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Zoom taps brand partnerships to give growth, new products a boost

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For the last year, Zoom has been in growth mode, leveraging brand partnerships to reach international audiences across places like Japan, Germany and France, and make new shoppers aware of new products. 

“We want to make sure that we have an element of our marketing funnel at the top that is going to be widely recognizable,” said Janine Pelosi, CMO at Zoom. “We’ll have a wide interest from many consumers no matter where they are around the globe.”

Earlier this year, Zoom launched a global campaign to convince users, new, old and across the globe, of its capabilities beyond video conferencing, highlighting products such as intelligent conversational artificial intelligence and chatbot solution Zoom virtual agent, Zoom team chats and more.

In September, Zoom partnered with Oracle Red Bull Racing for an activation around Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, Netherlands, in hopes of tapping into that fan base. (Financial agreements for this partnership were not disclosed.) The company also partnered with fashion brand Good American for Zoom Events and hybrid/remote casting for its upcoming 2023 spring campaign.

It’s not like Zoom hasn’t run international campaigns in the past. But this recent push is part of the communication company’s global expansion, building a customer base expanding from here in North America to Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia. 

“[It’s about] making sure that we’re staying in front of and on top of those changes in the environment and what our [customers] are interested in,” Pelosi said. 

It’s unclear how much Zoom spends on these efforts, as Pelosi did not disclose specifics. So far this year, Zoom has shelled out more than $1.3 million on advertising, according to Kantar. That figure is significantly higher than last year’s spend, which Kantar reported to be just over $630,000. (Those numbers do not include social media spend as Kantar does not track those figures.)

Coming out of the pandemic, Zoom was in a position where it needed a way to stay relevant, especially as people ventured back outdoors and competitors challenged Zoom’s industry dominance. By leveraging a brand partnership, that relevance is easier to maintain, said Andrew Fox, svp of partnerships, account management, research and planning at media and entertainment company QYou Media.

“If audience is built in and organically you’re able to spread that word and that messaging based upon your fans, it’s a no brainer,” Fox said. The Formula 1 partnership, for example, makes it possible for Zoom to tap into that brand’s audience without having to spend the dollars to acquire that audience themselves, he said — especially as brands are looking for more cost-effective marketing strategies as talk of possible economic downturn continues. 

As technology companies like Zoom look to go mainstream, brand partnerships with lifestyle brands is a trend that’s expected to continue, according to Steve Rutherford, managing director of client services and strategy at marketing agency CMD.

“Beyond the typical CPG and financial services brands for example, technology companies — both established and start-up — are looking to gain access to high-profile sponsorship opportunities that provide a level of credibility and/or mass market appeal,” Rutherford said in an emailed comment. 

Next year, Pelosi said Zoom has plans to continue maintaining top of mind awareness with its customer base. “Making sure that as we evolve and we bring new products to market, we’re doing so because we think that they’re bringing incredible value to our customers,” she said.

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