Hot take: Creative teams understand more about your organization than the C-suite.
If CEOs, VPs, and Directors are the brains and the eyes with a vision towards growth, design is the heart—pumping blood to the far reaches of the organization and receiving feedback on how each department is working.
They have a unique perspective on the company’s strongest teams and weakest points. They can heal wounds and send more flow to a sleepy department. Be wary of the time vampires trying to suck the life out of them.
The power of design on the bottom line cannot be overstated
But design teams have their own work—big overarching initiatives like breathing life into a tired brand or revamping a website. Without supporting them, we’ll be cradling the weak hands of an anemic design team, burnt out and overworked.
Superside supports design teams at capacity, but not in the way you’d add a freelancer (and the extra admin work) or an agency with bloated costs and slow response times.
We're calling it Creative-as-a-Service (CaaS).
Our customers tell us we’re a design partner, an extension of their team, whose dedicated Superside team is always available and meets weekly to discuss goals and where they could help achieve them.
In writing this, I discovered some earned secrets, colleagues' design frameworks they use to deliver on their goals—how they use design to elevate their content (so consider this your behind-the-scenes peek).
Even if you don’t use Superside, If a section speaks to you, consider how you might implement some of the great ideas. Steal from the best, right? 😉
My biggest takeaway is that design is not a one-off project, it’s an ongoing need—across the organization.
I spoke with Piotr Smietana Marketing’s Creative Director, who leads a team of in-house designers, copywriters, video producers, motion designers, and illustrators.
Piotr has a team to support everyone in marketing, and, as you’ll see, there are a lot of needs.
“We are working on key visuals, social media stuff, and a lot of paid advertising. We’re also working on big projects such as a brand refresh. We’re in this kind of hyper-growth stage, so we see new people join Superside’s marketing team every month, each with their own ideas and initiatives.”
Each department within marketing has its own needs, including performance, social, content, video, and let’s not forget the requests for big changes like website revamps, long-form guides, and so on.
“Prioritization is a constant struggle. My focus is on achieving the best results. Combine that with the sheer volume of requests we're getting every day—keeping that balance is impossible. So, many times in the past, we had to compromise on quality or the number of projects we were able to tackle each month. That changed when we became a customer of Superside”
Prioritization is a constant struggle. That changed when we became a customer of Superside.
Piotr considers himself a part-time marketer, a creative director who wants to move the needle, help the business forward, and inspire his team to think the same. In conversations with customers, we hear it often—creative directors want to put their focus on strategic initiatives, critical business projects, and creative that requires more creative thinking, but they barely have time to think when they’re expending their energy on small tasks.
“I think it's a big problem for many companies. I was struggling with not having enough time to think. A new request was coming, and we had to fulfill those needs and meet the deadlines. We had to jump on projects right away. I had to rely on my designers to create from scratch because they didn't have support from my side—my mind was completely occupied with so many different things.”
So, that’s when Superside decided to hire Superside. What better way to validate your product and service when you become a customer yourself?
“It was like instantly hiring 20 more people, something I’ve never experienced with former companies. A sudden change to a team that understands you, that spends time figuring out how to be a part of your team. From the initial exploration stage, to when they wanted to dig deeper, asking questions like, ‘What do we have in mind for the brand? For the future of the company as a whole?’. It changed my perspective. Superside was like having a partner. I’m a big fan.”
It was like instantly hiring 20 more people.
Piotr sits on weekly calls with Superside, just like any other Superside customer, discussing ongoing projects and where Superside can help. Much of the resource-intensive “production work” gets passed along like headshots and slide decks, giving Piotr’s team space and time for strategic creative. But sometimes, even the high-impact stuff needs to be passed along.
Right in the middle of a brand refresh, the content team’s months-long eBook project was ready for design. These are complex projects with many design needs, from the eBook itself to the promotion and the strategy. With a swamped in-house team (and time being of the essence), Piotr turned to Superside.
“We approached it like a test. They came back to us with three different concepts, not just one. They came up with the fully-fledged campaign—a solid concept with promotion plans to start, but also two months down the line [because with] evergreen content, you have to keep the flame alive. It’s important to ideate and constantly upgrade the content that you are producing. Once we signed off, we had a solid plan for production that we could start the very next day. In that way, it combined my team’s efforts and Superside—and it all came together in two weeks. In the past, that timeline wouldn’t be possible.”
One area where customers find tremendous success with Superside is with ads. Superside doesn’t simply ask what you need; they pour over the customer’s advertising on Meta, LinkedIn, Google, etc. to come up with unique insights and offerings based on your goals. It’s part of the discovery phase and can lead to enlightened results.
“We were getting some negative comments on our ads from people that didn’t quite understand our business. They took all those comments and turned them into an advertising campaign. It was our chance to respond in a funny way, turning a negative into a positive, but also educational. It hit the jackpot. That was mind-blowing for me because, as a Creative Director, I wish I had that idea. From then on, I knew I could trust them to deliver good production work and concept creation.”
Whether you’re hiring in-house or an agency, it can feel weird, like you’re giving away some intellectual ownership, part of your job (or career) to someone else. Superside is an extension of your team, a partner that helps you grow into a great creative leader.
“The pain of having to choose has gone away. Let’s say I want to increase my team’s capacity by 20% to produce more content assets. In the past, I would say that’s not going to happen. I couldn't even consider it. But now I’ll take it to my Superside team and see what’s possible. We’ve scaled up our plan three times. It’s easier than hiring new people because I want to ensure their job is secure when I hire. Now, I don't necessarily have to worry about it, I'm feeling less pressure to make those choices. I only have to consider strategic stuff, the most critical stuff, it's a good place for my mind to think creatively.”
The pain of having to choose has gone away.
Graeme McCree is the Creative Director for the strategic accounts team supporting sales with content and other collateral.
He has a design team who uses Superside for its DesignOps platform.
What does that mean?
"We can see the specific capabilities we're using, track the files, and share content quickly between the team. It's a great way to remove the hassle of organizing creative work and sharing it with the creative team."
While that's true, there are plenty of tools that allow for task management and file sharing. What makes Superside the tool of choice?
"The platform tracks information such as capabilities and hours and team members to plan for the future so we know how much volume we can put out per month and the capacity we need in the future. It's a great way to track our progress and report back to management so they can plan accordingly."
With Superside's DesignOps platform, Graeme can plan for future hires. If he's using more motion graphics, he can start to look for a motion designer to add to his team from Superside. That operationalizing of design must feel pretty sweet.
"It's liberating. At previous jobs, you had to go through a million processes to get the resources or budgets approved. I couldn't accurately estimate projects because I was using freelancers or third parties. With access to a full creative team, we can do a full campaign or a quick turnaround on social content and hit our goals. It's quite a relief."
DesignOps is the new design chops. As a creative leader, you may have gone from Adobe to Asana—spending more time managing resources, governance, and alignment than designing. Sofia Bittolo is the senior project manager (read: DesignOps) for marketing's creative team within Superside.
She manages and prioritizes big design projects like the website revamp, brand evolution, and made-for-TV commercials. She also works with an ever-expanding marketing team to support their projects and initiatives. To handle it all (and avoid burnout), she uses her Superside plan.
“I use Superside almost as an additional team member. Whether it’s a designer, a producer, a UX/UI designer, Superside is that additional hand that helps me achieve whatever creative need I have across many capabilities such as social assets, blog headers, support on ads all the way to inserting them into bigger projects or initiatives.”
I use Superside almost as an additional team member.
Her Asana board has a column for design requests. Sofia filters through those and assigns them to a designer's column based on their specialty (e.g., motion graphics, video editing, illustration, etc.). Then she has a column for Superside where requests go when her team is at capacity.
But Superside can offer her more than breaking through the bottleneck of monotonous production work.
Superside’s marketing team is using the End-to-end creative plan, meaning if she needs a new perspective on a problem she's facing, she can inject some fresh new “global” ideas into the mix from taglines, messaging, and ad concepts.
And then, when a massive project landed in her to-do's, that could otherwise derail an entire design team's focus, she turned to Superside. “For this three-month project, they supported us with different landing page designs. They were a key partner in helping us achieve a hard deadline when my team had to deal with a bunch of other stuff.“
That project was an overhaul of Superside’s portfolio page. Sofia needed approval from clients to use creative assets, then build beautiful landing pages with engaging content, and go back to the clients for approval. For a design company, a portfolio is a key page—and pageviews have doubled since the update.
From the 24-48 hour turnarounds, they have come to our rescue, to the wider projects where we needed creative support and insights—we see them not only as this production support but as a partner that is key to our success.
You can put an ad anywhere these days (even in an Uber). Major platforms are hunting for revenue streams, which means new placements, channels, and opportunities. It also means you could hit customer fatigue if you're not careful, and in a cookie-less world, you need to adapt to first-party data as your source of truth.
Success then, relies on consistently fresh creative and iterations on what works, and, let’s not forget, across all…those…platforms (each with its own acceptable dimensions and formats).
Superside’s Director of growth marketing, Andy Levinton, uses Superside’s internal design team and turns to his Superside plan when needed.
Andy uses Superside in two ways:
Even a creative person, who's been in growth marketing for nearly ten year, needs a new set of glasses to see the same problem through a new lens.
“The two projects I'm most proud of are a static illustration project with pop culture figures where we had a lot of success on LinkedIn specifically. And on the concept side, they created this campaign idea for us to tackle negative comments we received in our ad comments in a delightfully transparent way. They turned a concern into something super fresh.”
*On LinkedIn alone, this ad generated over 150 qualified leads.
Ad resizing, format changes, and iterations can bottleneck a design team.
Andy doesn't worry about that limitation restricting his growth.
“I don't have to limit myself with how much we can create and put out there. We do a weekly brainstorming session (internally) on different ads, and if we like one idea, we can have that ready to run ASAP. We don't always have to lean on our internal team. If there's something we want to do, we do it.”
I don't have to limit myself...if there's something we want to do, we do it.
Cameron Smith is a content marketing manager heading up our blog. Whether it’s SEO-led, product-led, or some thought-provoking content, Cam ensures blog production is smooth, especially among all the parties involved.
Working at a design company, you can’t browse a stock photo library and drop in whoever feels like your target audience.
“Every single blog needs an illustrated blog header, it's the first thing you see when you go to the blog homepage and it gives insight into the blog's identity and serves as a reflection of our brand.”
Cam has worked in content his entire career but never with a design team who could transform his words into captivating images. Despite what people say, we judge books (read: blogs) by their covers and headlines, but for content marketers, design is too often an afterthought or there's never been budget given to content.
“I’ve worked with a slow-moving agency with no personal connections where it would take days to deliver stock photos. At another place, we had no in-house team, just freelancers on an ad-hoc basis, but mostly tasked with figuring it out ourselves in Google Slides. When I did have an in-house designer, it was awesome, but there’s only one of them, and we were running him ragged.”
With design available on demand, Cam takes his ideas to the next level. In a recent example, he took an idea about creative burnout and turned it into a 3-part series. The inline blog asset shared on LinkedIn garnered over 500 likes and 44 reposts driving traffic to the blog and awareness of the Superside brand on social media.
“I want this toast chart. I submit a request and was swiftly greeted with a beautiful inline asset basically from whim to creation in a seamless process. I don’t have to worry about bullying our one in-house designer or finding a freelancer or, god forbid, working with a tired, sleep agency.”
I submitted a request and was swiftly greeted with a beautiful inline asset basically from whim to creation in a seamless process.
Since taking over the blog, conversions from it have improved by 44% with a monthly time on page in September of over 10 minutes.
Community lifts users out of the dark web (e.g., Reddit, Quora, Facebook) and onto a platform (e.g., Tribe, Circle) to deliver better user experiences and increase engagement for your customers, prospects, and thought leaders in your category.
Superside always dreamed of a community. Given this massive undertaking, Superside hired Francisco Arizmendi to lead the charge, especially considering all the design elements.
“I use Superside for all of the visual assets we have within the community—everything from email design for communications, illustrations, and banners, and to build all the templates we modify for posts across all social media platforms.”
When you’re building a community, you want it to feel like a vacation home for your brand. While it needs to align with your identity, it can’t be a sales pitch.
“Our community is just planting its roots, but I’m so proud of the branding exercise we went through. First, coming up with a name that resonated with the community's identity, and from there, the team helped us create not one, but three different full renderings of what the branding could look like.”
There’s still much to do before the launch, but Francisco is confident, thanks in large part to the design support.
“In a community, things happen very quickly, sometimes unexpectedly. I need the flexibility to turn something around in 24-48 hours and not worry anymore if I’ll be able to get the asset in time. They’re amazing designers, and amazing people, so it's on me to continuously deliver because I don’t have any more excuses.”
It's on me to continuously deliver because I don’t have any more excuses.
Diana Kolesarova is a content marketing manager in charge of our events—overseeing our webinars and summits to private VIP roundtable discussions and IRL events.
For events, it’s more than just the day of stuff, the before and after are essential for success. For Diana, templatizing the design process made running multiple events possible.
Before the webinar, she needs:
“Every single one of our speakers gets a templatized and branded deck from us, so when someone comes to our event, every single presentation, event panel discussion, anything that needs a slide presentation says Superside, and the experts don't have to worry about the look and feel of their talk.”
Gather & Grow with the old branding
Gather & Grow with after its brand refresh
She uses Superside to “clean up” the presentations she gets back from the presenters before the event goes live—a critical step to pull everything together and make it visually digestible and enrich the content.
“The difference is night and day between adding the experts' thoughts and insights into the deck to when it’s polished. It’s just so beautiful and great to absorb the content,” Diana says. “Not only are the presenters receptive, but it also centralizes the information. So, right before that webinar, I have the deck ready to present, but I can also give it to our social media manager to create some live tweets for the event.”
As a result, Diana has seen a 95% growth in event attendees because of this promotion, polish, and brand consistency.
But, it doesn’t stop there.
Q: Do you know the #1 question asked around webinars?
A: “Will this be recorded?”
For Superside, all webinars and events are recorded apart from our private roundtables. The better question is, how often do people watch the recordings if they didn't attend? That’s where content distribution and repurposing are critical.
All the sessions get cut down, we add motion graphics for titles and refinement before they’re posted to Superside’s YouTube channel and emailed to all registered participants.
A few quick stats:
G&G videos with the new branding are generating
To promote it further, the larger content team create blog posts from the insights and ideas the speaker shared with us. Thanks to the on-brand slides, the inline assets are already available for social media distribution.
One piece of content, many outputs.
For in-real-life (IRL) events, Diana used Superside for all the digital promotion (e.g., ads, organic social, emails, landing pages, etc.), but on-premise she needed more.
“We always think of what we can do to sprinkle the brand, in real life, at a live event. We’ve had roll-up banners, Superside brand-colored tablecloths, even on-brand networking bingo cards and, of course, the slides. It all looks cohesive, and by the end of the event, with that level of consistency, attendees walk away with strong brand awareness. It’s important because they’ll recognize us in the future.”
With that level of consistency, attendees walk away with strong brand awareness.
Modern content marketing needs video. Whether that's getting your blog post onto YouTube (and then that video is embedded on your blog for SEO), or sharing the key takeaways and insights on social, video helps you be where your audience is.
Kyle Weber is the Senior Creative Content Specialist at Superside who works with the video team. He takes an idea, whether for the ads or blog team, conceptualizes them, writes the scripts and appears in videos with Josh Gonsalvez, who acts as the director and editor. Together they do great work, but what they create is nowhere near being the finished product.
“We rely on Superside to take our videos across the finish line. They add animations, motion graphics, sound effects—all the things that make our videos from something basic, to something we can be proud of, that markets our creativity and our capabilities.”
Kyle is especially proud of Superside’s YouTube channel, which has grown to over two thousand subscribers and generates over ten thousand views per month.
“If you compare our content versus some of the biggest names on YouTube, I’d say our videos hold their own and Superside has been a big part of that.”
Kyle used to work at an agency. He always saw the value video could provide, but he was left to do it on his own, which dilutes an idea. With the full power of a creative team, he can realize his vision, leading to better traction with the content he’s creating.
“I don’t have to hold ideas back. I have access to the tools, the talent, and the people I need to realize my vision. It allows me to get even more bonkers with my thinking and be more creative than I ever was. I can’t imagine going back to my old agency. Now that I’ve got a taste of my own design team, I don’t want to go back.”
Now that I’ve got a taste of my own design team, I don’t want to go back.
Unicorn job descriptions are common among social media gurus, “must know how to write engaging copy, edit videos, develop concepts, be an expert in [insert ALL social platforms], build awareness of our brand and drive conversions.
“Social media managers know waiting for design can be the most painful part of your job, especially when you want things out ASAP to jump on trends, so leveraging Superside is just amazing.”
To not only expedite designs but “make them pop,” Xandria D'Silva, Social Media Manager at Superside needed templates, but not just any templates. From Facebook to Twitter, and all the platforms in between, each network has its own sizes, dimensions, and formats meaning your Instagram asset won’t look right on LinkedIn. You need iterations on one idea for each template to fit each platform where your audience hangs out.
“These templates took about three months to create and ensure I got exactly what I wanted. When it comes to social, you must be at the forefront of the content you're creating. And one of the easiest ways I find to do that is to have a template that I can go into, change the text, add an image instead of consistently bothering our creative team.”
When it comes to social, you must be at the forefront of the content you're creating.
Superside allows Xandria to expand what she does on each platform such as hosting LinkedIn Lives, exploring Twitter spaces, and even having the capacity to launch TikTok—a content-heavy platform.
Check out the hilarity of Superside's TikTok videos, especially if you're a marketer or designer.
Xandria has grown Instagram followers to over 25,000, LinkedIn to over 35,000, and Twitter to over 3,000. More importantly, she’s driving leads from social media—proof that social can convert.
To improve customers' feelings, emotions, and perceptions when using Superside, David Sutherland uses Superside to build a positive relationship and experience through every touchpoint.
As a customer experience manager at Superside, David uses Superside almost daily.
“We design a lot of presentation decks loaded with illustrations to make an educational session more fun. We create motion graphic videos to keep our audience engaged and videos to communicate the Superside story as effectively and succinctly as possible and to help new customers understand what we’re doing.”
Superside's Zoom waiting room
Onboarding new users to Superside, while simple, takes time. You’re meeting your creative team from your Creative Production Manager (CPM) to your Customer Success Manager (CSM), for the foreseeable future, there are your partners in design. Getting on the same page with your goals and aspirations is important.
Superside's capabilities video
It’s disingenuous to give customers 2-3 videos about how to use Superside when there’s so much more to unpack, but that doesn’t mean these sessions have to be dull. They need interactivity and conversation.
“The onboarding process is a culmination of quite a few projects–everything from a waiting room video to keep the audience engaged prior to the meeting to the onboarding deck itself, all in a condensed time frame. To distill that information, consistently expressed by multiple teams, showcases Superside, what we stand for, how we operate, and ultimately make our customers' lives easy.”
As a Supersider, I’ve had the privilege of attending these sessions, and they aren’t a bunch of talking heads. They’ll inspire you to get involved and take action. There are 2 sessions—one is a meet the team and get to know Superside. The second is a Creative Workshop where we gain strategic value together with the customer. We focus on the outcomes you want and how we get you there. I highly recommend booking a session to see what it’s all about. 😉
Too often, HR’s design needs fall to the wayside. So you’re left with a logo to upload onto a job posting site. But when you share your job posting on social media, it looks like it came from a job posting site, not your company, which may lead candidates astray.
And there’s so much more design can offer.
Marta Bisisi is the VP of Talent and she works with everything people related from employer branding, to people care (see below), Learning and Development (L&D), diversity, and so on.
“We use Superside to create multiple assets to share our brand both internally and externally with the outside world. We need illustrations for the website, merchandising, and everything we need to let the outside world know what it feels like to work at Superside.”
For Marta, design not only helps HR share its message but also gives value to what they’re saying. So, when it came to a classically overlooked, but enormously important asset, she achieved traction so every employee lives and breathes Superside’s principles.
“Superside worked to help illustrate our principles. We created a lot of different assets that showcased the main concept behind the principles that allowed us to distribute it across the website and on LinkedIn for everyone to share.”
All of Superside's principles can be found at the sub-site careers.superside.com
If you don’t have people care in your organization, you’re missing out. Human resources have a lot on their plate so caring for people often falls onto the floor, which turns into a mess you must clean up.
“I try to make sure everyone is happy, their experiences are meaningful, they’re growing, they belong, and they’re prioritizing mental health and having fun.” Jordan Sher, Senior People Care Specialist at Superside.
You can’t make an impact with empty promises. To make an impact, you need something tangible for employees to feel that value. For employees to feel comfortable, it needs to be authentic, not a new way for an employee to tattletale on another employee. It needs to be separate but connected. For that, the Wellness Team needed a sub-brand.
“We created a wellness toolkit, and what elevates it to the next level is the whole new Wellness Subrand that the creative team developed for us. It’s linked to the Superside brand but more gently with subtle tones and softer colors like pinks and light purples. The team also created a slide deck template that we can use for all our campaigns. It’s distinctly Superside, but still separate. It has an aura of calm and is just so beautiful.”
But, is this essential? It’s an internal initiative. Does it need a design resource?
“Having people skilled and talented at this kind of work has been amazing because without the visual interpretation or application of [people care], information can easily get lost. Especially when we are processing so much information daily on Slack. Having the team available to us to transform information into something visually appealing has been a game changer in getting our message across.”
Any sales team must be persuasive to close deals won. Paal Stokkelien, Superside’s VP of Sales, who’s responding for new business and expansion, says Superside has had a big impact on their sales conversions.
“A lot of specific content for specific stages of the buyer journey like beautiful pitch decks and micro case studies addressing a specific capability, pain point or problem the customer is facing.”
That’s table stakes, though. Sales teams can’t sit to dinner without bringing a bottle of wine. To make it memorable, you need to bring conversation.
“It could be tailored show reels relevant to specific industries or personas. We do these small little videos, we call them customer experience videos, that shows what it’s like to work with Superside, what the customer can experience if they do get onboarded to our platform.”
A-ha! Now we’re getting a framework. Showreels for buyer personas in specific industries pretty cool. Showing what it’s like to experience Superside through an animated explainer video. We’ve moved from table stakes to bringing the AAA prime rib.
“We use Superside a lot for our bigger deals with tailored one-to-one proposal decks that look incredibly beautiful. We’re also creating a lot of content for our expansion efforts with account-specific landing pages to show how we can support an entire organization and deliver value to their teams.”
[We're] creating account-specific landing pages to show how we can support an entire organization.
Is your sales team delivering an in-home chef, sommelier, and pâtissier who tailor their offerings to your customers—whether they’re meat lovers, vegans, or gluten-free, delivering a personal experience shows you care. You’re not selling anymore. The benefits and advantages are obvious, does your product fit with their roadmap for growth.
If not, but they understand how great your offering tastes, how do you stay top of mind?
“We create a lot of fun content for our team—animated Zoom backgrounds, social content to post on LinkedIn or engage in social forums. Animated avatars and images to make our sales reps stand out in a digital environment.”
We create fun content to make our sales reps stand out in a digital environment.
For Paul, design isn’t just part of the product, it’s essential to delivering the message.
“Any kind of messaging, if you can get it across looking beautiful and professional, obviously that’s an advantage. When we go to customer meetings, and our content, our decks, our material all looks properly put together and well structured, it puts us in a prime position to win that deal.”
It puts us in a prime position to win that deal.
Superside is helping companies scale their design. Whether that’s a single marketer without a design team, or a large organization with internal teams that need extra help.
I hope you stole some ideas and techniques to improve your function with design at your own company. Don’t let an overworked, beyond-capacity design team slow you down. Get them the support they need when a design partner. Our pricing is like hiring a single, full-time internal designer, but you get an entire team. And our Creative-as-a-Subscription (CaaS) model means fewer back-and-forth approvals with legal and accounting.
Impress your teams with design that scales with you as you grow.
Amrita is a veteran B2B SaaS marketer and the VP of Marketing at Superside. Besides preaching to everyone and their mother about how good execution is the ultimate differentiator for your company, she hosts our monthly Gather & Grow series featuring leaders from Adobe, Dropbox, HubSpot, Intuit, Shopify and more. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter and say hi!
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