talks with Jess Rosenberg, Director of Brand Design and Creative at Webflow, about how brand design works at the company, their key success metrics, and how they are able to consistently put out high-quality work. Jess also does a deep dive into how Webflow Conf came to be, and how exactly the brand studio team translated the Webflow brand into a live event.


  • 01:32 - What is the brand studio team at Webflow responsible for?
  • 02:40 - Jess’s role as Director of Brand Design and Creative
  • 04:07 - How do you measure success with a team of multidisciplinary creatives?
  • 06:43 - How the bran studio team is structured at Webflow
  • 09:45 - How Webflow works with external agencies
  • 11:02 - How the brand studio collaborates with other teams inside Webflow
  • 16:01 - How did Webflow Conf come together and what was the brand studio team responsible for?
  • 22:51 - How Jess’s team created ties between the Webflow Conf sub-brand and the company’s main brand
  • 27:25 - Collaborating with the marketing team on a huge event
  • 30:57 - Creating demand gen campaign assets
  • 33:58 - How Jessica’s team has created a super-fast design system
  • 36:33 - How the brand studio team interacts and works with data
  • 37:13 - How does Webflow use Webflow?
  • 40:59 - How often is the Webflow marketing site updated?
  • 42:20 - Jess’s advice to those who want to create impactful brand and marketing design work


Charli:- Welcome back to "Inside Marketing Design." This is a show that takes you behind the scenes of some of your favorite tech companies to get a look at their brand, and marketing design processes. And today we're focusing on one of my favorite tech companies, Webflow. Webflow is a visual development tool that lets you build websites without writing code. I've been a Webflow user for many years, and in fact I got to interview one of Webflow's senior brand designers, Johnnie Gómez back in season one of this podcast. And fun fact, Johnnie is still on the Webflow team, still doing fantastic work. 

Today though, I'm speaking with Jess Rosenberg, Webflow's director of brand design, and creative and bringing you all the insights on how the Webflow Brand Studio team has evolved since Jess joined the company in 2021, as well as all the details on how the team make such great brand design work happen. As a company, Webflow is made up of around 500 people at the moment, I believe, and naturally given such a large portion of the audience is designers, they have very high standards for design, and are incredibly detail oriented. Jess and I dove into the brand design work surrounding Webflow Conf in particular, and I think you are really gonna learn a lot from hearing about all of the details the team considered with this, and how they advocated for the time to make it happen too. So let's dive in, and take a look inside marketing design at Webflow. 

Welcome to "Inside Marketing Design" Jess. Super excited to have you here, and to like dig in on Webflow, and get to hear what the team's been up to over the past few years, and how it's changed and maybe some ways that it hasn't as well. So welcome to the show, and let's start by you telling us a little bit about the Brand Studio team at Webflow. What is the team responsible for?

Jess:- Yeah, well first off, thanks so much for having me. I've been such a fan of your show for a long time, so I'm honored to be here. Yeah, so the Brand Studio team at Webflow, we are a team of multidisciplinary creatives. We're about 18 people at this point, spanning functions from web design and Webflow development to visual design, motion design, copywriting, video production, project management. So the full gamut of creative, and I like to say that we're Webflow's internal creative agency. We support many of marketing's initiatives, campaigns, conferences, a variety of events. Really anything you can think of that a tried, and true marketing org at a B2B SaaS tech company might produce. But we're also the keepers, and the owners of the brand, and so we have a rather big responsibility to make sure that everything we create is not only like on brand, but also beautiful, differentiated, ownable for Webflow, and helping to further tell our mission of giving developers superpowers everyone.

Charli:- Yeah, I love that. And how do you describe what you're responsible for then? You personally as the director of brand design and creative, is your title right?

Jess:- Yes, that is my title. So I'm responsible for a variety of things. One of the larger ones ensuring that the Brand Studio team is happy and healthy, and doing the best work of their careers. That's super important for me, especially having been an IC on similar teams throughout my career. Growth is super important for the creatives, and the designers, making sure they're working on projects that are fulfilling for them. And then also making sure that like our team culture is one where we can both do great work but also have fun, and that's also incredibly important. And on the flip side of that, it's of course making sure that the work that we're doing is contributing to the success of the business. And so we measure that across different types of campaigns that we contribute to. From demand gen campaigns to brand. We measure that with the events that we create and design, for like Webflow Conf being a great example. With those two worlds combined, happy healthy team, happy healthy business, put 'em together, and it's a recipe for perfection when all is said and done, yes.

Charli:- I love that way of thinking about your job. That honestly is something that I feel like I will adopt when people ask me what I'm responsible for.

Jess:- Oh good.

Charli:- So, thank you, that's very inspiring. I was gonna ask you about metrics of success as well. This is something that I struggle with leading a team of multidisciplinary creatives. It seems like there's not one metric that captures the impact everybody's work is having. What it's sounding like from what you were describing there is that you tend to measure more on like a project, or campaign basis, rather than like one overarching metric. Is that correct?

Jess:- Yeah, it's a really nuanced approach in my opinion, and it's something that I've admittedly struggled with quite a bit throughout my career too, especially as a leader. What I've found is that the metrics of success come down to internal collaboration, and are we able to work effectively with our stakeholders and our marketing stakeholders, which are our primary ones? And so we've started doing things like, it's a cheesy way to call them like customer satisfaction surveys or like retros, after projects, where we actually like survey our partners being like how did we do? Is there anything we can do better? That paired with retros after projects where everyone kind of comes together in a FigJam, and contributes on what went well, and what could go better next time. So that's one area of the metrics. Are we being great partners to our partners? And then the other success metrics, some of them are really, not easy, but easier to measure. If like it's a demand gen campaign for example, we can somewhat correlate the success of the campaign to the design and creative work that we're contributing. Although even though I'd like to think that the success is wholly on our team, it's definitely not. There's a lot of like strategy, and channel mix, and target audience segmentation that goes into that. But our work combined with the work that our brilliant marketing partners do, like we're able to actually track ROI with that sort of work. With brand work, brand stuff is really hard because, you know, let's say we're doing a billboard in Times Square, hypothetically speaking. We're not doing that. But how do you measure the success of something like that? Is it based on geolocation metrics? Is it based on impressions? Just like the sheer amount of people that will be seeing it. So there's different levers that we can pull when it comes to tracking success but I think the most important one for us again is like, are our partners happy? Do they think the work we're doing is high quality? Is it meeting the expectations of the brand via our CMO, our CEO, the exec team, our partners across the company? So it's nuanced and there's a lot of different ways that we can approach it.

Charli:- Yeah, I agree. The measuring based on the success we're having with partners 'cause we can't do our work in a silo. The partners are important too. Tell me more about the Brand Studio team structure because I know that when you joined the company, one of the things you did was actually make some changes to that and the team, the way it's structured has changed over the years. Tell me what it used to be, and about the change that you implemented.

Jess:- Yeah, for sure. So when I started, I think we were about 10 people including myself. There was already that structure of web, and creative being their own functions, and at the time when I joined there was one manager who was leading the web function, and there was no manager leading the creative function. So I effectively was leading the whole team. But when I came in I immediately saw that gap, and in the first few months I was assessing what the team will need skills wise in the upcoming year, two years, just by knowing like how both myself, and the other leaders of the company were anticipating both the marketing team, and the company to grow. And also having been at past companies at our size and knowing what the future holds in terms of growth and types of work and all of that. And so I initially saw an immediate need for both a creative manager as well as a project manager 'cause surprisingly when I first joined I was like, "How have you all been surviving without project management? Like you're all amazing, and let me like take that away from you so you can focus on just designing." So those were the first two immediate hires that I wanted to make. So that was the kind of the start of the management bench that I brought in. And then I think over time, like several months into my first year, maybe even more than that, like six to eight months, the copy team actually used to be part of the content team on marketing. And so it was interesting 'cause on the content team we have writers that are mostly dedicated to writing for the blog and then there was one copywriter who's more of like a brand copywriter at the time then we hired on a copy lead. And so the two brand copywriters ended up coming over to Brand Studio to be more closely aligned with the designers. So we found that that sort of partnership was just so great for both the designers, the copywriters, the work was better, the process was stronger. And so bringing them on just made a ton of sense. With that move, one of the designers who was very senior became part of the management bench as well. So then I had three managers, and I was like who else can we bring on ? But then eventually we had one video producer who was also historically part of content, and they came over as well since, similar to the copywriters, just like that tight collaboration with other creatives on the team which just made the work stronger. So over time our team grew. We expanded those functions by a little bit, and then we went from a team of a 10 to about 18 in the span of a year and a half.

Charli:- Nice. Almost doubled in size.

Jess:- Almost doubled in size. Yeah.

Charli:- That's exciting. And you mentioned that you know Brand Studio was kind of seen as the internal creative agency at Webflow. Do you ever work with external agencies, or freelancers to supplement as the team has grown? I'm sure maybe there's been less need for that, but yeah, I'm keen to hear how often you work with external partners too.

Jess:- Yeah we do. I wouldn't say it's quite a bit, it's very situational. So as the team was growing significantly last year, it was also right when we were planning, and working on Webflow Conf. It was a really busy time. New people were ramping up left and right. The sheer amount of assets that we had to deliver, which I'll talk about in a little bit, was just massive. And so we brought on contractors to help project management, production, motion, and some design support as well. We started to do that more with one-off projects. But at this point our team is pretty built out that we can support a lot of what comes our way but if we can't we have the option to outsource, which is nice.

Charli:- I like that. That's the situation I wanna be in. Right now, we rely very heavily on external partners, and they're great, love working with them all. But also I would love to just make our internal team bigger, 'cause I think that in-house design is pretty special, and like the context that you get as an in-house creative is really important and leads to really great stuff, which is obviously what we see you all do at Webflow. Tell me more about other designers within the company. Like how does Brand Studio collaborate with Product Design as a team?

Jess:- The tale as old as time question, and my answer each time is we always have an opportunity for more collaboration. And right now we do quarterly design show and tells, where the teams get together, we share bigger projects that we're working on, and there's some like social interaction in there which is fun. Aside from that, it's more so situationally. So if there's let's say an opportunity in the product that warrants for brand input like an empty state illustration or maybe some icons, then we'll collaborate with them in that way. Now that we're re-imagining a lot of our brand, and product, I foresee a lot more collaboration with them in the future. We've already started to see it happen a little bit within those work streams. So the fact that we're talking with each other, we're meeting quarterly, at the very least, is way more than what I've experienced throughout my career at other companies where like marketing design, or like brand design and product are like on different planets that never orbit one another. So we're getting there slowly.

Charli:- I love that, I love hearing that. That's awesome. And what about the collaboration with the marketing team? Like you mentioned you're really closely connected, they're your main client I guess internally with the creative agency. How do you collaborate with them? How do you make that work well?

Jess:- Yeah, so we've started exploring something new this year where there's different pods on marketing, and the pods are aligned to essentially like various segments, or target audiences, that we're trying to go after as a marketing team. And so we have like a freelancers and agencies pod. We have an enterprise pod, There's a brand pod. And within those pods are some folks from my team, some marketers, and they meet pretty regularly to discuss all the projects that are happening. So that's been a really nice way for folks on my team to get to know other people on the marketing team, and also feel like they're working towards this, you know, the same initiatives, the same focused initiatives together. So that's been a really nice change that we've explored this year. Aside from that, I would say it's on a project by project basis. So a new project will kick off, let's say it's a homepage header A/B test which is an actual project that we're working on. We'll work with our marketing stakeholders, likely product marketing, and a few other folks across marketing on a brief. We'll kick off the project. We'll work with our growth team to make sure we're forming the right hypotheses. We'll work with a couple people on engineering who toss over the code snippets that we then plug into Webflow to make sure we're tracking accordingly. So a lot of it actually happens async since we're a distributed remote company. And so Slacks, Looms, Docs, FigJams, Figmas, Webflow, and folks just sharing progress via Slack, and all of those tools, and then seldomly meeting live just to make sure everything's on track. The collaboration between our team, and marketing is very fluid and natural because folks are just generally really wonderful, and like great to work with at Webflow. It's been like my experience since I joined, which has been incredible, and we have just enough process in place to make sure that we're meeting all of the right milestones against a timeline.

Charli:- I bet the fact that there's folks from your team on a pod with folks from the marketing team, helps it feel less like client, you know, agency relationship, and more like we are actually working on the same goal together. That's something I've been really cautious of informing Kabuki's Brand Studio team. I'm like I don't want it to feel like you are our client, and we are the agency because at the end of the day we all work for the same company, and we do have the same goals. And so yeah being on the same pod, I bet that helps everyone feel that connection, right?

Jess:- It does help quite a bit. We've been trying to do pitches as well, so there's definitely that balance of like same team collaboration in the pods. And then when we pitch concepts we actually enjoy the process of organizing our ideas in a deck, pitching it to those pods, to our CMO. And folks find that really exciting and fun. The last pitch we did, I think our CMO is like, "Oh I feel like Don Draper in "Mad Men," this is so awesome." I'm like, I'm glad I can give you that experience . So there's definitely a balance, but the pitching I think is fun for the team, and it shows that we're also strategic thinkers, and we're able to like present our ideas in a storytelling fashion, which is great experience from people on the team too.

Charli:- Absolutely, and it's showing that you're not just there to produce other people's ideas. That you have, you know, the skills within the team to come up with your own, I love that. And maybe what we should get into next is talking about Webflow Conf, and all of the work that you did for that, 'cause I'm sure that was a mix of both production but also like the strategic initiatives behind it as well. Tell me about it. What was Brand Studio responsible for, for Webflow Conf?

Jess:- Oh my gosh, all right. So how much time do I have?

Charli:- And that's the whole rest of the podcast?

Jess:- Brand Studio was responsible for initially the concept around how we were gonna bring this to life, and that concept mostly being like any visual system or visual direction we created needed to be rooted in something. And so the concept the team landed on was the idea of dimensionality. And Webflow as a product really allows people to create web experiences in a modern visual development environment. Web experiences that are powerful, dynamic. Experiences that you would once be able to create with traditional code but you now you can still create that same fidelity of experience with visual development. And so the idea of dimensionality, of portals, of layering, and just like an immersive kind of space, and feeling was something that felt really strong to the team, and a direction that we felt we could visualize really strongly as well. And so that's where we started. And from there we really tried to adopt visual styles, elements from the core Webflow brand into the new aesthetics. So it felt super connected. While also making sure we are adding new visual elements to make it feel ownable and fresh for Webflow Conf. So that's where we started with the exploration. We were essentially responsible for all of the promo assets leading up to the conference, the website leading up to the conference, which featured who was speaking, the agenda, why you should go, about the event, where it's taking place, like everything you needed to know. And then also the in-person experience as well as the digital experience since we had both last year. And so the in-person experience was in San Francisco, it was an event that held about 400 to 500 people, or event space that held about 400 to 500 people. So we were responsible for all of the event signage, basically anything, like as soon as you stepped into the space you were immersed by the Webflow Conf brand, and even outside of the space too. So our team did all of the design production. We did sound design, we did stage design, the team also developed custom music. It was ambient, it was played at the event space in the main stage area as well as during some of the waiting periods between sessions.

Charli:- That is incredible. Like that is the epitome of multidisciplinary, that you're creating not only the visuals, and like how the experience feels but also the music that's playing.

Jess:- Yeah. I like the term "world building." It's like we're creating an entire world of visual sound, how it looks, how it sounds, how it feels, how you feel when you walk into the space. So I've very much reflected that. As you walked into the event, you got a glimpse of the branding from the front of the building over to the left hand side, we had... Have you ever done one of these, an aura photo booth? They're so cool and fun.

Charli:- What is an aura photo booth? Is that like taking a picture of your aura, and it's got like colors all around you?

Jess:- Yes. That's exactly it. So you go in, you put your hands on these like metal plates, and you look up into the camera and then it produces a photo that essentially like around your head, portrays all these different colors, and then there's someone there that reads it for you, and they tell you what your energies mean, what the color means. So we had that little activation as you're walking into the building, which was super fun. To the right we, this is one of the ideas that came, you know, along the way we're like, "Oh we're gonna have a coffee bar, let's name it something really clever." And we called it the Nav Bar because nav bar is a part of a website. And so this was our coffee bar where everyone was able to get free coffee, of course it was branded. And then we had Natalie, who's our incredibly talented office manager in San Francisco, who's also an interior designer, help us set this beautiful shelving system. And you get into the event space, and we really wanted this to reflect the system that we designed with like the grids, the layering, the colors.

Charli:- Wow, that's amazing. The cubes hanging from the ceiling, and all those gradients, it feels like the website come to life.

Jess:- Yeah, exactly.

Charli:- And the brand come to life, that's awesome.

Jess:- It was a really incredible challenge for the team to translate that digital style that was created into a physical space. But then also the web experience of course. We built, designed and built everything in Webflow, and our team each year really just like approaches that whole experience in a really unique way that provides ample storytelling opportunities for how we like actually Webflow at Webflow, which is super meta but something that we take pride in. So Corey, on my team for example, since there were dozens of speakers listed on the website, he used an Airtable to CMS input to create custom open graph images for all of the speakers. And that was all automated via Airtable to Webflow. So one of the really cool details that was part of the experience. And then as we went on through the process we started identifying just more opportunities to lean into being creative. Which you know, if I were at any other company I'd be like, "All right everyone, like we have enough to do. Let's just like focus on what we need to get done." 'Cause we had, there was so much at least like print production to handle, like thousands of assets. When the team recognized an opportunity, like the in-person gallery wall for example, we were like, "We have to do this 'cause it's so cool." And the gallery wall was essentially a wall of really large monitors at the event space that were featuring different sites made in Webflow. However, if you walked up to the wall, and you scan the QR code, you're then prompted on your phone to enter your unique Webflow URL, and then using Webflow's built-in logic feature, we're able to send your Webflow site to the screen. And so throughout the day the screen was essentially rotating through various people's sites made in Webflow that they were like scanning, and putting into our product essentially.

Charli:- That's so cool. Giving everyone at the event a chance to like be a part of the visuals that people were seeing.

Jess:- Yeah, exactly. And it also, we opened it up to our virtual attendees as well so folks who were tuning in virtually could have an opportunity to feel like they were contributing to a physical environment, which was really cool.

Charli:- That is such a cool idea. Wow, okay, I've got so many like follow up questions about all of this but the idea of making a sub-brand is really interesting to me, which is essentially what you're doing in creating the brand for Webflow Conf. Like you said you wanted to have an underlying idea like strategy behind all of visuals. How do you know how far is too far to like divert from the main Webflow brand, and like how did you create those ties back to it from what is like quite different visually for Webflow Conf?

Jess:- So our core brand, we saw an opportunity to lean in, and do something differently and experiment. Mostly 'cause our core brand wasn't super defined at the time and that's something that we're working on now. But we did have some common styles, and visual elements that we can anchor on to bring into the system to try and achieve some consistency. And that was color palette, it was typeface, and it was a design system that we used across our website. And so those commonalities we took into this new system, and used as a way to kind of point back to our original brand. Of course we also used our logo, and then the Webflow Conf lockup was set in our brand's typeface graphic. Aside from that, we really took liberties, and explored visuals that, we use this term all the time, and it drives me crazy 'cause we haven't defined it well, but visuals that look Webflow-y But essentially what that means is do they look like we're representing a professional tool, professional product? Do they pay attention to details? Are we being forward thinking, in how we're showing up as a design org since one of our largest target audiences are designers? And so the quality aspect, along with us trying to do something different, and also showing the power of our product as we're you know, implementing them, was really important.

Charli:- It's cool to see that that's where the connection lies, and just how far you can really push a brand, while still feeling connected. Like you're right, the Webflow Conf visuals feel Webflow-y.

Jess:- Good.

Charli:- As a, you know, a customer of Webflow, and as a fan of the brand, I also don't know how to define that, but you're right. They feel Webflow-y. Maybe it's just indefinable.

Jess:- Maybe. Although we are working on that now so we will have some concrete definitions here.

Charli:- I love that. I love that. This is sounding like a lot of work. I'm curious what the timeframe was, that you and the team had to work on this project, and also like how many folks from Brand Studio were involved in it? Was it just like part of the team while the others did business as usual things?

Jess:- Great question. So we kicked off officially in June, and the conference was in November. And so when we first kicked off it was a relatively small cohort of folks on Brand Studio. I think there was like two or three designers at first, maybe one from the web team. The first six weeks was really trying to pin down the visual aesthetic, the theme, and the logo lockup. For the first, I wanna say four weeks of that sprint, we didn't have the name of the conference yet since 2021, and prior it was called No-Code Conf. You know, we were in the process of changing the name, and so we were designing, for most of that sprint, without knowing what the name was. And so we're like, it'll just have to work whatever it is, we'll just plug it in, and it'll be great. And we just had to kind of operate with that mentality. And then I think week five, the visuals were coming together, and we got the confirmation that this would be called Webflow Conf. So yeah, those first six weeks were nailing down the visual style. The team created a style guide for it, and from there we were able to produce the promo assets, the initial web deliverables rather quickly. From like I would, I'd say like July to September, more and more people from brand studios started contributing to the work. Because there was the Webflow Conf in-person assets as well as the digital assets. But then there were spinoff projects like the speed build challenge, which had its own visual aesthetic. There was a program called World Wide Webflow, which was a site that housed all of the community events, and watch parties that were happening for Webflow Conf. So that had its own kind of tiger team attached to it. And then as we got closer to the conference, there was a whole team dedicated to conference promo. So like interstitial videos that we promoted, additional assets that would go out to further like drive registration. And then of course as the team was like, "Oh this would be cool if we did this." Like more and more people just got involved to make sure that all the wonderful ideas the team had, we were able to execute on.

Charli:- That is a lot of work to do in that timeframe. And I know events are like that. I work on Craft & Commerce, which is event, and we're nowhere near as... Like I dunno, we don't go as hard on the designer visuals as you do at Webflow, but it's my dream to one day be able to do that. I think we just need a bigger team first, you know. What about the collaboration with marketing for this event? Were marketing the ones who was naming it? 'Cause you mentioned like waiting for confirmation on that name, and obviously I'm sure they were involved in driving the registrations, and things like that. So maybe this is a good example to talk through what that collaboration looks like in a real project.

Jess:- Yeah, so the marketing team drove the initiatives, particularly our integrated marketing team, and that group was incredible with setting up the process, the timelines. They're basically small pods, or focus groups that were dedicated to... One was dedicated to promo. One was dedicated to the website. One was dedicated to the in-person event experience, and so forth. And so from there each pod had different milestones, timelines. We then had weekly meetings with marketing where each owner of the deliverable would like give the status update. So it was really organized from that standpoint, especially compared to the year before, where the marketing team was way smaller. Like we didn't have an integrated marketing team. Basically 2021, No-Code Conf was like we're gonna make it happen, we don't know how but like we're just gonna do the work. And there was like no process, but it all came out beautifully in the end. But then last year it was very process driven. Everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing at any given point. The collaboration was really strong with marketing, which is why I think it was such a huge success in the end.

Charli:- Yeah and there's just a, even if you can pull it together in the end through a slightly chaotic process. You can feel better about the work sometimes when it's been done in a calmer manner, and it's been organized and you know you can put all of your energy towards the creating, and not into the stress of it all. I feel like.

Jess:- Exactly. And like we had our process on the creative team like pretty dialed into, and we had our creative ops lead running it, and we brought in a producer to help with a lot of the different areas in which we needed to produce assets for. But as we were going through the process we were like, "Oh well this one thing isn't really working process wise, like let's tweak it." And so we made adjustments along the way to ensure the designers felt confident in the process, and knew how to approach it with everything that was going on.

Charli:- I'm curious to know, did you have to do much advocating, convincing internally with your boss to let the team spend so much time on these details, which I mean they're incredible, but also at the end of the day, there's like other business things to get done. How did you make this happen, and like get the time for this?

Jess:- I think the decision came upfront with our CMO, and he was like, "Let's just use, you know, the aesthetic we did last year, it works great." We were like, "Well we're changing the name so we have a really big opportunity to do something different and show up in a different way." And so that was like the initial conversation where he was like, "All right, I'm cool with it as long as your team can still support, you know, the other projects that are going on." Which we did, many of them. And because we had a focus group of folks from Brand Studio, that were able to really focus on these details, and bring them to life, we were also, with the help of contractors, the rest of our team that was more built out. Since we had done a good amount of hiring we were able to accomplish everything, which was a huge feat. And needless to say, the team took a lot of time off afterwards, which was very well deserved.

Charli:- So speaking of the business as usual things that your team needed to do alongside Workflow Conf, and like you work on all the time, demand gen is a big part of any B2B company, right, making assets for that? Tell me about this project that you worked on recently to like overhaul the demand gen campaign assets.

Jess:- Our target audience for demand gen is what we like to call in-house teams or Enterprise. We had a very basic aesthetic for our Enterprise audience, which is essentially was a black background, and like this dot wavy pattern. It posed challenges, since every time we had to create a new ebook or new ad suite, we were like, what is this gonna look like? The black background, and wavy dot pattern just felt really flat and not super exciting and wasn't like a great visual representation for how exciting of a product, and really like how much change something like Webflow could really bring to an in-house scene.

Charli:- Yeah, probably hard to make it stand out in feeds as well being a bit too dark.

Jess:- Exactly, yeah, dark dreary backgrounds don't really perform that well when it comes to performance marketing. And so that was also part of the brief was like how can we create a suite of ads, ebooks, really like an enterprise brand for Webflow that feels sophisticated. Enterprise like a professional tool but also demonstrates a strong sense of design, quality, sophistication and excitement. And so we took that on as a challenge to create a system for the Enterprise brand that would both meet the brief, and everything that I just described, and also empower the designers to create at scale, and efficiently regardless of which designer would come in and build for this system. So what the team did initially is, this is one of the instances in which we pitched to the team, which was super exciting, but we had a few designers working on three distinct visual directions that were inspired by both the existing Enterprise brand as well as other aspects of the Webflow brand. So we eventually pitched three directions to our CMO, to the head of demand gen and her team, and they ended up selecting one direction that the team then took and built out into a system of ebook ads, illustration styles, how we approach display ads for Enterprise, how we approach motion. And so that was a project that spanned most of Q1, and now we're at the point where the system is fully in place. So if designers can go in, "They're like, oh webinar's coming up in three weeks I can spin up this promo graphic, and landing page in like a day, and it'll be on brand approved, and good to go and look beautiful." And so that was really like the bulk of the work was both designing what the sub-brand would be but also building a system in Figma that would allow for designers to go and design efficiently, and quickly while being on that.

Charli:- Oh yeah, that sounds so necessary to like make that stuff that you just need all the time, and need so much of, make it easier for yourselves. What are some things that you did in the system to make it really fast to work with?

Jess:- Yeah, a lot of auto layout components, and Figma. So because the webinar promo images, for example, they follow this like modular grid visual design approach. And so the designers created this incredible system in Figma where like you quickly pop in a headshot, and illustration, select a color way, and then you're basically able to out photographic, in like under five minutes basically. Whereas last year we were like, "Hey there's a webinar, what is this gonna look like?" Spinning our wheels being like we can design it this way, or this way or take elements from here. And it was just a big question mark each time. But now we have this approved system with a variety of ways to express it, which makes things easier.

Charli:- And I'm curious to hear how it's performing now that it's not just a black background with the dot wavy pattern. How's the new visuals doing?

Jess:- So the new visuals have been live for about a month or so, so it's still pretty new, but we're already seeing I think about like an 8% lift, which is incredible, yeah.

Charli:- Yeah 'cause when you take the 8%, which maybe to some people sounds small, but take that at scale, and like over time and,

Jess:- Oh yeah. For sure.

Charli:- That is real business impact right there. Yeah, that's awesome.

Jess:- And it was a lot with it was design work but a good portion of it was also copywriting. I'd be remiss this if I didn't mention that, but what the collaboration looks like, which was incredible between my copywriting team, and the Enterprise team, was that the Enterprise team came to us with a fully thought out content strategy framework. They were like, "Here's the sub audiences we wanna speak to, here's the messaging house." And then we took that in, and our copywriters were able to create dozens of like headlines that were instantly approved because we were set up for success with that pre-work that was given to us. So that was huge for our team.

Charli:- Yeah, that is the value of investing time in creating a system and getting the context. It can take time away from other things in that phase, and like, I don't know, some people could say, "Oh you're spending so much time on this, is it really necessary? We could just do it quickly." But that's the reason why, right? Is that if you invest the time, you can move faster in the future. How often do you get to hear back on how your work is doing like this, like you said it's early days, but you know that there's this 8% lift. What's your relationship with data like, and often is the Brand Studio team hearing that?

Jess:- Yeah, I think that the reporting on data is actually pretty regular, which is awesome. We have biweekly marketing team meetings where the enterprise team reports on that exact data to the broader team. So we're able to get a sense there. And then data with our growth team as well, like when we're running A/B tests, like my entire team has access to Amplitude, which is what we use to measure success across our website. And so anyone on the team can go in, and see for themselves, but we do regular readouts of testing metrics across the team as well.

Charli:- That's great. Well let's talk about the website a little bit. How do you describe how Webflow uses Webflow? Because I'm sure that's something people are curious about.

Jess:- So like I used to design for the web, I guess I started in the early 2000s. It's gonna sound crazy saying out loud, but this is like how most designers designed for the web back then was in Photoshop, and Sketch.

Charli:- Or Slices.

Jess:- I don't even think, yeah, Slices totally. I don't even think Sketch was around back then, they might have just started, but I at least designed for the web, and Photoshop. I would redline all of my Photoshop files, hand them off to a traditional front end developer, and then it would be this long and pain... sometimes, sometimes painful, not always, back and forth process on how the front end developer would implement my designs based on like how I redlined it and even the best developer, and the like the best experience I had, it was never as perfect as my Photoshop comp. Like it would never render the same. And then fast forward, many, many, many years later I start working at Webflow. I actually started using Webflow before joining here, but when I was at Webflow leading a team that builds in Webflow, I like, I think about my early days pretty regularly because Webflow like very acutely solves that problem where you're able to build your vision as a designer and ship it. And it's oftentimes even better than like what you're designing in Figma 'cause you have that control yourself. And so each time we like ship something that the team has built in Webflow, it honestly like to me feels like magic each time. And maybe because I have that very painful experience from early on in my career , even if it's like a small like copy update, especially if it's a copy update, our marketing team can make on their own, I'm just like, "This is amazing. I needed this like 20 years ago." So it feels magical each time. It's cool that like our entire web function on my team, they're all designers, and they are also Webflow developers, and so they all design in Figma, and then they all build in Webflow. And so that's also a really unique detail about the team that I think might be different than most other companies.

Charli:- I think that is different. So there's no handing off that the designer is handing off a Figma file to a developer, even to a Webflow developer. The designer is building it themselves.

Jess:- Yeah, they're designing it in Figma, building it themselves. It's just really cool to see designers have that end-to-end control over what they're creating. And like I said before, oftentimes when you're in the build you can bring your designs to life in ways that you can't in Figma, via interactions or certain effects, or things you might think of in the build that maybe you didn't think of in the design process. So it's really freeing, and it's really cool to see designers just have that superpower, I guess is the word that we use a lot.

Charli:- Yeah, I find when I'm building in Webflow, I sometimes make decisions about like responsive states on the fly as you're like literally seeing how it reacts and like yeah, it can speed up some of that mocking up, that's for sure. Like I don't bother to mock up mobile for my own sites that I design.

Jess:- Yeah, interestingly like we oftentimes we don't mock up the mobile versions because like the responsiveness is just so easy to to do in Webflow. And so we sometimes have to remind our marketing partners and be like, "Oh, what is this cover state gonna look like on mobile?" And we're like, we have to describe it 'cause it's like not worth the time to go and like design the...

Charli:- Yeah, like you'll see.

Jess:- Actual mobile version.

Charli:- It'll come together great.

Jess:- You'll see, like this afternoon, because it's so fast.

Charli:- That's amazing. So are you shipping changes to the Webflow marketing site quite often then because of how fast that time can be from idea to like being live?

Jess:- It depends on the project. Sometimes there's like small edits or changes that need to be made and those happen very quickly. If an entire like page is being redesigned or a net new page is being spun up in creative. And that can take longer. But typically I think most of the time is spent perfecting in the design phase. And then the build seems to go faster in a lot of scenarios because we try and get all the approval we need, in the design phase from our stakeholders. And then once it's built it's really just like QA review, making sure there's no bugs, or funkiness happening, spelling, all that stuff. So yeah, way faster of an end-to-end process than like any other company I've worked at because of the tool.

Charli:- Using your own product as well, which is always really helpful when it comes to building the brand and marketing assets for it, having that deep understanding for it.

Jess:- Totally, and it's great to see our marketers use it too, you know, in edit mode. Like the blog is such a great example of the tool being self-serve for non-designers, non-Webflow developers. So it's a great testament to just like the flexibility the tool provides for folks across the marketing team and company.

Charli:- I love that. Well, I know that we could keep talking forever about all the interesting work you and the team are doing, but let's wrap up by you sharing some advice to someone who wants to create impactful brand, and marketing design work. What advice would you give them?

Jess:- I would say to start from strategy, and understand what you're trying to solve for. At Webflow, we do this in a few different ways. It's one of them via brief that we collaborate with our marketing partners on really trying to understand the problem that we're trying to solve for, as well as the audience and what tension they might be experiencing. And then I'd also say just like collaboration, and collaboration is so important, especially if you're a designer or creative working on a marketing team, and having that strong relationship with your marketing stakeholders to make sure that what you're creating is both high quality creative work, but also meeting the brief, and making sure can drive results for your partners and the greater org.

Charli:- Fantastic advice to end on. Thank you so much Jess for sharing all about inside marketing, design and workflow.

Jess:- Of course. Thanks so much for having me.

Charli:- I hope you enjoyed learning about the way the Webflow Brand Studio team is set up now, and the systems they use to produce such high quality design work. Stay tuned to my main usual channel, CharliMarieTV, for a follow up video about the Webflow marketing site, and A/B testing in particular. I'm very much looking forward to digging in on that. Speaking of YouTube, this is your reminder that this show is available in both video and audio forms. You can find the audio in your favorite podcast app, and you can watch the videos to see examples of work along the way throughout the interview on youtube.com/inside marketing design. And of course, you'll find links to all of these things on our website inside marketing design.com. Thanks for listening and I'll see you next month for a new episode.

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