The Fame and Flops in Creating Memorable Brands, with Melissa Rosenthal


SaaS marketers understand the importance of a strong brand, but are you clear in your strategic narrative today? If “efficiency” is driving your narrative, this episode is for you (because, spoiler alert, “efficiency” ain’t it.) In this episode, Melissa Rosenthal, Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, unpacks the elements needed to create a memorable brand in the face of new market demands and how to measure effectiveness. Plus, she’s brave enough to talk about one of her biggest brand failures and what she learned from the experience.

Brand touches every aspect of the business.

We’ll debunk a common misconception right away: Brand isn’t solely influential because it drives awareness and sales. Sure, this is part of the brand puzzle, but Melissa said the importance of brand goes far beyond traditional sales playbooks.

“[If] you wanna IPO, you wanna have an exit, eventually you wanna be acquired, right?… That roadshow that you’re putting on — that is marketing, that is branding. For investors to take a bet on the company, of course, that’s revenue, and that’s efficiency, and that’s metrics. It’s also brand,” said Melissa.

Because brand influences every business function, organizations with brand-savvy CEOs often perform better than their competitors. We know this thanks to brand metrics like unaided and aided awareness campaigns, which Melissa suggested as a potent first step toward understanding brand awareness among your audience and competitor set.

Melissa’s other suggestion? Viral content. (Yes, even for B2B enterprises.)

“What does virality look like? If everyone within the developer engineering community is talking about a video you created, that’s going viral to me,” said Melissa. “So, I think it’s understanding that and then building that differentiated perspective based on where you wanna be and who you’re speaking to.”

Memorable = authentic.

Merriam-Webster recently announced that 2023’s word of the year is “authentic.” Aptly, authenticity also guided much of Melissa’s conversation about brand.

Melissa said there’s no magic wand to wave when crafting your brand’s tone or direction — it all comes down to what’s natural for your product or service.

“[Your brand’s] identity should match your television ads, your performance ads, your Instagram ads. That all has to feel cohesive,” said Melissa. “I think it starts very much at the top. It’s like, how would you describe the founder of the company, the mission of the company, the vision of it? What is it supposed to do? What is it supposed to feel like? And then take that and weave that into every single thing that you do.”

You can even interrogate yourself to ascertain the specifics of your organization’s brand (its vibe, if you will). For example, Melissa was attracted to ClickUp for its humorous, vibrant and adventurous tone. She said she feels most successful in building ClickUp’s brand when she leans into those positive attributes.

It’s okay to swing for the fences.

Brand activations are sometimes memorable for the wrong reasons — and that’s okay. As Michael Scott once famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky.”

Melissa even shared an instance in which ClickUp’s humorous tone fell flat. During an audio ad read, a ClickUp presenter read a funny line in a sultry voice (“To challenge the conventions of hustle porn culture”). As a marketer, Melissa loved the ad; as a listener, she felt it went too far.

“I did what I said I hated every time… I didn’t test [the ad] with the world,” said Melissa. “You have to avoid groupthink…. And I think that’s what happens. You get attached to an idea, and people at the top get attached to an idea, and then all of a sudden, that becomes the idea.

And, you know, you don’t externally do any surveying. And then it goes into the world, and it’s like, ‘What is this?'”

Listen to episode 360 of SaaS Half Full for more of Melissa’s insights.

Cut through the noise.

We secure meaningful press coverage to influence your audience and surpass your goals in today’s market.