Human resources service provider TriNet launched its first-ever omnichannel brand campaign in October – without the help of an advertising agency.
While the company worked with DWA as its media agency and Bombora, The Trade Desk and Nativo as ad tech partners, it was on a tight deadline to reposition the brand without an agency of record for creative, said Michael Mendenhall, SVP and chief marketing and communications officer at TriNet.
“When I came to the company five and a half months ago, they didn’t have an agency,” he said. “But we were given a timeline to get this done. Most of what we did relative to content was in-house.”
TriNet, which helps businesses manage HR, health benefits and compliance, works with small to midsize clients across six verticals. It wanted to highlight stories of the entrepreneurs using its platform to get its brand name out and connect with a broader audience.
“Fifty percent of the GDP comes from small to medium-sized businesses,” Mendenhall said. “A lot of people in our addressable market aren’t aware of us.”
The campaign, which ran across TV, out-of-home, print and digital, tapped into TriNet’s wealth of data on its customers to highlight success stories and inspire the CEOs and founders of prospective clients. TriNet took over Grand Central Terminal in New York City with 146 billboards about successful entrepreneurs using the platform.
“We can aggregate data and cut it many different ways to get great insights into our clients,” Mendenhall said. “It’s quite extraordinary what these entrepreneurs are doing and why.”
TriNet also spent 40% of its budget on digital and programmatic, as well as across platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. The brand used Nativo to buy natively across business-endemic outlets like Recode and VentureBeat, and Bombora helped segment and target audiences.
While it’s easier to track and measure campaigns on digital – TriNet is doing A/B testing for creative and measuring attribution for online conversions – traditional advertising like OOH and TV are still the most effective at raising brand awareness, Mendenhall said.
“There was a wild swing from conventional mediums to everyone jumping into digital,” he said. “But omnichannel presence is still important and can provide you with the context you need.”
For TriNet, launching the campaign in a tight time frame – five months – without an agency partner was a huge challenge, Mendenhall said.
“This is the first time in my 33-plus years of doing this in the time frame and velocity in which we did it,” he said. “We really did it internally and the team really delivered.”
Despite TriNet’s success in pulling off the campaign without a creative partner, Mendenhall knew the brand needed one going forward. But rather than RFPing a traditional agency, it brought on Duncan Channon as its agency of record and will work with California-based digital branding agency 1185 on branding and corporate identity.
“I’ve always been of the mindset to not use the full-scale, massive agency, but find a very good, smaller partner,” Mendenhall said.