HubSpot is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform for scaling companies founded by fellow MIT graduates Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006. Meeting at university, both shared a passion for technology and the mission of helping businesses grow better by enabling them to deliver the best possible customer experiences. This was when they first conceived the inbound movement. Through HubSpot, Brian and Dharmesh have since created a unique ecosystem that motivates businesses to focus on their customers and build meaningful, lasting relationships with them using the innovations of a flywheel methodology.
Over the years, HubSpot(opens in a new tab or window) has empowered more than 121,000 businesses across 120 countries — including Suzuki, Sendle, Rever.vn, and GE Lighting — to attract customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. The platform provides all the tools and integrations companies need for customer relationship management, revenue operations, social media marketing, content management, lead generation, web analytics, search engine optimization, live chat, and customer support.
Hubspot uses Canva’s Brand Kit to control and access their brand assets
One of the fundamental principles of global brands that resonate against their competitors is brand consistency. For many organizations like HubSpot, driving and maintaining brand consistency across different markets, cultures and empowering marketing teams to stay on-brand on a worldwide scale takes significant effort, care, and planning.
In HubSpot’s case, a key challenge they had previously faced was the lack of an easy-to-use platform that could champion their design system, support brand consistency, and alleviate workload and workflow. As a result, their marketing teams faced design bottlenecks and slow-downs from a super-stretched design team.
Relying on a small group of designers to produce extensive marketing campaigns, on-brand marketing material, content, and daily ad hoc design requests, HubSpot's marketing team was often left on their own when turnarounds were tight. They would then create designs without brand guidance using their desktop tools or personal Canva for Teams and Free accounts to meet deadlines, quickly. Brand discrepancy also occurred when outdated brand guidelines and assets are applied instead of the most up-to-date versions. As a result, HubSpot's branding appeared across multiple customer touch points, internal communications, and social media channels incorrectly.
Furthermore, HubSpot's global marketing team manages different regions around the world. They often needed to localize HubSpot’s English designs to accurately reflect an area and market. Although HubSpot’s small design team strived to support them; it was clear that a more efficient solution was needed to enable every marketer to independently customize designs.
Jenn Proud, Head of HubSpot's Global Marketing Design who now leads a global team of designers, was determined to address these challenges and empathizes with the marketing team. As she reflects back on the issues they faced, Jenn says, "It was hard for any marketer at HubSpot to feel empowered on their own. They were reliant on waiting for us to find time and space for their work, and at the same time, we were a small team.”
While Canva for Teams and Free accounts were popular amongst the HubSpot staff, Jenn says, "There were no brand parameters set, and Canva was just a tool people adopted and used as they saw fit." When the lean design team is strapped on time and resources, they would direct the marketers to Canva for Teams or hire freelancers to aid the ad hoc requests. That was the only way for Jenn's design team to spend time on the impactful work and campaigns prioritized by HubSpot's marketing leadership team. Until, Canva for Enterprise(opens in a new tab or window) was introduced.
As a world-renowned leader in marketing technology, HubSpot has always placed high importance on its brand. In their pursuit of brand authenticity and to ensure their branding initiatives are achieved, the organization has a team dedicated to building design systems for marketers and creative teams. Known as Brand Infrastructure, this team's entire goal is to enable everyone to be more efficient in the work they are creating while amplifying HubSpot's branding across everything they do."The team is all about leveraging design systems to make everyone’s life easier. They know how to build creative in a way that allows flexibility, but also consistency," Jenn explains.
It's no wonder that when Canva for Enterprise was presented to HubSpot's Brand Infrastructure team and Jenn's marketing design team, everyone was incredibly excited about integrating a more powerful visual communication platform into the organization's workflow. Jenn says, "Our Brand Infrastructure team saw it as an opportunity to take the design system they were building and pull it all together in Canva. It also meant they could then start assembling several branded templates that marketing could use at large."
HubSpot upgraded 150 Canva for Teams users across the business onto Canva for Enterprise. Following Jenn's lead, they then worked collaboratively with the Brand Infrastructure team to streamline and organize a list of templates that covered common marketing needs as the first base of HubSpot templates. From there, they worked to design and build up an extensive library of templates using the latest brand guidelines. The team then rolled out the templates to all HubSpot marketers.
The Global Design team and the Brand Infrastructure team were determined and passionate about empowering HubSpot marketing teams to easily produce on-brand work they could engage with their valued HubSpot customers across every touchpoint. To kick things off, they created templates for social media posts, email and communication assets, presentation templates, print and office material for live and virtual events, webinars, and landing pages.
Once the Canva's platform had a suite of multiple template designs — the team impressively created 600+ templates. They then curated on-brand photography, brand assets and set up HubSpot brand kits to fully equip everyone within the organization to succeed the moment they log in. The team organized everything within Canva's shareable folders so marketers could easily access them from wherever they are in the world. It was the ultimate one-stop resource.
When all designs, brand assets, and templates are centralized on Canva for Enterprise, Jenn commenced rolling out the platform to the HubSpot team. She made it accessible to various HubSpot's teams — including marketing, creative, communications, and the people operations team— and ensured everyone was on board and informed about the platform. Next, Jenn presented and demoed Canva for Enterprise to an audience of over 300 HubSpot staff. "Our VP gave me the floor and let me demo what Canva could do. It was a great way to have everyone's eyeballs and show them exactly what we’d built for them. We wanted to prepare them so that the second they got in the account, folks were excited and ready to go.," Jenn says.
To ensure the adoption of Canva was made easy, Jenn set up a Slack channel where her team could engage with new and experienced Canva users within HubSpot and gain insights into what they needed to do their best work. The channel also enables marketers to submit requests for a specific template suite for a campaign they are launching, a unique initiative, or an event. From there, Jenn and her design team could build out the assets they needed and give them a mini training before releasing the templates.
The impact following the rollout of Canva for Enterprise was more than positive. Not only was everyone super excited about the platform, but the fast adoption of Canva also created an immense amount of consistency, almost instantly. Jenn says, "Canva gets everybody at the same caliber of where our brand is and gives them the best and most recent design assets." Jenn started to notice consistency on all HubSpotand in the work that their marketers shared. "Canva is an enablement for non-designers to do on-brand consistent work," Jenn declares.
As a global organization, localization has always been an essential priority for HubSpot. Properly localized content and branding that considers each market’s language, culture, and social norms ensure that any marketing campaign HubSpot creates across multiple markets resonates with their customers and audience.
So a massive win for Jenn and her design team was that the templates they created not only made it easy for HubSpot’s other global offices to access directly from Canva’s platform, but each market could also easily localize them. They did not need to hire a freelance designer or recreate what was needed using complicated software. “Our number one priority was to make it easy for all our regional marketers to leverage frequently used assets that are common amongst global and English speaking marketers,” Jenn explains.
The templates enabled regional marketers to determine and customize the best expression of HubSpot’s message or content and channel it out seamlessly via social posts, print, presentations, emails, and more.
As virtual events were growing in popularity pre-pandemic, HubSpot began introducing webinar series for several virtual events. Through Canva’s library of templates, HubSpot marketers could create an entire marketing campaign from wherever they are — designing everything from landing page banners, email invitations, and even primary screens needed in the webinar itself.
Using Canva to design presentation templates has also enabled the Global Design team to consolidate different document types in one place. She recalls, “I remember a designer who worked on a presentation template in the past agonizing over finding the consistency between PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides because, at HubSpot, we had to provide the presentation in all three formats.”
Since rolling out Canva for Enterprise, all ad-hoc requests have been “cut in half.” Jenn and her team are also able to automate and prioritize design requests in one place. There’s also less reliance on freelancers to support backlog work, leading to greater operational efficiency for the business.
More importantly, HubSpot marketers no longer have to wait to get work done. They have a platform that puts everything at their fingertips and eases their workflow. Jenn says, “They’re not designers; they shouldn’t be spending a lot of time designing. The quicker they can do what they need, and it looks great, the better.” The templates provided on the platform have enabled marketers to reduce their time spent designing from 45 minutes to 15.
To further boost efficiency is Canva’s real-time collaboration functionality. It has enabled Jenn’s designers to work collaboratively and stay on the same page with any HubSpot staff. Anyone who needs help from a designer can easily tag them within the templates. And with live comments in place, together, they can view, review, and give feedback quickly and seamlessly, all in one place.
“We empower teams to call on us when they need us,” Jenn explains. As a result, it has led to smoother working relationships between designers and marketers. Additionally, the more regularly HubSpot marketers use Canva, the better they understand their design needs, and this has enabled them to deliver more effective briefs for the design team.
The biggest win for Jenn’s design team is that they can now focus on more significant campaigns and impactful work, rather than ad hoc requests.
HubSpot cares immensely about good customer service and experience. After all, that is what they are all about. Jenn was blown away by the support she and the HubSpot team got from James and Cailyn at Canva for Enterprise.
The team worked hand-in-hand with the HubSpot team from the early stages of integrating Canva into the organization. Jenn said, "They listened to our problems, heard the solutions we needed, and worked closely with us to figure out the best ways to implement a huge amount of work and processes. They truly felt like collaborative partners the whole way. To get that in a partnership is so important to me."
James and Cailyn from the Canva team ensured that HubSpot stayed on the ball with all the latest product updates, kept the team on track with new developments, and listened actively to feedback to provide the best possible solutions and outcomes. They brought dedicated expertise that is constantly at hand every step of the way for the HubSpot team.
It's been 18 months since Canva for Teams was integrated, and today the Canva team continues to support HubSpot's business growth at scale.
In a study done by McKinsey & Company(opens in a new tab or window), strong brands outperformed weak brands by 20%. That is why maintaining brand consistency across markets is a highly critical task. An efficient design system supported by an all-in-one design platform that every global office can easily access is the most effective way to create brand consistency and scale a universally recognized and valued global brand like HubSpot.
For HubSpot, Canva brings a win-win situation to both marketing and design teams. It has enabled their design leader Jenn Proud to empower all its marketers to design quickly and stay on-brand while ensuring her experienced designers have time to work on high-value marketing activities that meet business and stakeholder objectives.
Jenn says, "There's so much rapid scaling happening, the only way for a design team to keep up is to create infrastructure around design. Canva has been the perfect solution for that without having to build something custom on our own."