Founded in 2015, Minnesota-based Branch partners with companies to bring faster payment options and financial wellness to their workers.
I spoke with Kayla Dostal, User Behavior Engagement Manager at Branch, to learn how her team takes advantage of the Braze platform's customer engagement, cross-channel messaging, and testing capabilities. Dostal focused on scaling personalization to a growing number of use cases, testing customer sentiment about new product features before a full launch, and executing on marketing automation that's truly real time, all while saving hours of manual labor.
Dostal shared why she and her company chose Braze, how they determine there's a need for new customer engagement campaigns, her advice for effectively collaborating on customer engagement initiatives across departments, and how implementing Braze has changed how their business operates.*
What made you decide to try out our customer engagement capabilities?
We wanted to add more personalization and real-time response in our customer engagement. Since I'd easily implemented Braze in the past, I had an affinity towards Braze. I love the community aspect, and the customer support is huge. I love the new product features that are always being added and the work you do with your clients. So that made Braze a pretty obvious choice for me.
I shared the value that lifecycle automation customer engagement platforms could bring with our stakeholders and leaders, explaining why we needed a tool like Braze. After seeing the platform’s capabilities, our teams agreed that it could amplify our personalization efforts and open up new opportunities.
Who from your company was involved in the process of approving moving forward with Braze?
There was a pretty heavy involvement from our entire C-suite, our CEO, CTO, our VP of Product, and our VP of Data Science, and then myself. They’re incredibly passionate about the end-user so it was important to find a tool that they found value in too.
What advice do you have for effective customer engagement collaboration with other teams?
One of the biggest things is documentation. Not everybody has access to Braze or understands the product, so I’ve built a ton of diagrams that show how people go through flows and what data points are used to trigger these flows and segments. When engineers need to add onto the product, having these elements very clearly outlined makes it easy to understand how changes might affect the different flows people are going through. I also have really strict documentation on how things are set up in case anyone needs to work on things besides me.
To make sure everybody's on the same page, we have a lot of meetings—especially for more complicated builds. We get the engineers and everybody on the call and talk through it. Then we use Jira across the company, so we have a very strict process of which tickets get assigned to which teams when it comes to something like building a new Braze Canvas.
Can you walk us through some of the ways your team uses Braze?
A big focus is on making sure our customers are getting through the funnels correctly. We have multiple methods for onboarding, so all of those need to be tracked and put into Braze so that when users fall out of our funnels, we're engaging them with the right messaging. Plus, as our engineering team and product teams add new features, that requires operational messaging.
Our engineers are involved in Braze on an almost weekly basis because we're constantly innovating and adapting and changing our product. When we make those changes, we need to make sure we're auditing our Canvases to ensure messages are still relevant for our users. The data science team also uses Braze to test and optimize messaging to improve the user experience.
Can you tell us about your process for coming up with and running campaigns?
Conceptualizing campaigns or understanding where we have a user experience gap is something that can come from almost anywhere in our organization. Our company is big on giving everyone a voice to speak up and put ideas out there. There are some teams that are more focused on activation, so they might notice there are gaps in activation for certain use cases and then we'll come up with an idea together about how we can close the gap.
On the data science team, we're constantly analyzing user funnels and their behavior and where we can improve.
Other ideas come from the product team as well. As they add new product features or see that we're not getting the adoption of certain features that we want, they'll come to me and we'll come up with a plan of how we can improve adoption using Braze.
What has been the impact of using Braze?
Braze has allowed us to create more customized campaigns and messages to better engage with users and test new product features.
We can quickly gage customer sentiment, which has been huge. It’s allowed us to segment and personalize and optimize onboarding workers.
Braze has helped us scale our messaging abilities and the ability to personalize the customer experience based on their workplace and how they’re using Branch. We have these very personalized engaging messages throughout the entirety of the person's lifecycle.
Hundreds of innovative small and growing companies are using Braze to disrupt their categories and achieve success within their industries. See for yourself why Braze is the secret weapon startups turn to to gain a competitive advantage, engage thoughtfully with their users, and ultimately drive business outcomes like user growth, conversions, revenue, retention, and more.
*This conversion has been edited for length and clarity.
Sunny Manivannan is the VP and GM of Global SMB at Braze, and thoroughly enjoys being a Boston sports fan in New York City. Previously, Sunny served in various marketing and general management roles at Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP), and was formerly a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and an aerospace engineer at General Electric.