Brand Watch: 'Zoom'ing into the hockey stick moment

After signing its first customer Stanford University in 2012, after trying to stay afloat with significant struggles, ranging from building its brand in a saturated video telephony market while raising funds amongst the tech ventures in San Jose, Zoom has come a long way. It is now the most used video conferencing brand across industries, countries. While the pandemic propelled their non-linear adoption, there are critical things that every startup should learn from this brand. While the pandemic could have been the jet that took Zoom on its hockey-stick growth, getting all set for the moment of transition to hit you is the key. So what are those things that need to be done right and kept on track by continuous validation?

Delivering delight all along

From the moment it was incepted in 2011, Zoom has never taken its eyeball off the goal – Customer-centricity. It reflects all aspects in the user experience design that are simple compared to other video conferencing platforms. This freemium model led to wide adoption and unparalleled Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 65 that's way more than the industry average of 34. This perfect freemium model was put into research – accommodating 100 participants upto 40 minutes (The ideal duration for a video meeting was 45 minutes). So they kept it 5 minutes short, leaving the customer empowered but wanting more. The team had customer support and not sales right after the core product team. Zoom always believed that a good customer experience sells itself. It takes 10 seconds to sign up and 1 minute to set up a meeting. I mean, how do you top that??

True customer-first features

First-time Zoom installations skyrocketed to a whopping 782% since March 2020. Unlike other enterprise video apps like Webex or Skype, Zoom honestly had a mobile-first light application that even a novice can operate with ease and almost zero learning curve. It happened by listening to customers, which sounds simple enough but most of us conveniently ignore. Eric left Webex and founded Zoom only because he was frustrated that CISCO wouldn't act on the customer feedback of Webex. From keeping the signup simple to bringing an HD experience to the cost wary crowd

Marketing is an investment – Go Big or Go Home.

Most of us are counting on every penny of investment going into marketing and mostly rightfully so that not every result is quantifiable. However, the inherent benefits of building a brand power are realized only in the long term. Zoom went over the board and went on to keep billboards across the US, which had a bare minimum price of $50000 per month per board, even when they had few 10s of customers. A marketing mindset is essential to scale and grow big. Zoom has demonstrated it right from inception instead of companies that limit spending to the singular percentage of realized revenue. Zoom has over 1Million Twitter followers, while Webex has only over 140k. It does not happen without having an active and consistent investment going into social media content creation and campaigning." Are we going to double down or not?" – The go-to question Eric had after testing waters with any new initiative, marketing, or engineering.

Managing Crisis with Customer Stickiness

After pacing the journey at a desirable speed, hitting on a bump to hit the new low is not very ideal. It is even more challenging to build a green brand—the inaccuracy of marketing claims of End-to-End (E2E) security and an inaccurate privacy policy preventing a Product Security Crisis. crisis-shifts-cybersecurity-priorities-and-budgets. The architecture design and code have many vulnerabilities, which do not protect E2E's privacy in sessions between the parties. The data center assets in China stored sensitive information but did not inform customers who are very uncomfortable with such configurations. While it had a short-term impact on the stock price and new subscriptions, the growth has recovered. The existing customers retained themselves due to the stickiness they had to the product. It's necessary to be mindful of how today's decisions will be impacting tomorrow. It's required to cruise the mistake with honesty and customer interest.

Zoom didn't know that the pandemic would skyrocket their rocket. But, they were ready for it with a passionate team with the singular focus of customer delight to win over the competition. So, are you prepared for your moment?

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