As Yelp's Group Creative Director, I led, redefined, rebranded, and reorganized Yelp's in-house 15+ creative team into "Y! Creative" to ship smarter (creative strategy and insights), faster (smooth operations), and better (on brand) creative work.
How might the Yelp creative team be seen as full team members by stakeholders that not only push pixels and picas but also deliver big ideas and define Yelp's brand?
We rebranded our creative team into "Y! Creative" because the best creative starts with "Why?."
"We are a group of creative folks whose sole purpose is to enable fandom inside and outside Yelp. We don't just make pretty things. We make things that move people—to take action and to feel. Because our work is only as good as the fans it creates."
We reorganized into "Creative Partnership Teams" equally balanced with a "three legs of the stool" approach. Where one leg is the Stakeholder/Partner(s), one leg is the Creative Lead (Associate Creative Director), and one leg is the Creative Project Manager (Operations). All of whom work hand-in-hand. Each "leg of the stool" is accountable and invested in the outcomes of program work vs. project work. And these three individuals on each team are supported by designers and writers from a "dugout." To prove this Creative Partnership Team model, we piloted two teams in late 21, including "Yelp for Restaurants." Guess what?! As you can see from above, they shipped smarter, faster, and better creative. At the beginning of 22,' we formalized a larger rollout for creative partnership teams aligned to each core area of the business and grew the team by 3x to make it a reality.
How might we make the Yelp brand relevant again? Yelp for Restaurants, focused on selling tools to restaurateurs, has had the most formidable reputation to overcome. Never one to shy away from a big challenge, we tipped our hat to the wind and decided to use Y4R as a brand incubator—to undo this perception by trying bold new things.
In mid-2022, we piloted new brand campaign work for Y4R with a bold new look and feel approach. We launched Turn The Tables as a commitment to restaurants, showcasing new tools tailored to meet the challenges that restaurants face today. The pandemic forced all of us to turn the tables. Restaurateurs across the country found new ways to turn industry struggles into game-changing shifts, and we found a source of inspiration — our customers. In 2020, we turned the tables ourselves. We created a team called Yelp for Restaurants and a software product called Yelp Guest Manager to help local restaurants meet, greet, and seat the millions of diners looking for them online. Learn how some of Yelp's customers are turning the tables in their business at restaurants.yelp.com/turnthetables
We drove awareness through a paid advertising campaign on Facebook.
We worked on building more goodwill with the restaurant industry with the launch of The Servies campaign.
The Servies is restaurant team recognition on a grand scale. They're the first-ever set of awards recognizing the front-of-house staff that keeps the restaurant industry going. An amazing award show that honors the unsung heroes of the restaurant industry needs an equally impressive award. Which is why we designed and fabricated a custom 3D trophy. Yes, i’s a real trophy. And we created a direct mailer calling for people in the industry to nominate someone worthy of a Servies award.
We used our learnings from these campaigns to inform a Y4R brand identity guidelines A.K.A. playbook. A playbook documenting our brand strategy, visual look and feel messaging platform across the funnel and a unified series of templates that production agencies could leverage along with our other four partnership teams.
We announced the awards through a paid social media campaign.
Meet the first-ever Servies winner of Best Front-of-House Team: Cozy Corners in Barbeau, MI! After an ownership change, this team blended new employees with "O.G.s" to create a fresh experience that their community loves. Learn more about the whole team.
We built upon our campaign and brand media library with on-location shoots in NYC and L.A. Our goal was to extend our Yelp Onward campaign, reduce creative debt, increase brand equity through consistency, and lower the use of stock photography.
We leveraged new assets as fresh as our latest reviews. And we updated our direct response ads that drove sessions into the Yelp App.
How might we celebrate our B2B advertising partners at an IRL conference while giving them the tools to be successful so they can sell more ads?
You throw an event that makes your partners feel like rock stars when they take the stage—reenergizing them to keep going with the knowledge that they’ll succeed with Yelp.
Smarter→ 5 team playbooks (brand guidelines, processes, brand assets, results, and templates) to scale ourselves w/ production vendor support.
Faster→ 2X year-over-year increase in project ships—300 plus projects.
Better→ 2X brand campaigns, reduced CPAs by ~50% and increased CVR by ~90%, Y! Creative team featured in Brand Consideration, AWWWARD, one feature in AdWeek, and another announcing Yelp's first national B2B 360 brand campaign since 2016!
Greater→ Contributed to 6 straight quarters of record net revenue during 8 quarter tenure.
Head of Marketing for Y4R → Matt Mcallister
Head of Enterprise Marketing→ Dylan Swift
Assoc. / Creative Director→ Joel Kennedy
ACD / Copy→ Kristine Kazarian
ACD / Copy→ Rowena Harris
ACD / Copy→ Adam Capell
ACD / Visual→ Jeremy Stabile
Lead Designer→ Wallace Bridges Jr.
Sr. Designers→ Leslye Tischenko, Lauren Club, Kevin Sandoval, & Stefanie Shoemaker
Sr. Writers→ Anna Wang, Perry Nelson, & Danny Barry
Motion Graphics→ Patrick Riggs
Animation Vendor→ SEED