In 1976, twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford opened a tiny makeup shop in San Francisco. Their goal was to make just $33 per day to break even, and it worked. Today, Benefit Cosmetics is a beloved beauty brand with products in over 55 countries and more than 3,000 BrowBar Beauty Lounges, which hold the Guinness World Record for “most eyebrow waxes in eight hours by a team.” The LVMH-owned company is known for packaging and marketing that’s full of personality. Their tagline sums it up: “laughter is the best cosmetic.”
Jessie Geisen, Brand Marketing Manager for Benefit’s US marketing team, helps the creatives behind the delightful brand stay productive. The US creative team includes designers, copywriters, and video and photography specialists, working on up to 75 projects at any time. Jessie manages their workloads, triages 50-60 requests from other teams each month, and schedules campaign timelines. From product releases to emails to paid media to influencer marketing for the US market, Jessie keeps it organized and meets with each creative weekly to review their tasks.
The US team had been using a work management tool, but it was missing a few key features. There was no ability to communicate and ask questions on the platform, so when creatives got an assignment with missing information, they needed to track it down in chat or email. Meanwhile, Jessie needed to build campaign timelines and calculate workload, but the tool didn’t support that, so she needed to export data to a spreadsheet and use manual formulas. This system was holding the team back:
The Anatomy of Work Index shows that this type of “work about work” takes up over 60% of a US knowledge worker’s time. Jessie initiated a search for a new work management platform to speed up creative execution and make collaboration more efficient for the US-based team.
“Things were slipping through the cracks because we had side conversations on chat and email, rather than all in one place. I thought, ‘I need to make this easier on everyone—and myself.”
— Jessie Geisen, Brand Marketing Manager, US
The team looked for a platform that could track all types of projects and allow them to ask questions in the tool itself. Jessie also needed to manage inbound requests from other teams, plan campaign timelines faster, and do team resource planning.
Some team members had used Asana before, and as they evaluated it against other options, they found that it was the most visual and easy to use. Different projects grouped by colors, such as purple for brand initiatives, make it easier to see all work in flight. “Asana was the best fit for us because it’s user friendly,” says Jessie. “The colors help me understand what’s happening at a glance without being overwhelmed by so much information.”
They were also attracted to Asana’s flexible views, its Workload functionality, and the ability to add comments and attachments to tasks. “Asana comments were really important for us. If a designer is confused about an assignment or doesn’t have an asset they need, they could leave a comment on the task instead of going off and messaging another team separately,” says Jessie.
Benefit’s creatives were excited to get on Asana and solve the challenges they were experiencing. They worked with an Asana Customer Success Manager (CSM) to set up workflows that matched how the US team operated. Jessie then walked the team through a presentation and training, based on implementation best practices provided by their CSM, to show them how to use Asana for their roles.
To drive adoption, Jessie constantly championed Asana and was the team’s go-to for questions. She iterated on production processes over time and sent out weekly emails with Asana-related updates, like reminders and feature enhancements from their CSM. Two months in, the team and the VP of marketing were bought in and knew how to use Asana to solve their pain points.
Today, the US marketing team uses Asana to manage all projects and requests for faster execution.
Triaging creative requests via Forms
The creative team now receives requests for work through an Asana Form, averaging 78 form submissions per month. This contributes to an estimated time savings of nearly six work weeks per year by eliminating back-and-forth messages. Requests go into an “Incoming Creative Requests” Asana project, which serves as an inbox that Jessie triages. It has sections for "new requests", "approved requests,” and "archived requests.”
Each submission shows up as a task, with custom fields that populate with the information their colleagues enter into the form fields. When a request is approved, Jessie creates subtasks for each execution step and assigns them to the appropriate content or design professional. All feedback and communication happens in comments on the parent task so that collaborators can see full context and the latest decisions.
Jessie updates the Asana form to iterate on the team’s process. It makes sure that requesters give the creatives all the information they need up front so they can get started on work right away. One field asks the requester to list any “collaborators” for the project—people who may want to stay in the loop. Jessie then adds these people to the Asana task so they can receive notifications and participate in reviews.
Jessie uses Workload to automatically calculate team bandwidth and visualize it on a weekly timeline. She created a Portfolio for each team to hold their projects and tasks, such as a design team portfolio, and she can click on the Workload view to see each designer’s tasks. Jessie shares it with creatives each Monday to discuss what’s coming up for the week and make adjustments. This visual snapshot wasn’t possible when Jessie used spreadsheets. Now, she sees automatic updates whenever due dates or responsibilities shift in Asana.
Managing work this way in Asana helps Benefit’s creative team make a business case for hiring more resources, like freelance designers or copywriters, because they can easily compare their workload with the number of requests they’ve been receiving.
“I’m a visual learner, so I use Portfolios and Workload often. I can see a weekly timeline that shows exactly which tasks are due on a certain day. Visibility into the creative team’s bandwidth is the biggest change from our previous system.”
Planning dates for campaigns
To plan the timeline for a new campaign in the US, Jessie simply uses an Asana project template with key milestones. She enters the launch date, and Asana automatically fills in the due dates for each task. Then she adds any other tasks unique to that campaign. “It populates dates in five seconds, compared to at least an hour with spreadsheets,” Jessie says.
The creative team also uses Calendar view to see when multiple campaigns are happening, letting them spot gaps and proactively plan for overlaps. Tasks use custom fields to designate different types of work with their own color, like “content,” “paid media,” and “influencer send.” This lets the team filter and look at specific work categories—for example, only the influencer marketing timeline.
Centralizing communication and collaboration
The US marketing team’s total estimated time savings from using Asana is 52 work days, or 10 work weeks, per year. These new efficiencies improve designer morale, help the team deliver on every initiative they start (rather than letting some slip through the cracks), and enables the team to handle more ambitious and complex projects—such as a complicated paid media campaign for POWmade, a new brow product launch.
Centralizing communication on Asana tasks is a big contributor to these time savings, in addition to forms. The team shares over 600 comments per month, which reduces context switching between emails, chat, and other platforms.
“Our VP is involved in all of our projects and provides feedback in Asana. She loves the new visibility into what the team is working on.”
“Our team is able to complete creative projects a lot more quickly because they get the information they need faster,” says Jessie. “That’s a big gain for everyone. There’s less frustration and outside communication, which adds up and slows down the work day.”
More delightful campaigns are in store as Benefit’s US marketing team looks forward to a year of exciting product launches. Their creative team generated fresh ideas to activate consumers around new products, and they plan to manage these initiatives and events in Asana. As Jessie continues to streamline the creative process, she hopes to bring more teams she collaborates with onto Asana, like Benefit’s social media team. The future’s looking beautiful for a company that believes laughter is the best cosmetic—and uses Asana to bring this message to their US fans.
“Things don’t get lost, even with so many projects going on at once. Asana helps me see what’s coming up without checking everything manually. It’s a big win for us, especially with complex timelines like paid media campaigns.”
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, ”We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.“ And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.