Even before Kevin Nabipour started working at Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that allows people to build and host websites, he had admired their distinctive ads and followed the company’s story for years. “Every creative I know has built their site on Squarespace,” he says.
And after he met with the company’s chief marketing officer and learned about plans to expand their reach globally, he knew he wanted to join the team. “Throughout my career, I’ve been at the center of several brand evolutions,” Nabipour says. “I saw a role for myself at Squarespace that captured the value I can bring to the organization. And the company has such a strong reputation when it comes to core values, and that endeared me greatly.”
Read on to learn about his job as Director of Brand Strategy, Content, and Partnerships for Squarespace; get his best advice; and find out what it really takes to level up your marketing career.
Tell us about your career journey, and what led you to your job at Squarespace.
I’ve worked in advertising and marketing my whole career. Whether it’s at ad agencies, running content teams, leading strategy for big-name brands, or at global media companies, I’ve been at the center of several brand and business evolutions, some of which were motivated by technology or changing consumer opinions or behavior. Other times, they were aligned with a future-state strategy to expand the category or enter new markets. Squarespace recognized the value behind those experiences and allowed me the opportunity to explore them in this role. How could I resist?
What attracted you to work at Squarespace?
I’ve been a curious observer of the company for years. I’ve watched their distinctive ads and followed their unique business story. Squarespace is a tech unicorn headquartered in New York City that’s driven by design. Every creative I know has built their site on Squarespace. It was visible from the outside how much the brand prided itself on relationships with the creative community and protected the principles that earned that loyalty. I also saw in our CMO’s vision for the marketing team a role for me to play that captured the value I can bring to the organization. Plus, I wanted to be part of the outstanding team she was building. There is also such a strong reputation when it comes to company values that endeared me greatly.
What are you responsible for as the Director of Brand Strategy, Content, and Partnerships? How do you do it?
My main focus is to make sure Squarespace’s core values are transmitted in everything we put out into the world. I work with our wildly talented creative teams and partners to tell stories about how valuable our products are so that as many people can benefit from them as possible. We build strategies at all ends of the spectrum, including high-impact, highly visible moments through product messaging and advocacy via the campaigns we launch, the stories we tell through content, and the partners we align with.
Tell us about a recent win. How did your team accomplish it?
We’re incredibly proud of the partnership we had with Sesame Street Workshop last year. It surpassed every goal we had and was a point of personal pride for so many of us who were raised on the show. How we positioned our brand in the narrative was smart, funny, and self-aware. We were very reverential with how we used Oscar the Grouch. We’ve also launched a few new channels, putting ourselves on track to establish Squarespace as a premier content brand through what we publish on social and online.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
International expansion is a critical part of our marketing strategy. And how we deploy thoughtful partnerships, localized content, and communicate our brand authentically is critical to our success. We’re also diversifying our product offerings to help our customers work more efficiently. That includes Squarespace Scheduling to allow users to book appointments, and Unfold, an app that helps customers design eye-catching social media stories. I’m constantly amazed by how on-the-pulse we are as a brand. A lot of our work is meme-inspiring, category-defining, and conversation-starting. Having a small role in that is a real gift.
What do you like about the company culture at Squarespace?
Everyone is obsessed with doing great and lasting work. It’s a workforce striving for excellence at everything it does. It’s also an effective recruiting tool and useful criteria for how we evaluate job applicants: Do they see the world the same way? They need an open mind, willingness to experiment, and leadership. A culture that lives by that ethos can hold everyone accountable to it—without having to say a word.
How is the marketing organization at Squarespace unique?
Our planning sessions are done as a team and that gives us the opportunity to sync on forward-looking initiatives as a group, and then we build out implementation strategies and resource commitments collaboratively. Each of the leads brings their historical insights and expertise to the table. But our decision-making is done as one group, making us all accountable to the goals we set. This deepens our commitment to the mission and to one another.
What skills do you need to succeed in marketing in general?
Critical thinking, creativity, agility, and personal accountability. In every high-pressure situation, and especially in a leadership role, you want to remain clear-headed. Keep asking yourself, what am I trying to accomplish? As emergencies come up and contrary opinions surface, you want to be able to manage it all thoughtfully and dispassionately.
Creativity is essential. It’s the rocket fuel for the work we do. Planning only gets you so far. You have to respond to shifts in direction and conditions that change rapidly. An ineffectual marketer is one who delivers a plan and thinks his job is done.
How can marketing candidates stand out in an interview?
They can show they have the qualities necessary for the role, but also thread their experiences into a single and compelling story centered on the unique value they bring to the organization. People don’t really want tacticians. They want to invest in people with a unique way of looking at a problem, someone humble enough to learn, and confident enough to speak with a unique point of view. You have to earn your place starting from the interview onward. So lay the groundwork early that if a company invests in you, they’ll get a big return on their investment. That will help your chances of getting hired.