Beautiful.ai CMO, Jill Callan, talks all things presentations and artificial intelligence, their brand name, and what led them to the decision to choose the domain Beautiful.ai.
What is the story behind Beautiful.ai?
Founder/CEO Mitch Grasso’s last startup, SlideRocket, was the first presentation tool to take advantage of all the cool things that you can do by moving productivity to the cloud — collaboration, sharing, analytics, integrations. But at its heart, it was still an authoring tool — just like PowerPoint or Keynote, you dragged boxes around, picked fonts and colors, and ultimately made every design decision by yourself. You could make great-looking presentations if you had the time and design skills but most people don’t and still struggle with creating great presentations. After he sold SlideRocket to VMware in 2011, Mitch started thinking about how he could make something better. How could he make it so anyone — not just a designer — could create beautiful presentations quickly and easily?
And so Mitch Grasso, Founder and CEO, built Beautiful.ai by taking his own experience and skill as a designer to create opinionated software that actually understands the rules and best practices of presentation design and constrains users to ensure what they create looks great and communicates effectively. The biggest challenge was finding the balance between making it really easy to use but still flexible enough that you could communicate your ideas.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Beautiful.ai?
The great part is that not only do you end up with a presentation that is probably better-looking than what you might be able to create by yourself, but that actually takes far less time and effort so you can spend your time on what you know best — telling your story, communicating your idea, making your pitch — not worrying about how it looks or how to best visualize your ideas.
How did you get the domain name Beautiful.ai for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?
Mitch was looking for a name that was relevant to the design aspects of what he was building but that also had connotations of intelligence or automation. The .AI domain had recently become available so it was easier to find good available domain names and we really liked the dichotomy of Beautiful and AI, two words that seemed at odds with each other yet accurately described what Mitch was trying to build. We also wanted to be provocative and choose a name that made you wonder, what exactly is that?
It was pretty simple, actually. We were torn between the brand name beautiful slides or Beautiful.ai in the early days. A quick google search yielded results that both domains were available so we purchased them. We think the juxtaposition between beautiful and AI perfectly translates our value prop which is to let anyone create beautiful presentations 10x faster (and 10x better) than any other presentation software on the market.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them?
Our target market is any business user that creates presentations and needs to scale the presentation design process. Building presentations can take a lot of time, be frustrating, and the end result is typically underwhelming. Beautiful.ai implies that your presentations are going to look professionally designed with our design AI which translates to efficiency and productivity which we know are two of the top goals of any team. Our product is the designer who knows the rules of good design so users don’t have to. They can focus on telling their story and we’ll make it beautiful.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
My first hire was an Art Director and our first challenge was to create a brand book. Creating a brand book can be a daunting exercise and we were careful to not boil the ocean. We wanted to create a brand experience that showed the same restraint as the product. Our goal was to keep the creative clean, minimal, modern, and true to the product promise. Once we aligned on the brand guidelines and voice and tone, we had our roadmap to ensure our integrated marketing efforts were consistent and aligned. We also took steps quarterly to review the work in a war room environment and poke holes in any assets that didn’t align with our brand guidelines. Or we would evolve our brand guidelines if something was working particularly well that we hadn’t discovered in our brand exploratory process.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Fortunately, it hasn’t changed too much for Beautiful.ai. Presentations are an essential part of any team’s workflow. If anything, being remote has increased our monthly active users with more team members using presentations as a way to share progress on project milestones, keep team members aligned on business KPIs, or train employees on new tools or processes. Because Beautiful.ai is cloud-based presentation software, sharing is incredibly easy. Features like audio-recording help users make their key points without physically having to be in the room. Integrations like Slack and Dropbox make team collaboration seamless and fast.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
We measure, test, and optimize regularly. We leverage data to guide our decisions and stay nimble so that we can optimize our target CAC. The majority of our efforts are focused on organic and viral growth, but we monitor efficiency and CAC for our paid channels. We’re slowly building out new channels as we scale our existing channels efficiently. We tend not to follow conventional wisdom, but to stay open to what works for Beautiful.ai vs. follow the lead of every other SaaS brand.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
I tapped into our Founder/CEO, Mitch Grasso, for this one. Here’s what he had to say: “I constantly reevaluate and refine whether it’s a business process, product design, features or code. It’s really important to recognize that you’re not going to get it right the first time and reworking things is a normal part of the process. Question everything, including conventional wisdom. Just because something falls under a best practice does not mean that it’s the right practice for your business.”
Where do you see your business in the future and how does your brand name fit into that vision?
We’re immediately focused on creating the fastest and easiest experience so that anyone or any team can create beautiful presentations, but our vision is to use AI to democratize great design across all mediums that intersect with knowledge workers.
We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect domain name. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat with someone about the process, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade, we are always happy to hear from you.