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How Hootsuite is navigating the wild world of social 

How Hootsuite is navigating the wild world of social 

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Hootsuite helps customers harness the power of social media to ignite their brand and business. Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer at Hootsuite, speaks to us about this and how enterprises can alter their strategy to achieve success online, as well as the company’s own rebrand and key trends within the marketing space.  

Over the last 14 years, Hootsuite has led its customers through the evolution of this dynamic and ever-changing space that is social media – one of the world’s most adopted channels with over 4.6 billion social media users around the globe. As the pioneer, the company has always strived to be at the forefront of social innovation, so its rebrand is helping Hootsuite to reassert its deep knowledge of social media. The rebrand is also a signal to encourage other brands to stand out and join the social conversation authentically while providing the necessary guidance on how to do that.   

“What we know is that social rewards bravery and creative courage,” said Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer, Hootsuite. “We recognise that tackling the wild world of social can be intimidating, but that’s where we come in—with the education and expertise that comes from being the first and best mover in the space. Together with our customers, we will champion the power of social for good, uplift people and ignite our customers’ brands and businesses.” 

To personify the ethos of the new identity and foster engagement with the Hootsuite brand, the company has appointed its beloved icon, Owly, as Chief Connection Officer. Owly will now play a larger role as the friendly, approachable and expressive guide for brands who are leveraging social.  

To ensure the rebrand effectively connected with, and reflected, its people, Hootsuite built its rebrand activation in-house, leveraging the expertise of its creative, social and functional teams. The company also collected and incorporated thoughtful feedback from its customers and a diverse array of stakeholders, ensuring the new approach signified the humanity and connection that makes up social. 

Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer, Hootsuite, speaks to Intelligent CXO about this rebrand, the introduction of Owly as Chief Connection Officer, how brands can establish a social strategy and key trends that are emerging within the marketing space.  

What does a typical day at Hootsuite look like for you in your role? 

Marketing is a combination of art and science, and when I’m able to use both sides of my brain, those are some of my best days. I also like staying connected to my other colleagues to make sure that we’re making decisions that work for each other’s groups; one thing that I’ve learned as CMO is the importance of staying as connected to the product and customer side of the organisation as possible – it makes you a better marketer.  

As CMO, what’s your approach to presenting strategies and concepts to the board, and how do you demonstrate the ROI of initiatives? 

It’s critical to present everything as a business outcome, not as a marketing strategy, and to start with the end goal in mind, e.g., this is what we’re hoping to achieve. The more straightforward that you can make a marketing argument in the language of business, the better. 

Could you explain more about Hootsuite Academy and its offerings? 

We created Hootsuite Academy in 2016 to help marketers leverage social media to grow their business, connect with customers, engage and recruit employees and boost productivity. Hootsuite Academy is a comprehensive online database of hundreds of free social media videos, resources, and industry certifications designed to boost social media skills and credentials, helping professionals drive value from social media – fast. 

Hootsuite Academy has a platform certification. We teach social marketing, social selling, advanced social media strategies and much more. Our offerings aim to help people feel braver and safer as they navigate the often-intimidating world of social media. We’ve delivered over a million courses now, with 500,000 learners and over 1000 universities enrolled on the platform.  

Owly, Hootsuite’s beloved mascot, has become the company’s new Chief Connection Officer. What was the business decision behind that? 

When I joined Hootsuite, a lot of great work had already been done on the brand, but there was an opportunity to be bigger and think more boldly. 

Owly is a unique and distinctive asset for us. You’d be amazed at how just seeing this big stuffed owl brings a smile to people’s faces. What I started to see was an opportunity to put Owly to work and start doing something more with their personality. There are also wonderful studies citing how icons help to solidify the memorability of a brand – so, for us, it was a no-brainer to amplify Owly’s presence.  

This idea of creating connections – which is what social media is about – was what we got excited about with Owly. So, we changed their look and their overall role with Hootsuite through our brand relaunch, appointing Owly as Chief Connection Officer. Owly is now the one speaking for us and representing us as a brand and a platform. In this role, Owly is adopting a ‘mischievous mentor’ mentality, making social media feel more approachable and friendly, while ‘levelling our audiences up with love’ – one of our brand principles. Owly is joining the conversation on social media authentically and showing our human side.  

How has your integrated branding strategy changed to better reflect your standing as social media experts? 

There are a few things. 

From a branding perspective, we haven’t chosen colours just to be bold, we’ve chosen them because they reflect where we’re going with a very considerate nod to our heritage. We chose green as it’s a colour you find in nature and is reflective of the mountains that surround Vancouver. We wanted to give a nod to Vancouver as it’s an important part of our identity; it’s where we were started and where we’ve grown as a business. The saffron colour is to indicate warmth. People love working with our staff, there’s a level of investment in seeing our customers succeed that’s very unique to Hootsuite, so conveying that was important.  

We’re trying to put things you see in life back into the centre of our photography and imagery. We developed a partnership with a photographer named Amy Lombard. She’s phenomenal. We hired influencers to be part of our imagery as we wanted to highlight people who are good at social media, helping this rebrand feel organic. It was also important to have a wide range of diversity for this campaign as at Hootsuite, we are deeply committed to visibility and believe social media is for everyone. 

Can you highlight any key trends you see emerging that other CMOs should be preparing for? 

Video is here to stay. It’s an easier, more manageable way for people to absorb content, so if video is not part of your strategy, then you must make it one. 

It’s important to also re-evaluate your content strategy. Who are you designing your content for? What are you trying to do with the time that you have? A study found that, on average, people only spend two and a half seconds looking at an ad. So, what do you want to do with that two and a half seconds? The time we have with people is getting shorter and shorter. If you want someone to stop scrolling, you have to be intentional with what you’re putting out. There’s got to be some connective tissue between what you’re doing and how that reflects your brand strategy. 

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