WeTransfer transcends file sharing with campaign championing creativity

You might not know WeTransfer past the files shared by co-workers and clients, but a new campaign from the company hopes that you not only get to know more of what it does for the creative community but also urges you to get out and experience life past the digital realm.

A campaign from the company ‘Please Leave,’ highlights a new reality that digital technologies have often become a distraction from productivity, and the role that WeTransfer has in helping people reclaim their time with simple and intuitive tools.

It might seem counterintuitive for a tech company to tell people to step away from technology and get out and do essentially anything else, but Damian Bradfield, chief marketing officer and president of WeTransfer, told The Drum that the change came about after talking with 10,000 of the platform’s users and hearing how they found inspiration.

“We did a report last year called The Ideas Report. We’ve got a very big user base (approaching 60 million a month, according to Bradfield), and we basically went out and asked them where they got their ideas from and where they found their inspiration, and a massive chunk of the users we interviewed were basically saying that their inspiration doesn’t come from the internet. It comes from all the time and the places and the things that they do around the internet,” Bradfield stated.

He added that the WeTransfer audience is made up of some 74% creative people, so if they are stating that inspiration comes from being elsewhere, then the company should encourage them to do so, then “come back and use our tools to make some stuff, and make sure you take a break and get back out there again.”

The campaign reflects WeTransfer’s new diverse product offerings – after purchasing FiftyThree and its popular creative apps Paper and Paste last year – that collectively remove friction from every stage of the creative process, from sparking ideas, capturing content, developing and editing to delivery.

Partnering with New York-based independent media agency, Noble People, WeTransfer is running an original video, made in collaboration with Stink Studios and featuring writer Roxane Gay, on Hulu and other media channels. Additionally, WeTransfer is giving back time by working with content partners to run fewer and shorter ads on top NPR shows, as well as ad-free listening/watching on Pandora and connected TVs, among other media activations.

Supporting creatives at the core

Bradfield said that supporting creatives has been a core principle of the company since its founding in 2009 in Amsterdam, and this campaign is a natural extension of that.

“A lot of the stuff that’s in support of this campaign are the things we’ve been doing since we started the company… 10 years ago, we were already giving away a big chunk (of money)…to support the arts, creativity and causes that we believed in. As a company we never had a sign-up, we didn’t collect very much data. So, from the get-go, our philosophy as a business has been to keep people in their flow. A big part of what we’ve done over the years is to try to reinforce what creative flow feels like…and represent the people,” he said.

As part of its commitment to the creative community, WeTransfer has donated 30% of its full-page advertising inventory since inception to artists, freelancers, and other creatives to elevate underrepresented voices. The company recently surprised six students from around the world with trips to new cities to energize creative inspiration.

With the brand campaign, Bradfield is hoping people discover not only all that people can do with WeTransfer beyond file sharing, but also how the company is connecting with creatives through its other outlets, including its popular WePresent storytelling platform, which features stories with Bjork, FKA Twigs, Giles Peterson, Gay, Madame Gandhi and others.

“That platform has got nearly three million readers every month, exploring long-form content and discovering stories that we see as a sort of inspiration point for WeTransfer,” he said.

With tools like Paper, Paste and Collect, WeTransfer is trying to embed itself more in the creative workflow. A line in the new campaign, “Tools to move ideas,” helps cement that ambition.

“Our goal is not to keep people on site as long as we can, actually our goal is to try to just help them through their flow. Our ambition is not to close the loop, or to try and upsell people…but it’s to try to develop tools that get the best out of people, and then inspire them to find stories or go out and do something else,” Bradfield said.

“I think a lot of companies in tech are trying to close the loop and capture your attention. We almost deliberately don’t do that. The fact that we only have one thing on the site at any one time for 40 seconds rather than being populated with banner ads is a clear indication that we desperately don’t want to do what everyone else is doing in tech.”

Bradfield went on to say that a lot of tech companies have ignored trust and authenticity, and very few have done enough to develop trust among their user bases. He believes WeTransfer has done the heavy lifting and made financial and growth sacrifices over the decade, and has the high Net Promoter Score to prove it.

“What I would love is that people would dive in a little bit deeper into what WeTransfer stands for and what it does, and see all the work we’re doing and all the work we’ve done for the last 10 years. Because I think we’re very different from a lot of other companies.”

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