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Customer Stories

Immortalizing the Heroic Journeys of Zscaler Customer Advocates


Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

It’s our Zscaler IT Heroes—a series of colorful illustrated stories celebrating our customers as the “heroes” of their organizations’ digital transformation. An initiative of our Customer Advocacy program, these comic strip-style illustrations tell a story about each customer’s zero trust security journey in just three frames. Shared via Zscaler’s social media channels, each comic links to its respective case study that captures the organization’s evolution to the cloud, powered by Zscaler.

Written case studies are a standard element of many marketing programs, but I saw an opportunity to try something new by creating a uniquely rewarding experience for our customers.

We wanted to breathe life into our existing case studies with a fun and unique way to honor our customers, and offer their peers potential solutions, while showcasing their successes. These comics bring the customers’ voices to life, giving them the much deserved spotlight and demonstrating one of our core company values: customer obsession.

In addition to the thrill of seeing their illustrative narratives spread like wildfire across social media, each customer receives a digital file of their comic strip and physical framed version for their desks. This reinvents the traditional lucite desk award that people typically receive with a more meaningful recognition. Who could resist being the star in their own comic? Talk about a great conversation starter with your cube mate! Even better, recipients have told me that their kids are beyond impressed with the award—and we all know kids are the biggest critics of all.

"To make customer advocacy as effective as possible, we need a multi-pronged approach, from detailed success stories and engaging videos, to eye-catching creative campaigns like Zscaler’s IT Heroes series,” my manager Pavel Radda, VP, Global Communications, shared with me. “These vividly illustrated stories weave together the threads of imagination and zero trust innovation, capturing the essence of each customers’ secure digital transformation journey." 

A Journey Well Traveled 

Like many new ideas, the IT Heroes journey had many stops and starts from inception to finished product. It was such a unique concept, I had to make sure everyone was inspired enough by the vision to take a leap of faith and believe it would succeed. I thought through the plan and discussed it with various internal stakeholders to gauge their reaction– a litmus test, if you will. I also connected with our customer champions to get their perspectives on the award. Customers not only loved the comic strip idea, many shared that they would be honored to be recognized in this way. 

Taking the time to involve the right people and bring in the right subject matter experts who made tweaks along the way made the final product so much better. It changed the trajectory and outcome entirely. By partnering with my brilliant peers at Zscaler, we created something really special. 

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Once the initial IT Heroes program launched, the team and I were pleasantly surprised by the response. 

“The IT Hero comics are some of the most creative pieces of social content we produce, easily in the top three for total engagement over the past six months,” said Jeff Anaya, Sr. Social Media Manager, Zscaler. “It's great, it's interesting, and it works.”

“Such an awesome project! I actually had someone randomly reach out on LinkedIn (before I shared it) saying how cool it is,” said Kristi Myllenbeck, Copywriter, Zscaler.

Customers who were featured in the IT Heroes series not only felt the love, but shared it back: 

  • “Thanks for this. We are indeed honored to have been selected as a recipient of this new award and to be recognised as a leading customer advocate.” John Armenakas, Director, Partner Development & Success, Colt Technology Services 
  • It has been great to work with you and the team and it is an honor to receive the award.” – Peeyush Patel, CISO, Careem
  • “What a nice surprise! I have seen the post and the attention it already got. Thanks again.” – Armin Auth, Head of Enterprise Architecture, Hydro

From Comic Strip to Comic Series 

One year and 12 comics later, the team is taking it up a notch by launching the new “Z Cloud Collective,” a digital comic book that encompasses all the customer IT Heroes triumphs to date, with many more to come. This project is the first of its kind on, and I hope it opens the door for many more interactive elements across the web in the future.  

Calling All IT Heroes

We are looking forward to recognizing so many more customer advocates in the future. If you've harnessed the power of the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform to accelerate your organization’s zero trust journey, or you know someone else who has, submit your nomination today!

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