“Brand marketing” may sound like just another branding buzzword, but this episode tackles this concept as a real strategy with data behind it. Kayla Rice, Senior Manager of Brand and Creative Studio at SpyCloud, joins the pod to discuss brand awareness, brand marketing strategy, refresh vs. rebrand, and so much more about all things branding. Learn how to make brand marketing a part of your marketing growth team, how to handle a big or small brand refresh, and how to balance your messaging across platforms.
Timecoded Guide: [03:20] Deciphering Kayla’s title: Senior Manager of Brand and Creative Studio
[07:48] Focusing marketing team members on seeing brand as influencing pipeline
[15:39] Comparing and contrasting brand refresh and rebrand
[23:59] Understanding the phenomenon of debranding
[34:28] Balancing your brand messaging across social media platforms
[40:58] Looking at metrics from a brand growing perspective
How do you get non-brand focused marketers to see brand as influencing a sales pipeline?
Focusing your marketing team on branding can depend on the size of the organization, according to Kayla. In smaller organizations, there are pieces to branding that every member of the marketing team can appreciate. Smaller teams also encourage members to work together to create the best experience for audience members and product launches, whereas teams at larger organizations can have less interconnectedness and less role appreciation.
“Whether it be launching a sponsored report, whether that be podcast ads, organic, social, there's so many levers your company can pull to really make people understand who you are, what you stand for, what you're trying to solve, and the people who are backing all of that.”
What’s the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand?
Some marketing teams think they’ve changed color palette or logo and they’ve rebranded. Unfortunately, Kayla explains that this is not the case. A rebrand happens in situations when you experience an acquisition or you’re truly renaming your company. In contrast, a brand refresh is more of an evolution of your brand. It’s taking from what you’ve learned in your brand marketing campaigns and growing upon those lessons with your team.
“It really is so much more than just updating a logo or color palette, it's really digging into: What is your messaging framework? Who are you going after? It’s being able to speak to them where they are, meet them where they are, and then, dangling that carrot in front of them of what could be.”
How do you balance your messaging across social media platforms?
Kayla believes that balance across social media platforms requires staying flexible and adaptable. Marketing teams can and should adjust their tone depending on the channel and messaging. Social media should be more of a place to experiment and see what works with your brand and audience, as well as what doesn’t. Do your market research, adjust your content across popular social media platforms, and see where each step takes you.
“It's been really exciting to see and it's ever growing, and always new ideas and new things that we're going to do.”
What metrics should you look at from the perspective of growing your brand?
While metrics should be measured in different ways depending on the source, Kayla explains that website metrics should involve visits, time on the page, and click-through rates. From a social media perspective, follower count matters, even if it feels like a vanity check. More followers and visitors equals more eyeballs on your content and a larger potential user base. Kayla also advises not to forget about reposts, reshares, and interactions with your paid ads.
“If we're opting to do paid ads or podcast sponsorships, for example. Okay, what is their viewer or their listenership? What does their audience look like? How many times are we a participant in that? How many downloads were there?”
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Spend some time with our guest Kayla Rice on her LinkedIn or email her at kayla.rice@SpyCloud.com Follow Gianna on LinkedIn Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn Join the Cybersecurity Marketing Society on our website, and keep up with us on Twitter Keep up with Hacker Valley on our website, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter
Hey, before the show starts, we want to let you know that the Cybersecurity Marketing
Society's annual conference, CyberMarketingCon 2022, will be held this year, November
16th through 18th in Arlington, Virginia, and yes, there will also be a virtual option.
You really don't want to miss it. We'll have two days jam-packed with cybersecurity
marketing strategies, ideas, metrics, insights… it's going to be the place to be. Visit
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Welcome to Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing.
Where we explore the hottest topics in cyber marketing, interview experts, and help you
become a better cybersecurity marketer.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing,
your podcast for everything cybersecurity marketing-related. I'm one of your hosts, Gianna.
And this is Maria.
And today, we have a very special guest, we have Kayla Rice, the Senior Manager of Brand
and Creative Studio at SpyCloud. And she's here to talk about brand, about brand, about…
oh, shit, and brand!
Kayla Rice 1:21
All the brands, just everything.
Everything under brand.
Kayla, thank you for being on the show.
Kayla Rice 1:27
Thanks for having me. I'm very excited to be here and chat with you all.
To set the stage a little bit, can you tell us what is SpyCloud? Like, how big is your company?
What does SpyCloud do?
Kayla Rice 1:38
At SpyCloud, we're the leader of account takeover and fraud prevention. We have a whole
set of tools that enterprises can leverage to access data from the criminal underground that
has been exposed in breaches, third-party breaches, through malware devices, and actually
activate on that breached data in a way that helps them protect their own proprietary
information. So, if an employee or consumer has exposed passwords, or credentials, or account information, we have access to that. And we can help them automate and actually prevent additional exposures to their information, which can help an organization really protect their own brand reputation, protect revenue streams, and really just can continue to protect their intellectual property.
Amazing. And how big is your company, and how big is the marketing team?
Kayla Rice 2:32
Sure, so we are at about 150 employees worldwide. Of that, the marketing team is a little
over 15. Our marketing team is unique in that we have some of our traditional roles, but we
also in our team take on the sales development reps, because we are so clear and keen on
our pipeline and how we affect the pipeline for our organization, that really having access
to that team has been so beneficial. So it's a little bit broader than I think, maybe some
other marketing orgs out there? But it's been really, really a great experience for how we've
That's exciting. And on another note of an untraditional approach that SpyCloud takes —
your title is Senior Manager of Brand and Creative Studio at SpyCloud. What is “brand and
creative studio” like what is that? Are you an internal agency? Like how does that work?
Kayla Rice 3:20
Yeah. So, the blessings of being a startup, right, is sometimes you can create your own titles
for roles. And what was starting to take shape, specifically, within the brand experience here at SpyCloud is we had a number of different roles and responsibilities that were really shared services that created content and really activated on not only the messaging for brand, but the look and feel. And so with that it really is kind of an internal agency, right, we have an event planner, we have a web manager, we have a marketing manager who's really specific to our graphic design and making sure that those elements are aligned with our vision. And then we have a content marketer. And so we all really work together to make sure that we're good stakeholders to other members in our marketing work. But also stakeholders to the rest of the business and keeping our ear to the ground on what our customers are saying, what our partners are saying, and creating assets and experiences that reflect that. And really tie back to what we're trying to do, which is really make the internet safer and stopping criminals from profiting off of stolen data. That's our key marker.
One thing I definitely want to dive deeper into is the fact that the SDRs or the BDRs,
whatever you call them, are actually part of the marketing team that is really interesting to
me. And if you have any data, if you have any like, I don't know, feedback, advice, or success
stories that you can bring back to our listeners here. we'd love to hear that, because I think
a lot of companies are struggling with, “Oh, well do the SDRs actually report to marketing?
Are they really a sales function?”
Kayla Rice 4:53
Yeah. So, they roll up into our demand generation team in the marketing org. So folks that I
partner with really closely, especially how we develop our content. And because pipeline is
such a huge driver for us, and we really focus on not just top-of-funnel activities, but all the
way through an entire kind of customer or partner lifecycle, we want to make sure that
those interactions with potential prospects as they get started with us are as beneficial to
them as humanly possible. And we're really making the right fit. And we found that having SDRs within our reach allows us to make sure they're fully enabled and educated about our thought leadership pillar of messaging, our products and solutions, and the people that we have within our organization. And being really able to, like I said, educate that potential buyer or interested party in need of our services, and what we can do, and then being an amazing partner to our sales team, to be able to hand that over really smoothly. So there's an easy transition and none of those conversations are kind of lost in flight. It's worked really, really well for us, our SDR team has actually grown double growth over the last year. Again, like I said, it is all kudos to our demand marketer, and kind of what they've put together for our plan there. But our team gets to work closely when we're looking at email cadences and how does that work, and nurture campaigns? And even if we're working on the website, like what do we do on our pages, to make it where it's very easy for our SDRs to use that as a single source of truth? If they get a question that maybe they don't know, or they want to kind of dig in further or point a prospect to something a little bit more elaborate, we are looking at it on multiple levels. And so it's something that's really worked for us, especially being a somewhat smaller startup, but with amazing growth, and our sales, we've gotten great feedback from our sales leaders that it's something that's been very effective.
I love that. And they'll just sleep better at night as a brand and comms person that everyone
across marketing and sales is saying the same thing, and the value prop is the same, and it's
Kayla Rice 6:57
Yeah, especially when you grow so quickly. We're a six-year-old company with the iterations
of what our founders originally started with — and how we have not only watched the
cybersecurity market, and specifically, you know, exposed data market grow, and how we
have also been leading the charge in that — it's been so interesting how quickly we've had
to adapt and evolve around that. And so to have individuals who are agile, and empathetic
to kind of everyone's growing pains I think has been one of our greatest successes in making sure that everyone is saying the same thing and is speaking the same language, and that there is united experience. Whomever, if we're recruiting new talent, or we're getting a new customer on-boarded, there is continuity there. And that's been really exciting to be a part of, and also continue to watch it evolve and grow.
So, you said slightly, just a few minutes ago, that one of the reasons that the SDRs is under
the marketing team is the marketing team is focused on pipeline, right? Pipeline pipeline
pipeline. So us pipeline-focused marketers, some of us from demand gen backgrounds, such
as myself, may not understand the value of brand. When you have a limited budget, you can
only put your money in some spots, are you gonna hire an in-house graphic designer, are you going to do SDRs, etc, etc.? So can you talk about, from a marketing perspective, how can we get these non-brand-focused marketers to have a passion for brand or an understanding of brand or get to the point where they see brand as influencing pipeline?
Kayla Rice 8:33
From my personal experience, it's been dependent on the size of the organization. Larger
organizations, I think you do get a little bit of that pushback and maybe seeing it as — and I
hate this word — but like fluff, right? It's like, “Oh, okay, you're the colors, you're the logo, you're the you know, this or that.” But when you're working in smaller organizations, and
specifically how we have formatted our marketing team, there really are tactical pieces to
brand that every marketer can appreciate, right? Like in my creative studio, we have a
content marketer. That person not only is responsible for white papers and research, but they do blogs, they help with social copy. They are someone who is a checkpoint on any asset or document or written piece that we are putting out there to be a gut check for those other marketers, right? They're a good partner and a good collaborator in that experience. And so I think you inherently, when you have kind of defined tactical roles that aren't doing a specific job, but you can showcase how those responsibilities can really help the other person be successful — whether it be demand, whether it be product marketing — it inherently builds a level of trust that, “Okay, you're a subject matter expert in content or graphic design, and I get to be the subject matter expert in our product and what that looks like for the market. But let's work together on the best experience for you know, an audience member.” And it hasn't been, especially at SpyCloud, it hasn't taken a lot to get them to understand brand and what brand awareness does. Again, being a younger organization, I think people were ripe and ready for more individuals to really understand the work that we were doing. And for it to be a point of pride for us to be able to say, “Oh, I work at SpyCloud” and have someone in the cyber community or tech community go, “Oh, yeah, I heard about you guys,” right? Like, that's not just from getting a bunch of emails, that's really the work being done. Whether it be launching a sponsored report, whether that be podcast ads, organic, social, there's so many levers you can pull to really make people understand who you are, what you stand for, what you're trying to solve, and the people who are backing all of that? People start to get behind that a little bit, especially in the marketing org for us, they get behind that a lot easier. Now, other members of the organization, they may have a harder time, because brand is also a very emotional experience for a lot of people, depending on how long they've been with the company, or how involved they were in previous iterations. So you do kind of have to tread lightly. But I have been truly appreciative that everyone from you know, top leaders and founders all the way to some of our individual contributors have been very, very supportive of our efforts.
And we'll get into your brand refresh in just a minute, but I want to highlight two things you
said that I think are kind of like these bullet point takeaways that you could take and use to
convince someone the value of brand or kind of takeaway and show to your team. Like one:
brand awareness, right? It costs money. Sometimes it's not trackable, but if people can say,
“I know that company, oh, I know what you do” and sell it to your sales folks, and make it an
easier intro conversation because you're not a guy in a trench coat opening up the trench
coat and being like, “Hey I have a security product, you want one?” You know, right? And
then the second thing you said, which was brand from like, the more emotional and consistency and stories side of the house, it's about the user experience.
Kayla Rice 12:01
Yes, 100%, I hang my hat on that every time. And I think every person in an organization I
consider as a brand ambassador. I might hold the title in my role but what I do is only a
reflection of the work that everyone else is doing. And so it's really key to not just marketer to marketer, but marketing to product, product to tech, tech to leaders, even finance org or HR, like, everyone has a piece of this pie. Because when more people know about you, and they know really positive things about you, and they know, use cases and what you're doing, the trust and respect you're building in the market, it goes so much further than we can ever actually tabulate. It's an inherent trust that you're really kind of like laying the foundation for and it's not to be too grandiose in that brand is solving all the problems. That's you know, not the message, but I mean, maybe I am solving the world's problems. Maybe that's true.
Exactly. You know you are, girl!
Kayla Rice 13:04
Yeah, it's bringing the best light to the company, in everything that we do. And I think that
that's only helpful in creating more successful opportunities for everyone involved.
Well, you know, the reason why I actually say that you should flip that hair and be proud of
that, is because Gianna and I recently talked to someone who was trying to do this internal
marketing, and brand awareness from a social media strategy perspective. And it takes a lot
to really get everyone internally so excited about being out there as your brand evangelists,
and, and that spans from HR all the way to leadership, even the founders, who is, this is their company, this is their baby, and it can take a lot to get them to actually post on LinkedIn. At least from a brand awareness perspective.
Kayla Rice 13:49
I mean, again, I have really great champions at SpyCloud. But not to say that it also isn't a
struggle still. I think, when you have individuals where specifically focusing on brand wasn't
something that happened when we first launched, right, like there wasn't a role created.
There wasn't necessarily a team, it was just kind of like, “Let's get customers and show
them our data and get them set up.” That was really the drive and I think that happens with
a lot of startups, right? It's like, “Let's just get our information out.” And when you really start to take stock of the market, of your competitors, of folks that you would like to attract, you see a use case for them, and you're trying to convince them, I think it becomes very clear that brand is a great way to start that conversation and have that conversation. So, it's not the hard sell every time. Sometimes it's just laying the foundation, it's showcasing your point. It's our leader showcasing on social an article that they read and tagging us in it. It's our sales team, internally sharing wins that they've had so that folks can understand the work that they're doing and being able to continue to drive forward. I think that kind of like internal feedback is just as powerful to then be able to share it externally because you know what you're doing, right, everyone is kind of aligned to that same mission. It's definitely a challenge and I beat the drum all day every day and I'm happy to do that, because I'm so proud of the work that we do. And I'm so excited for what we can bring to the market. And I think that that can reverberate across an organization. And when you have a few champions out there, and you can identify those clearly across, that also just kind of helps amplify that a little bit more. And it's not for the faint of heart. But it is definitely a very fun job and I wouldn't want to do anything else.
That's awesome. Let's get into — and I'm sorry, because I said refreshed earlier — but
actually SpyCloud had a brand evolution. Before we jump into that, what's the difference
between a refresh and an evolution?
Kayla Rice 15:39
You know, I don't mind the term “refresh.” I really dislike the term “rebranding something”
unless you really like going through an acquisition or there really is truly like, you're
renaming yourself, like there's a time and a place. But I think, as marketers and brand
professionals, we’re very quick to, if a logo is adjusted, or a color palette is adjustable, “We've rebranded!” It's like, well, no, you've really just taken stock of where you are today, what you're trying to accomplish, the audience you're going after, the personas that you want to speak to, the solutions that you provide, you've collected some feedback, and you realize, like we can up our game, right? We can go to the next level of something. And that's all an evolution is, it's taking from your learnings taking the best skills and assets that you have, and growing upon that. And so, specifically, at SpyCloud, we were known in the market for having the most robust data, the most actionable, the quickest recapture data out there. So that was already
starting to trickle through but people may not have quite understood all of the nuances of
how we could slice and dice that data to be effective to prevent account takeover, fraud, and
ransomware, really. And it really is so much more than just updating a logo or updating a
color palette. It's really digging into what is your messaging framework? Who are you going
after? What are those titles? Who are your decision makers, who are your supporters in
that. They may not be signing the contract, and they may not even be using the tool, but
they see value in what you're doing for the greater picture. And being able to speak to them where they are, meet them where they are in how you present your best case, and then also dangling that carrot in front of them and what could be. And I think brand really supports all of that. And what we do, it's so much more than just throwing up exposed data on the website and saying, “Are you scared now? What do you want to do?” Like, that's not, that's not a feeling that I like, as a consumer, it's not a feeling that a lot of other folks like, and so it's “Okay, this could feel scary, but here's what this actually means and here's what you can do about it. And we're here to partner with you through that.” I think there's nuances to it. And there's definitely some trial and error. It's okay to test things, it's okay to fail on some messaging, it's okay to fail in some digital ads, and it just doesn't work and you learn from that and you grow. But to me to call something just a rebrand, where it's a stop in time or a line in the sand? It doesn't feel authentic to the work that I think we're doing specifically at our organization. And it really is just kind of, we have an amazing foundation, let's just continue to grow. And it also allows us the freedom and space to say, “Oh, we've grown out of what it currently looks like, feels like, how we're saying things, the markets that we're in, the people that we're talking to. What's that next phase? What's that next iteration?” It doesn't kind of stop us from that growth. And so that's why I kind of lead into more of an evolution mindset when I talk about brand.
Just add a little color to that: in thinking about the startup lifecycle — and I'm selfishly asking, maybe asking for a friend, maybe asking for me — when is the right time for let's say, a startup to actually think of not only an actual brand function within the marketing team, but a brand evolution? Like, you know, you start with some kind of brand in stealth mode, and then you seed stage, and it becomes this? And when do you actually make it an official function within your marketing growth team? And what does that look like?
Kayla Rice 19:16
I mean, that's tough, because I clearly think you should have someone that has that
responsibility, whether it be in title or not from the get go. And if you are a group of
founders or a group of technical expertise, and that's not your area, I understand that.
Leverage an agency, leverage a consultant, there are so many resources out there that even
though you may be starting small and that's not your area of excellence, that doesn't mean
that there aren't amazing resources to support you in that. Something as simple as just
going on LinkedIn and looking through your own network to see who has what and saying,
“Will you take coffee with me?” And people may be able to give you great advice.
As your organization grows, and you really start to — as a product organization or as a
technical area of expertise — you start to see how you want to develop those solutions. And
you start to kind of understand a little bit about where they may fit in your entire product
lifecycle? I think that if it's opening a door, for instance, for us, we were going earlier this
year, we opened ourselves up into the anti-fraud space, which is not a traditional space we
were in for the five years prior. We really were in that ATO prevention space. But it's a new
buyer, it's a new problem to solve. It's using similar data, but showcasing it in a way that is
more engaging and more useful to that buyer. And so no one's going to know that because
they've never heard SpyCloud when it came to anti-fraud or fraud prevention, right? How
do we leverage brand to be like, “Listen, you may just see an ad in your, in the blog that
you're reading, but that's gonna get you to think a little bit differently about it, if you've only
ever seen it, you know, one way.” And I think it's really important that there's someone who is banging that drum a little bit, whether they have it in their actual title or not. I'm blessed to say that it's my day-to-day job. But I know many marketers, where it's their, you know, other duties as assigned. Or, you know, it just happens to be a bullet on their resume. But as I said, it's important for all employees to feel like they're part of the brand. But I think at all stages of a startup’s kind of life, you have somebody who can kind of keep a keen eye on that and really isn't afraid to challenge where you are today and feel really passionate about where you could grow and asking the right questions to say, “Okay, do we need a particular person on our team? Can we have a vendor that can support us? Can we have an agency? What does it look like for our budget, our resources, and our time?” And going from there.
I love that. And I love that you laid out those options. And those options are for all types of
budget sizes, right? And all types of stages for startups.
Kayla Rice 21:54
And I'll also, I'll validate what you said about the importance of brand, too, Kayla. So, Nimmy Reichenberg, who was the CMO of Siemplify — and I only say “was” because they were acquired by Google — in our podcasts with him earlier this year, he said he wished he had invested more in brand. He wished he had put more money into defining the emotion and branding of the company.
Kayla Rice 22:18
If you have something like that, especially if it's not your traditional, like strong suit, as you're kind of in that startup phase of trying to figure out how do you want to present this great thing? You know it's going to be awesome, but you don't know how to get it out there. Use the people who do and use their expertise. And that goes for any role, right? I think we're going to talk a little bit about how I even came to cyber at some point, it's not my expertise, I don't have a huge technical portfolio of understanding. But I go to the people who do and they make it very approachable. And they break it down into layman's terms where I can really digest that. And I think it goes both ways. And I'm super excited to hear of a leader who finds true value in that. And I think when you can find champions that are your leaders, who are those decision makers who can hold the purse strings, I mean, that becomes a lot easier for folks in my role, because you're not having to win them over. That becomes a very simple
conversation. And then they can have the dialogue at their level and align with what their
goals and objectives are. And really figuring out where brand fits into that and making sure
that that's not just a box that's being checked, but something that's a value to everyone
across the board. Yes,
Yes, i.e., you don't have an SQL train chasing you and your dreams every night.
Kayla Rice 23:36
And then you don't know how to tie that to SQL and —
Kayla Rice 23:42
Absolutely I hope I don't dream about that later.
Well, you know, Maria, if you put a shield in your logo, your SQLs go up by 20%.
That's the answer! That’s the answer to my question, my life’s question and dimension.
Kayla Rice 23:59
Yeah, there's a phenomenon in the brand world about de-branding. And I don't know if you
guys know about this, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. But it really is this kind of
movement that some organizations, not just B2C, but B2B as well, where they're really
stripping away some icons out of their logos, and they're stripping away some of that
kitchiness to it and really simplifying. And so when we went from having a logo that had an icon, and all we did was take the icon away. We kept the font the same, we kept the logo the same. It's just our name. It's just our nameplate now. There was a couple of rumblings. It's like, “We're losing our culture, we're losing something fun.” And it's like no, no, no, like, that's still our name. We're not changing our name. We're not doing anything. It's just cleaning it up ever so slightly, because that icon before wasn’t — no one could actually tell from looking at that what we did. It didn't do us a service. It didn't necessarily do us a disservice. But it didn't do us — there wasn't any positive movement from it that you know, we could track. So let's just test this out. Let's see if we just kept it very simple. And so far, us being able to just hang our banner on just our name and putting a little bit of power behind who SpyCloud is, what our data powers that has worked out tenfold for us. And so it's an interesting, there's always kind of discussions in the marketing of brand world of like what the right direction is. But I think
testing is kind of a key component of all of it.
And now we'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and producers Hacker Valley
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Okay, so let's get into that then, that evolution, right, because you came on here, we're
saying, “Oh, there was a SpyCloud evolution, not a refresh.” Tell us like, obviously SpyCloud
entered into new markets and new categories. But like, how did the process of the evolution
go? You said you took away the icon. And we'll put a link in the Show Notes to a blog post on our website that includes a before and after picture of SpyCloud. But describe to the
audience what the logo looked like before, when you said you took away that icon, like tell us a little bit of the story?
Kayla Rice 26:42
Yeah, well, we didn't do it in a vacuum by any means and we didn't do it overnight. It took
several months of really intense conversations with not only our founders, but top leaders
and individual contributors from across the business to really understand what direction as
a company we wanted to go. And that's everything from, “Are there any additional new
markets outside of the ones that we think we're going to go into the next year? Are there
any sectors that we're really keen on wanting to have a stake in, or industries that we think
we could tell the story better? What is our retention? What is our recruitment? What does
our culture look like? What kind of people do we want to attract and retain? What do those
look like? What are our core values? Does that align to our mission? Does our mission need
to change?” And there was a lot of discussion around that. And we did — because that could be something that I take on every day — but again, leveraging a agency that is very well known in the cybersecurity space and has a great experience with not only building brands from the ground up, but also evolving them, we worked hand-in-hand with them to have executive leadership roundtables, to have a very transparent conversation after multiple rounds. And kind of whittling down, we started with the messaging framework first. So we started with our brand purpose first and what we were wanting to go after. We realigned our core values, made sure that those still — while they may have been different words or synonyms — they still rang true to kind of how we had started the organization. You know, our core values now are “focused, grounded, driven, we're inventive.” So instead of “innovative,”
“inventive” felt like very true to us now. “Insightful,” and then “united,” right? So really kind of, we're all in this together. This is a team experience. And those resonated across the
business as well. And were well received. And so then once we kind of knew our tone messaging, how we could tell our story in the best way possible, then it became a little bit easier to make the adjustments to the actual palette. Or our look and feel of our brand. So we started with a logo that had a little hexagon icon. And at the time, I think when it was first started, when our founders kind of got it together, it was kind of fun and different, right? SpyCloud, there's an eye what's the spy, it kind of builds intrigue. But as we've grown and really matured as an organization, we didn't want to be confused as someone who's spying on you by any means, right? Like, that's not what we're in the game of whatsoever. And so, was that icon, was that a service that it was doing? And at this juncture, we felt like, again, going into anti-fraud, and some other markets that we're looking at in the future. It just wasn't and so it was easier to just kind of simplify. It also was the best step for us to make sure that — because we are somewhat of a small organization, again, we're only at 150, when I started, we were at 80 people — it was palatable to people. It didn't feel like a major change or a major shift to change the logo, same with the color palette. We have an amazing SpyCloud teal, it's not quite like a Tiffany blue. It's not really a turquoise, it's somewhere in the middle, and it's ours. And it stands out in a world of royal blue in the tech space. And so for us it felt very much like we want to keep that, that feels really natural to us. And what are some complementary colors that are still punchy enough, when we do any sort of design work that it would be noticeable? But it's not obnoxious, it's not cartoony, and it still is really elevated to that enterprise buyer, right, which is kind of our key market. Once we kind of played back and forth with that, it became very simple that for us, the evolution wasn't a total rehaul. It was really just some small incremental movement over the last year that made everyone feel still a part of it. Still, again, united in that experience, but feeling like “Okay, we're moving forward, we're changing and we're growing.” With that, the next layer was, “Okay, well, what kind of ways are we going to show this?” Traditionally, because we have over 250 billion recapture data points in our data lake, our data, and our storytelling has been dense, right? We write long reports, we even write long blogs, and it's heavy, but it's interesting and much needed. But how can we diversify that? So, really looking at our social campaigning and making it a bit more fun and a bit more edgy and not as copy and paste of some third party links, or some stats from use case. Like, how do we make some more engagement? And we've seen exponential growth there. We're almost at 5000 LinkedIn followers, and I'm super excited because we were around —
That’s amazing, congrats!
Kayla Rice 31:27
No, I know. So and it's, you know, every month I see that little arrow go up in our, our
analytics, and I'm like, “Oh, my goodness, everyone, you come flock to us, let us talk to you.”
That's really interesting, what you said about elevating the brand to be more targeted
toward enterprise buyers, taking away the cute little icons, but on social. On social, you
went more, not downmarket but downlevel. More friendly, more fun, less, probably, quote
unquote, professional. Did you see like any sort of friction between that? On one side, you
made things more professional, kind of, and then on the other side, you made things quote
unquote, less professional?
Kayla Rice 32:03
Yeah, I wouldn't say we made them less professional, I think we just opened the door a little
bit more for people to know who we were. And inherently, it became a little bit maybe more
casual on some of our posts rather than unprofessional. So really talking more about our
talent and showcasing our culture in a way that if you take any sort of social media
one-on-one, a lot of folks will come and they're interested in articles or thought leadership,
but most likes that you get are from a talent branding perspective, or from a cultural
And so being really cognizant of that, it's, “Okay, our people are coming here because they
want to know, who are we hiring? Why did we hire them? What are they going to be doing?
What are we volunteering at today? What's happening at the office? What's kind of a new,
fun way that we're doing things in South Austin, which is already a cool hit fun town, right?”
Like, how do we expose that a little bit more? How do we showcase our remote workforce
and really highlighting that this is something that we are proud of, and we are very
supportive of as we continue to grow.
And I think that ability to highlight that area of our brand that like I said, was a little bit
more casual, opened the door for people to feel comfortable coming to our pages and saying
like, “That's cool,” and then staying for the thought leadership, staying for breaking down
the data, really understanding what our solutions and products can do. And that's not
always, that's not always the entry point. But I think we have seen some more growth from
that. And it's been really exciting to see and it's ever growing, and always new ideas and
new things that we're going to do. And we're able to leverage video there in a way that is
not always great from an email perspective, because as cybersecurity professionals, we
don't want to click on a link, right? Like that's not kosher for us. So how can we do that on
social where it feels a little safer for someone to dabble in that and still get the information
that they're seeking from our company?
I love what you were saying about remaining as agile and flexible as possible in terms of
your tone, depending on the channel, and rightly so you should be. Things are right for a
press release or a corporate message from the CEO, and then other things are okay for
Twitter while they might not be okay for LinkedIn. And I love that, and I think it does take a
leader that owns brand in order to actually drive that message and that flexibility across the
channels in terms of messaging. And because I think without a leader that's driving that, or
at least controlling that or being the leader in that, it can get confusing or messy.
Kayla Rice 34:28
Yeah, and this might sound like I'm tooting my own horn. I'm not really intending to, but I
think it also takes a leader who is not so regimented, like I'm protective of our brand. I want
to make sure it's always displayed correctly and how we're talking about SpyCloud is
appropriate. But it's also like, you know, I love it when someone in my org comes to me and
says, “Hey, I'm not really like super comfortable on how to post to LinkedIn, is this okay?”
And it's their own posts that they want to do and they're just running it by someone and
they’re confident enough that they're not comfortable enough in that space, and they want
to just ask someone. And so I think for anyone who's just unsure of like, how do we even
start this brand thing, and maybe we do want to be a little bit more casual, maybe we do
want to share a little bit more of this area of our business than we have ever had before.
Like, gut check with someone, you don't have to do it in a silo, you don't have to know
everything right off the bat. And I think that that's kind of the most — social’s a fun place to
play that out. And it feels like a very low-risk place to play that out, rather than like a full-on
media relations article that you're getting, interview that you're doing, like that's high
stakes sometimes. So try it on social a little bit, within reason. Asterisk everything within
So aside from gathering your champions internally, what are the other go-to stakeholders
that you bring around in your roundtable to not only see your strategy through to execution
and actually launch, but to make sure there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen and
control that journey as much as you can.
Kayla Rice 36:01
This is another one where I think it depends on organizational size. But I think we're
blessed to still have our founders be also key leaders in our business. So making sure that
they were still active, and part of this discussion was paramount. It was like a non-starter to
not have them be part of the conversation. And then also having some balancing with that
like other folks within the organization.
So, having our leader — which marketing our structure falls under the chief revenue officer,
which in some organizations, it doesn't. But he has seen in other places that he had been
the power of brand to drive leads to drive engagement, that it was very easy for him to want
to participate. Having product be involved, because again, for us so much of who we are and
what we do is from our solutions, and the data that we're able to provide enterprises, to not
have them at the table would have felt like we're missing a huge voice.
Part of this is talent branding. So having someone who can represent not only HR, but
employee engagement, and how do we want to talk about recruitment and talent and our
culture, and diversity and inclusion, and all of these things that I think organizations see as
separate but equal topics that can really kind of be all-inclusive into that talent brand
sphere, and making sure that they have voice at the table was really important.
And then it was also really on my shoulders and my team of other marketers to make sure
we did our due diligence. So when we're talking about why we're doing this, understanding
and being able to showcase, “Here's what some of our competitors are doing. Or maybe not
competitors but here's a company that's doing X with their brand. And that's something
that we can aspire to, that's tangible for us. That is a goalpost that we can work towards.”
And seeing how that felt to that table, right, seeing how that landed from them from a
visual, from a tone, from a messaging perspective.
And being able to give choice and options I think is really important when you're having
those discussions. And also not being so convicted in “change is good.” And I think brand
should change and it does change but not being so convicted that something has to change.
Being okay with some elements can stay the same during this period. And taking that
feedback and seeing where it lies and doing some check-ins you know, every six months,
every eight months to see, “Okay, is this still working for us? Or is now the time we opted to
take the icon off, but we kept our word mark in another six months? Well, we want to do
something different with the word mark? Maybe!” And we've left that conversation open,
because we've been transparent with those champions and those decision makers and
made sure that they were part of the effort along the way.
I mean, Kayla, you have the CRO on board growing brand, you must be doing some voodoo
as part of your brand strategy. What is the secret?
Kayla Rice 38:47
I try really hard to not start from a place of “no.” You know, someone has an idea or
someone's coming up with something new. I want to say, “That sounds great. Let's dig into
that more and better understand it and then see if it makes sense based on our priorities.”
And I think when you do that all the way from CRO who may have one lens and what they're
looking at, versus someone who's our CFO, and they have very clear objectives that guide
the company we need to reach and understanding that there's not a hard line to brand.
There's guidelines. They're called guidelines for reason, right? But there's not strict,
stringent rules. I think it helps them feel like they can be part of it. It doesn't feel so outside
of their wheelhouse.
And then when you're able to commit to saying you are going to do something, like we
knew this year we really wanted to create — I'm calling it live action video, but it's really
just a humanistic element to our story instead of using just animation or written text — like
having our leaders our people say who we are, what we do, and why it's important. And
showcasing that in you know a new brand video? That had never been done before and so
when people can see themselves in something and they see that this is new and different
and engaging, they want to be a part of that too. And I think you just kind of get a little bit of
positive peer pressure that's like, “Well, I want to do that. Let's, how can I be active in that?”
And so, people, from frontline workers all the way to senior leaders, they raise their hands
and want to be a part of it. And we do really just, I can't say it enough, we have such a cool
group at SpyCloud where I don't get a lot of naysayers at all about anything. They're just
very excited about the work that we're doing. So like, “Cool, if you can get that out to a new
audience, like I'm game, let's do it.”
Love that. And it makes the job so much easier. Lastly, I want to harp on a few metrics. I
know our listeners always love to hear what — not only what other people are doing in
terms of strategy — but what are the metrics they're actually looking at from a brand
growing perspective? What are your go to metrics that you actually bring back to your CMO
to say, “This is what our hard work has done in the last nine months. This is what it's
Kayla Rice 40:58
Yeah, so we look at a couple of different things. And I partner very closely with our demand
org on this because we own content under our brand, content syndication programs, and
how those are tracking, even website visits, time on page, click through like, all of those
things are really important to us, because that's where we're showcasing it front and center.
From a social perspective like I said, follower count, it seems like a vanity metric. And to
some it might be but to me, it's more eyeballs. So it's getting that out there. All of our
repost/reshares/likes, like I take all of that in as huge engagement numbers that I just find
is really positive growth metrics.
And then, we have some other tangible ones where if we're opting to do paid ads or podcast
sponsorships, okay, what is their viewer or their listenership? What does their audience
look like? How many times are we a participant in that? How many downloads were there?
So that we also can kind of see, it's not a direct movement that we're doing straight from
our site or straight from our email campaigns. It's something that we've partnered with, but
how is that tracking? How is that moving and then also, that gives us a little bit more
flexibility to push or pull on those strings, which have been really exciting to kind of see
come to fruition and again, another new thing that we had not really done before we've
gotten great kind of dividends from it.
Love to see the confirmation that there is such a close tie with the demand gen org because
a lot of people think that brand and demand gen are two separate things and you can't do
one without the other and right thank you for making that example and manifesting it into
Kayla Rice 42:31
It would be so hard if I just sat here was like, “Man, we made this really amazing report.
Well who's gonna read it?” Like okay, let's work with our partners who know how to get
this out in a way that's so effective, right? And how do we amplify that? So I'm just so keen I
keep harping on it but it's like find the people that are really good at what they're doing and
work with them not against them like you will sleep better at night I promise.
This is a game where we guess what you would be doing if you were not in marketing. So
Kayla, you're so enthusiastic about brand and about this whole topic, I think maybe you
could be like a really awesome local tour guide for like a really cool hidden gem of a city.
You know like this is Galway, Ireland! Let me leave that all about Galway, Ireland! All right
Maria, your turn.
You would be still in some sort of branding but more on the consumer side. So like a big
influencer for some kind of consumer brand like I could see you, you know, picking up a
Coca Cola can and be like, “Drink Coca Cola, it's good for you!” And you have millions of
followers and that sort of thing.
Kayla Rice 43:41
Can we spring both of these things into existence? Can I drink a Coke from Galway, Ireland
because that — chef's kiss, I will do that in a heartbeat.
What would you do if you weren't doing what you were doing today?
Kayla Rice 43:52
Well, seeing as how I just fell into what I'm doing, I feel pretty darn lucky to be doing it. This
is not not necessarily my background. You know what I thought I'd always love to do? I love
love love music, is I really wanted to be the person on a television show or movie who
created the soundtrack. Not so much the composer because I have no musical abilities, like I
don't play an instrument. But just putting songs together to emote that like emotion of
something, I've always been super drawn to that. And I just always want to know, who's that
person and like, how did they get that job? Like I would love to do that. I think that'd be so
I could see you putting together the soundtrack for like I don't know if you watch animated
movies but “Sing 2” and the first “Sing” movie. Yeah, I'm obsessed.
Kayla Rice 44:37
Yeah, well in order to emotionally and mentally prepare for today's recording. I like literally
sent out to my Instagram. I was like, “Okay, y'all send me a song that would be your pumpup
song if you're really nervous about something like what is it?” So I have my like, “Girl, you
can do this” playlist that I've compiled before coming on here because I was like, “Okay, you
gotta do this. Like you've never done it before but you're ready.” So yeah, that's definitely
something I'm super passionate about.
Well share with me that playlist because girl you did amazing today!
Kayla Rice 45:07
Kayla, how can people contact you?
Kayla Rice 45:10
Sure, the best way is probably through my LinkedIn. I'm pretty active there. You can also
email me directly, it's kayla.rice@SpyCloud.com.
Thank you so much, Kayla, for being on, we had such a blast.
Kayla Rice 45:25
Yeah, thank you guys so much for having me. I love this platform. I think you guys are doing
awesome work. I tell everyone about the Society. So thanks for having me, it's been
Thank you for being our champion, our brand champion!
If you want to join the Cybersecurity Marketing Society and come congregate with the
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so much for your support and for listening to us and yeah, see you next time!