I'm Elizabeth

My Success at HighKey Snacks

I'm tremendously proud of what I achieved at HighKey, a start-up in the better-for-you food space. I walked into a very big challenge to quickly whip the creative pipeline into shape.

"Elizabeth came into our startup during a period of rapid growth. She helped us understand inefficiencies in our creative process and identified vendors to deliver assets at the same quality for a fraction of the cost. She also standardized processes to save us time and money. She asks hard questions, isn't afraid to poke holes in an idea, and isn't intimidated by a challenge. She's worked with big budgets and small budgets and still been able to deliver gorgeous, kickass work."

-Morgan Shepard, Director of Brand Communications, HighKey Snacks

Fun fact: HighKey has the #1 cookie on Amazon

 

I'm very proud of what I accomplished at HighKey, a startup in the better-for-you food space. I walked into a very big challenge to quickly whip the creative pipeline into shape, laying a foundation for a future-proof creative process that could be scaled while withstanding extremely fast growth. I stress-tested these processes, proved their monetary value and made the creative team a lot more productive.

 

Unlocking Potential

 

Every day I went to work at HighKey felt like I'd won the Lottery. I was so fortunate getting to have a hand in building something incredible from the ground up. It didn't feel like a job, it felt like a mission. "Unlock Potential" was the value statement and I took that very seriously every single day.

 

I joined this direct-to-consumer CPG brand in Q4 2019, just before Thanksgiving. My first creative project was a series of digital ads for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Soon after, I was managing the production pipeline for thousands of pieces of collateral to support the fast-paced, ambitious brand.

I did...

Asset Production

Creative Direction

Ideation

Needs Assessment

Operational Process

Strategy

Tactical Process

In my first 30 days, I saved the business $40k in overcharging from agencies and vendors

Move fast and break things

 

With a "move fast and break things" mentality, HighKey launches a new product, on average, every 10 days. They do this through 3 channels:

  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • Retail

When I joined, there was a team of just 25 people supporting the business and a culture of "if it's meant to be, it's up to me" so it was very common for everyone to not only do their role, but have a hand in any area where they're able to add value. And I was no exception.

With my passion for finding problems and designing processes to fix them, I...

  • Discovered and corrected a hemorrhage of cash in over-charging from vendors.
  • Onboarded new vendors, negotiating new contracts and rates.
  • Designed a cross-departmental tool to manage stakeholders and accounts payable with ease.
  • Identified areas where the business was taking an operational approach and moved those things into a tactical pipeline which meant launch assets were ready weeks before a launch rather than days (as it was when I started).
  • Drafted a plan to reorganize the creative department to streamline efficiencies, pinpoint areas for development and how to best utilize existing talent without hiring new bodies. I did this by first conducting listening exercises with department heads to learn about their pain points and suggested steps we could take to correct issues. Many of these steps I was able to implement myself.

Using footage we already had, I edited together the most revenue-generating digital ad the company had ever run (cereal spoons video)

In terms of creative production, I...

  • Produced on-pack photography
  • Produced off-pack (lifestyle) photography
  • Produced the capture of live action footage
  • Made the most revenue-generating digital ad the company had ever run (cereal spoons video)
  • Managed the process of editing footage into animations and videos for digital ads, Amazon listing content, social media content and content to be used on retailer sites (like Target.com).
  • Set the tone for lifestyle photography look and feel
  • Designed supplements to the brand bible document especially for vendors to ensure uniform results.
  • Developed the video brand and standards.
  • Developed the tone of voice for copywriting.
  • Wrote copy from product descriptions to ingredient information right down to the 100% guarantee.
  • Supported the launch of the new site, making recommendations for UX, gamification features and overall look and feel
  • Utilized relationships I have with vendors to innovate new ways to deliver, for pennies on the dollar, what agencies were charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for.

My Biggest Learning: Ugly is Better

 

Coming from a background heavy in producing video for corporates and TV, I was pretty hooked on making everything I touched as polished as possible. HighKey has a solid direct-response strategy and I quickly learned that when getting people to click-to-buy, ugly can be better.

 

By ugly, I mean creating content that looks user-generated or perhaps odd in some way to arrest attention. The goal here is to get the scrolling audience to stop. But not just stop. Watch, engage and BUY.

 

Brand Accessibility

 

I believe that creative assets need to drive results, not just be attractive. And the biggest barrier to this success is poor design which forgets, not just the audience, but the individual person who's viewing this collateral. And not just the person but the environment they may be in when they're exposed to a brand's products, digital ads or out-of-home marketing. What was their journey and what do we want them to do next?

 

So with this interest in UX, diversity and inclusion, I identified accessibility issues embedded in the brand which would make it inaccessible to our core demographic.

 

One of my great pet peeves in visual brand is excessive use of BLOCK CAPS. So with the HighKey digit al marketing team, I conducted A/B testing on Facebook ads to explore a hypothesis that this was a barrier to reaching our audience in a meaningful way. As it turned out, we experienced up to 1200% uptick in audiences watching 100% of the sentence case version videos right to the very end. For the ALL CAPS versions, viewers were falling away after the first 3 seconds. We also experienced an increase in sales conversions (600%) on sentence case versions.

 

A passion for consumers

 

In my time at HighKey, I discovered a passion for the direct-to-consumer space and it was an honor to be present at the ground-level of the next big food brand.

A taste of the photography I produced

Some of the below assets I oversaw as art director and some I shot myself in my home studio

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