Jun 28, 2011

Love What You Do

For 10 years, I’ve tried many times — and failed miserably — to come up with a tagline for our company. I’m not sure why it’s so hard. I guess when you build a company, you don’t want to commit to one single direction, even if it’s just for a simple marketing statement. You kinda want to keep things flexible. So I decided to just give up on taglines and slogans. Then one day, I saw a tweet from someone that said they loved MailChimp’s tagline: "Love what you do."

What? I sure as heck didn’t remember approving that. I logged in to MailChimp and sure enough, there it was in our footer:

At first, I was a little worried because stuff like this is significant, and probably shouldn’t just pop up without someone telling me. But then again, it’s pretty spot-on, so I got over it. But I did think that as co-founder of this company, I should at least pretend to be angry and get something in return for this "rogue action…"

So I marched down to talk to our DesignLab and marketing group, and told them that if they were going to come up with this sorta stuff without consulting with me, they now have to make me a coloring book, called "Love What You Do." I told them that the tagline, while obviously written to appeal to our creative customers, has deeper meaning and is more appropriate than they might think. At MailChimp, we love what we do, and we try to make our work fun and innovative. Nowadays, since people are always wired and connected and working, we figure we might as well make work enjoyable for people (even if they’re working on something like email marketing). So it’s only fitting that we create a coloring book about little baby Freddie Chimpenheimer, loving all the little, everyday things in life.

The DesignLab staff looked at me in a weird, confused kinda way, but then they smiled and got to work.

Here’s the finished product:

They even added it to the Resources section of our website, among all the different email marketing best practices guides:

I think it fits in well! And it shows what makes us different: we’re willing to have fun with this stuff.

The coloring book is available for free as a PDF download, but we’ve also printed a couple thousand of them and will be sending them to random customers. Our support and compliance teams are always sending off random gifts to customers (t-shirts, monkey hats, cat hatsplushies, and ninja sticker postcards). Usually, we send swag to customers who make us chuckle in live chat or email, or just as a surprise to make someone smile (like this guy, or this dude). Some customers have asked if we sell any of our swag, and we do realize people want to buy extras for spouses and co-workers, but we think that would make them less fun for us. We love giving them away as gifts!

Oh, remember that weird look from our designers that I mentioned earlier? I’ve learned over the years that weird, awkward silences from employees usually mean I’ve said something totally stupid, and that those people are just being nice to me. It’s these awkward silences that keep me up at night: I replay what I said over and over again, trying to figure out what I said wrong. Anyway. I just now realized that since the tagline appeared in our app first, it must’ve been our UX team that did this. So I pinged Aarron Walter, and sure enough:


Ha. So I guess our DesignLab and Marketing teams didn’t have anything to do with this tagline, but they wanted to do a coloring book anyway, and just ran with it. And the fact that our head of UX would care so much about our ethos that he’d work this line into our app? I love what I do.