Employee recognition platform Bonusly was growing—fast. They doubled their marketing headcount between 2021 and 2022, but even that wasn’t enough for them to execute all of their ambitious marketing projects. They partnered with Campfire Labs to build a new executive ghostwriting program, giving a platform to the company’s passionate leaders.
When Laura Saracho arrived at Bonusly, one of the first things she did was audit the company’s marketing. She discovered a gap in executive thought leadership. While some marketers disregard brand awareness and top of funnel marketing initiatives as a “nice to have,” Laura knew better.
The employee engagement space is incredibly competitive. Buyers evaluate vendors not just on the robustness of their product, but also on their beliefs, values, and perspectives. Although Bonusly’s executives were genuinely passionate about employee recognition, buyers couldn't always tell. The executives were accepting ad hoc interviews requests, but it was a reactive, rather than proactive, strategy.
The problem was, getting executives to write anything is tough. They hold a lot of responsibility and rarely, if ever, have time to sit down, carefully consider a topic, and write a thoughtful article.
Laura wanted to provide Bonusly’s CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks with a platform to speak on the topics he cares about, while also respecting his time. She designed a simple executive ghostwriting program: She’d workshop ideas, Raphael would give a short interview, and a writer would ghostwrite the article.
However, although Bonusly had great writers on staff, they didn’t have the journalistic skill set the program demanded. She began looking for an external partner and, after a referral from a peer, discovered Campfire Labs.
“I loved the fact that Campfire’s writers have a journalistic ethos,” she says. “It’s really enticing compared to other agencies that lack personality, creativity, and a sense of partnership.”
Campfire Labs project manager Angel Flowers guided a clear and collaborative editorial process, facilitating each article from conception to delivery. Staff writer Sarah Bellstedt owned the writing component, crafting inquisitive interview questions and pushing Raphael to share inspiring perspectives, ideas, and observations.
With a dedicated strategy, thought leadership is now a competitive advantage for Bonusly, differentiating the company from its more reticent competitors.
Bonusly’s executive thought leadership initiative started from scratch, and Laura says she wasn’t sure what to expect from the campaign. But she was impressed by the results. Bonusly quietly amassed a body of PR and media, which buoyed their online presence and drove a stream of referral traffic.
Another unexpected result came from Bonusly’s sales team. Reps began sharing Raphael’s articles with prospects. While Bonusly’s regular blogs aren’t salesy, these new stories felt different. They came from Raphael, the person, not Bonusly, the brand. Prospects loved that candor and openness.
Reflecting on the collaboration, Laura highlights how an ambitious content program has felt effortless.
“Not only does Campfire produce good work, but the process makes all of our lives easier,” she says. “The team leads the charge and makes me feel supported. We have a very efficient process that delivers results.”
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