Zoho Corporation, established in 1996, is the company behind the well-known brands Zoho, ManageEngine, and WebNMS. Over the years, Zoho has expanded from offering an online word processor and a CRM platform to providing a comprehensive array of over 45 integrated applications that serve a wide range of business needs, including sales, marketing, customer support, teamwork, finance, human resources, and IT management.
Unlike many global technology companies, Zoho has reached over 50 million users without the usual routes of venture funding or public listing. The company is self-funded and privately owned, with the bulk of its product innovation and leadership coming from its main office in Chennai, India, which stands as the country's largest software developer.
The Show Team had done a lot of work creating a killer presentation tool. But the thing with design apps is that if you don’t have experience with design, you won’t feel confident using the tool—no matter how easy it is to use. We wanted to help our users feel more confident by offering professional templates as a starting point for their presentations.
David Elkins, serving as the Head of Content Review at Zoho, oversaw the editorial process for all new content, encompassing marketing materials, instructional guides, email campaigns, and company-wide presentations. Involved in various content-related projects at Zoho, he was selected by the team behind Zoho Show to oversee their internal template initiative.
Since its launch in 2006, Zoho Show has provided users with an alternative to popular presentation software like Google Slides and PowerPoint. The Zoho team aimed to distinguish Zoho Show by creating a collection of unique templates tailored to specific industries and in line with the latest design trends, moving beyond the standard templates typically offered by competitors.Challenge
At Zoho, we take a ‘build it yourself’ approach to things. That’s why we were so particular about finding the right design partner.
From the outset, Elkins realized that creating 70+ presentation templates would be a tricky task. He was aware that he lacked the expertise to personally lead the design process and his internal teams were already engaged in other critical projects. However, he was confident that collaborating with the appropriate partner could lead to the creation of a highly impactful product.Solution
Prior to signing with Superside, Elkins talked to a few different design agencies, but none of them were a good fit.
While they seemed perfectly capable, their prices were exorbitant and he wasn’t sure their equally small teams of designers would be able to come up with enough creative ideas to fill out the full template library.
I really liked that Superside could scale a custom team to fit our needs, rather than forcing our template project to fit how they work. With other design agencies, the value just didn’t add up. With Superside, it did.
Superside's flexible subscription pricing and service model fit well with Zoho’s ethos of how to provide good, affordable services, and how to engage with customers. "We don’t want to take advantage of our users, so we avoid doing business with companies that try to take advantage of us. Superside always felt like a partner, not a resource drain,” said Elkins.
Transparency is built into the Superside model. This gave Elkins peace of mind, knowing exactly where and how his design budget was being spent.
Superside's fair and straightforward business model made it clear where the hours were being spent on each project. In Elkins' experience, this was in sharp contrast to agency pricing, which often had inflated quotes, hidden costs and overage fees.
By the end, basically they’d send over a set of test slides, I’d approve them, and a week later I’d have a stack of beautiful decks waiting in my inbox. It made working on this project even smoother than I could have hoped for.
The project to design presentation templates was extensive and allowed for a strong collaboration between Elkins and his Superside Creative Project Manager (CPM). Initially, they engaged in frequent, detailed discussions—on a weekly or biweekly basis—about each batch of templates in development. This close communication quickly fostered trust and confidence between Zoho and Superside. Superside consistently delivered innovative designs while also showing a profound grasp of Zoho's brand requirements.
Elkins was so impressed with the 75% savings in design production that he expanded the partnership, entrusting Superside with the design of templates for Zoho's website builder.
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