Natalie: Tell us about Mish Guru and how it works
Connor: Mish Guru is all about helping our clients tell better Stories.
We are a software as a service company that offers brands and influencers a platform to create, manage and understand their Storytelling, all from a single dashboard. We initially focused on Snapchat but have recently released a beta product for Instagram Stories which we are really excited about. It’s expanded the premise to be all about exploring the world of vertical Storytelling, rather than a specific channel, and how we can create, innovate, and learn around that. So that’s woven a very cool landscape as we continue to grow both our team and our product.
Our clients can upload and schedule Stories from our platform, receive and repost content from their followers, and track the analytics relating to their Stories.We work with an amazing global client base of brands, influencers and agencies with strong footholds in the Media landscape and Higher Education.
We endeavour to be a thought leader in our product field, but also in creating a good organisation for our people. We like to think the magic happens in the sweet spot where those things meet.
Natalie: Where did the inspiration for Mish Guru come from?
Connor: Mish was born from a special blend of timing, opportunity, and honestly, pure luck.
About four years ago, social media users were hungry for a real, and less filtered, way to share what was happening in their world. People wanted real-time photo and video Storytelling, directly from their pocket. Snapchat answered the calling and led this movement with a raw, authentic, camera-first platform, native to mobile.
The founders of Mish watched these trends emerging, and realised that Brands and other creators needed tools to help them tell their Stories in the same way to really resonate with this audience. So, after a large amount of learning, late nights, and caffeine, Mish Guru was born.
Natalie: How does Mish Guru differentiate itself from other Snapchat management platforms?
Connor: Well, that’s an interesting question because everyone in this space is actually bringing something different to the table. Mish Guru differentiates itself by being the premium product, and we are also all about the human element of our offering. You may think that’s a funny thing for a software company to say. But, at its most fundamental level, good Storytelling is all about human connection anyway. Mish works because we love Storytelling, and we are passionate about helping brands and influencers succeed in that space. We also love a good pun - and definitely a few gifs.
Our software is the complete stack, and that is unique in itself. It includes uploading and scheduling tools, influencer management, received content capture / reposting, linking, and tracking/analytics. Those features alone set us apart from the pack, but on top of having a full service tool, we add in some very comprehensive account management / customer success. Our Storytelling experts are ready to help 24/7, with a sub-2 minute response time on all questions. We help our clients reach their social media and business goals with productised learnings from ~3 billion data points.
We essentially provide a one stop shop for Storytelling success on Snapchat - and now, Instagram. They are experts in this stuff, they’re always beyond keen to help, and they love a bit of good chat. There is an entire demographic that lives within vertical Storytelling channels that brands and influencers have found difficult to reach. With our expertise and resource, we make it our job to understand the goals of a client and help drive their Storytelling and business success through our platform. It ultimately gives them a risk-free way to engage their audience on a new channel and actually be successful. So, that’s how we roll, and we think our clients have enjoyed that.
Natalie: What has been Mish Guru’s most successful case study?
Connor: This is tough because there are so many best-in-breed examples from different industries who have used our tool in incredibly innovative ways.
In saying that, there are a few Stories that stand out which we’ve been super proud to facilitate and that have had tangible results that make you sit back and realise the power of these channels to drive change.
- McDonald’s Snaplications revolutionised the way recruitment was done among 13-24 year olds,
- Anna Russett’s Muslim Ban Campaign gave young women a voice in a climate of political angst that they may not have had otherwise, and
- Beloit College changed how it interacted with their students with a customised #SnapAdmit experience for students who got accepted into the school.
All of these had numbers which blew KPIs out of the water, drove a cultural shift in perspective, and used the platform in ways we were really excited about.
Natalie: What are the biggest challenges in the industry you’ve had to overcome?
Connor: As a tech company there are always challenges because we work in a fast-evolving industry. There’s definitely no resting on your laurels!
When we first created our platform, vertical Storytelling was so new that we were literally sitting down with our new clients and showing them how to download Snapchat. Needless to say our the pitch for our dashboard tool was falling on flat ears. Instead of waiting for the market to be ready for the tools, we opted to go hands on in educating the marketing on how Storytelling could be used. We probably looked more like a marketing agency for our first 12 - 18 months!
Eventually, brands and influencers realised that they needed to be on Snapchat so they expanded internal teams and used Mish Guru to help them deliver amazing content and report on their return on investment.
Switching business models was definitely a challenge but having that experience behind us means that we have the knowledge to work with our clients to deliver amazing campaigns but we now do it as part of the pro tier of our subscription model.
Natalie: How have you found being a start-up in New Zealand trying to take your company global?
Connor: I think as New Zealanders, we have an attitude of wanting to punch above our weight - and somehow our small island at the bottom of the world has produced some incredible innovators for us to follow. We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from them, seeing how it’s done - artists, tech companies, entrepreneurs, and sports people alike. The fundamentals don’t change: knowing what you bring to the table, having a clear vision of where you want to go, and always keeping a sense of humour so you enjoy the ride and don’t take yourself too seriously along the way.
Even with the amazing footsteps to follow, expanding globally is by no means an easy feat. One of the biggest challenges for Mish has been maintaining our unique Mish culture while simultaneously adapting our business and approach to new international cultures and environments.
Recruiting locally and having our people spread across three different continents means that some Mish team members have never met face to face after working closely together for over year! We have to put an immense amount of energy into keeping our goals, culture and values front of mind for the entire team and building policies around everyone being constantly connected virtually (shoutout to our favourite Slackbots @officevibe and @donut-bot).
Natalie: What’s next for Mish Guru?
Connor: We are growing quickly and now have small offices in Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, New York and Berlin. In the immediate future we are focussed on launching the Instagram product into the wild, growing like crazy, a new round of fundraising, and continuing to help the best in the business lead the way in vertical Storytelling.