How Smartsheet is changing the 'humans vs. technology' conversation

The company launched a campaign with Prosek Partners, which it hired this summer.

Smartsheet went public last April. (Image via Smartsheet's Facebook account).
Smartsheet went public last April. (Image via Smartsheet's Facebook account).

BELLEVUE, WA: Workflow automation company Smartsheet is positioning itself as a company that can "activate human achievement" in a campaign supported by PR AOR Prosek Partners. 

CMO Anna Griffin noted anxiety about technology in society, saying the conversation "needs to change."

"It isn’t computers vs. people; it’s people with computers," she said.

Griffin rejected the notion that "everyone should be an engineer and code will be the universal language."

"What the future of business and work depends on is humans, that ability to be creative, to innovate and to collaborate," she said.

Smartsheet has prioritized establishing itself as a thought leader. The company has created an alliance of academics, business leaders and technologists that is "focused on research and action on how to close the gap between people and technology."

"Software and hardware spend is the highest it’s ever been, but human productivity is stagnant," Griffin said. "Everything we’re solving for is not creating more effectiveness with people."

Griffin said Smartsheet is educating the public on its emerging category: "collaboration workplace management," where competitors include Atlassian, Microsoft and Google.

The second half of the campaign will showcase case studies to the media that demonstrate how Smartsheet’s project management technology can help workers, Griffin explained. By automating mundane tasks, staffers can "contribute in a greater way" to their organizations, she said.

Smartsheet has timed the campaign to follow its April 2018 IPO, Griffin said. As of Thursday morning, shares of Smartsheet were more than double the price from the market close on their first day of trading, and peaked at a high of $55.79 this summer. 

Smartsheet reported $71.5 million in revenue, up 53% year-over-year, in results for its fiscal Q3 2020, which ended on October 31. It also posted a GAAP net loss of $28.9 million, up from $15.6 million a year earlier. 

The company hired Prosek at the end of July. The agency was a "very different candidate" from agencies traditionally in the technology space, so Smartsheet invited it to "see how [it] might creatively think about a problem differently," Griffin said. 

Smartsheet’s head of communications is Chris Blessington, who serves as VP of corporate marketing and communications and oversees a team of a half-dozen. Marketing has a headcount of 60. 

This story was updated on December 5 to correct the launch date of the campaign and Smartsheet's competitors. 

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