How Canva Creates Brand Advocates and Raving Fans

How @canva creates brand awareness and raving fans. via @scalablesocialBrand advocates. Everybody wants them. They give you referrals, they advertise for you for free. They stand up for you when you’re under fire. How does a company attain and retain brand advocates? Sometimes the best way to figure it out is to follow the example of a successful company.

We’ve been on Canva since the days when you needed an invitation. We’ve written about them extensively online and even in print. Yes, I said, “them,” without even meaning to because though Canva is a tool, there are very real people behind it, and it is obvious at every turn. And this, my friends, is how they build raving fans who becoming walking billboards for their amazing service.

Brand advocates share your content, they tell other people about you – and you don’t have to pay them a cent. Which is why all businesses need to do everything they can to create and delight your own. Here’s how Canva does it:

With a Valuable Tool

Canva lets us create amazing designs even though we are not designers – for free. Whenever possible, I like to use their paid images ($1/each) just to give them a little love, but you don’t have to spend a cent to create images with text that get shared all over. I’ve always included an image with our blog posts, and for a long time now, it’s been a pinnable image with text, but I am no designer. A blank image, or even one with just a photo, does not inspire me. Give me a template with some already added text and images and I can mix and match to make something great.

I’ve also learned to include my URL at the bottom of every image. You never know where it’ll end up. I use the same image on Instagram most of the time, so I make sure the important text is going to be in a square that allows for easy cropping in Instagram.

We use Canva as a team, too. Our presentations and slide shows are designed on Canva. It makes for very easy collaboration. You don’t have to email files back and forth and risk working on two different versions. Just send a link and click the “allow anyone with this link to edit” to allow your team mates to view and modify your design. Nice!

Aside from the product itself, Canva is a standout company because of its people – and this is really why I am a raving fan!

With Effective Social Media

When I wrote my first Canva article, I tweeted to the folks at Canva to let them know. Not only did they respond – they gave us extra invitations to share with our readers. So smart! Not only did that make for more signups for them, but they did me a favor, giving me more reasons to tell people to visit my blog. And, they made me look good. Who doesn’t love that?

The other day I sent them a question on Twitter. Here’s the reply I got:  “Hmm I don’t *think* there was. You can use columns in your design to make one. I’ll double check. :)” Now that’s personality. People are attracted to people, not sterile, faceless companies. Be real and some people are going to love you. 

With Outstanding Customer Service

When I have a question, I’ll either send an email or I tweet them. I always get a swift reply and it’s always written as if it came from a real person, which you know, it usually is, but you can’t always tell!!! Hazel is a gem.

Because of my article, Zack Kitschke emailed me and invited me to a Skype call. We had a great talk about what I liked about Canva and what I’d like to see added in the future. He made me feel like I really mattered. Plus, he has a nice accent.

With Peg Fitzpatrick

Canva’s management team are a bunch of smarties. So, naturally when they wanted a brand evangelist and social media superstar, they sought out the dynamic duo of Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. You cannot throw a rock without hitting something one of them is involved in these days. When do they sleep?!?! Aside from their tireless work – writing, doing interviews, hangouts, webinars, etc., you will not meet a nicer couple of people.

Wait, well, I haven’t actually met them. I feel like I’ve met Peg and I once tweeted with Guy about his car, but I will get to meet them both next month at HubSpot’s Inbound conference in Boston. I won’t know a lot of people there, but I know that just being in the building with Peg’s super-sunny personality is going to make the entire experience a good one. Can. Not. Wait.

With SwagCheck out this interaction on Instagram - How very human!

Peg was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions for the print article I wrote for Canva. When we were done, she sent me a great t-shirt, which makes up part of my work wardrobe more often than I should admit. I’ve put pictures of it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter because I’m proud to be an advocate for a fantastic company made up of truly likable people.

You may not be able to hire Guy and Peg, or even send out a lot of t-shirts, but you can certainly use the other techniques and be your own Peg! People love positive. What brands do you advocate for? How did you fall in love with them? Please tell us about it below.


Oh, by the way, this blog post is part of the Word Carnival. Each month, a bunch of us small business owners get together and blog about a timely business topic. Everybody and their mom claims to have the magic panacea that will suddenly jump you from living out of a cardboard box to a six figure income, laughing from the penthouse suite as you throw coins over your balcony – not for the morbid fun of it, but just so you can feel something – anything – again. Anyway, here’s a lineup of the Word Carnival business experts favorite tools – all for under $10. No panaceas, just great tools that work well.


Article Name
How Canva Creates Brand Advocates
Brand advocates provide valuable publicity for your company. How can you get your own even if you’re not a multi-million dollar company? Learn from Canva!

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. Alisa,

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. You really made my day. Everyone at Canva appreciates your support and it makes me smile each time I see your awesome pins on Pinterest.

    See you soon at INBOUND!! I’m SO excited too.

    • Alisa Meredith

      I’m so glad, Peg! Really happy that this just happened to post on Canva’s first anniversary!

      I can hardly wait!!!!

  2. Alisa,

    Great summation of what makes for a wonderful and social brand. I haven’t tried Canva, but I’ll take a look.

    One brand that, without a doubt, has made me into a true fan is Haiku Deck. Catherine and the whole team at Haiku Deck bend over backwards to share their community’s content, make good connections, and keep their users happy with amazing support.

    They even have some easter eggs in their app, which makes it that much more fun to use – and in reality, what you’re doing is creating a powerpoint deck. Dude. A company that can make creating a slide deck fun? Sign me up!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Haha, powerpoint fun? Never!!! Actually, we have made some nice looking slideshows right in Canva. There are no easter eggs (now I’m curious), but lots of good inspiration for someone who hates a blank page.

      It’s great to hear about other companies doing it right. I’ll have to check that out – thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Alisa,

    Thank you so much for this very wonderful blog post! I get lots of messages everyday but remember you very well. Thanks so much for mentioning me. That made my day. Have a great day! 🙂

    • Alisa Meredith

      Awww, and you guys make my day all the time! 🙂 I remember when I was first starting with Canva and you answered my pesky questions quickly, in detail and with humor and personality. How sweet you are to remember. Hmm, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I was memorable for my peskiness. Hehe. In any case, you do Canva proud. I hope you have a great day, too!

  4. I just love your enthusiasm for a good brand made up by a good bunch of people. Always looking for ways to show people how they should do it, so thank you Alisa for sharing with us and your relationship with them. Quite apart from what looks like a great tool for anyone who wants to do some basic design. Or even some sophisticated design.

    And you have given me an idea. Off to tweet Acuity Scheduling and see what response I get. Will report back!

    • Alisa Meredith

      I’m so glad you liked it, Sandy. It really is something any brand, no matter their budget can do! Oh, if you haven’t tried it, you must. It’s almost a little TOO much fun and it makes great presentations.

      Oh, please do report back!

  5. This has reminded me that I have a Canva account, Alisa – great idea to use it for blog images. 🙂

    • Alisa Meredith

      Haha, good! Yeah, we use it for our clients’ blog images and presentations, too. Makes us look real good. 🙂

  6. I’ve got Photoshop on my computer, but when I need something super quick, I do hop over to Canva. You’re right, it’s pretty awesome. I also love to hear that they’re HUMAN. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Alisa Meredith

      It just does not get any easier. And yeah, it’s a rare company where you know people by name like that! Glad you enjoyed it, Tea – and thanks for stopping by!

  7. I’m SO envious. You’re meeting Peg in person, you lucky duck. Got a feeling “Peg” and “Party” belong in the same sentence. 😉 Have a royal blast!

    Building raving fans who become walking billboards for your brand, I believe, is every small biz owner’s dream. We only have to turn to Canva to see how it’s done. One of the golden nuggets, without a doubt, is stellar customer service. Fail in that department and you’re toast! Canva has a winning product and a winning team.

    I need to review some of the awesome tutorials and get better acquainted with “how to” create designs on Canva. I’ve struggled a few times to get my desired results, threw in the towel, and departed. Admittedly, patience isn’t one of my virtues. LOL!

    Thanks for an awesome read about a truly awesome company!

    • Alisa Meredith

      I know! I have a feeling Peg will help make an otherwise anxiety-inducing experience (so many strangers!) a real pleasure.

      Yeah, they give us a perfect model to follow. And thanks to you for your suggestion to make it a story. I thought I’d said all I could on the subject. 🙂

      Canva gets better and better all the time, so if it’s been a while since you played, I strongly suggest giving it another shot. Too much fun. Thanks for stopping by, Melanie!

  8. Oh I love Canva, and you helped make it so Alisa! I am excited for the day that they let you change template sizes on an existing design, but hey…for what they do, they’re pretty badass!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Haha, I’m so glad, Ashley! You have so much to work with with all your beautiful images, too!

  9. I’ve heard of Canva but hadn’t really spent time there yet. I had not realized the power of what they offer – what an eye opener! What I love the best is the story about the people behind Canva. I want to support businesses who are part of a community, who seek to do more than just grow their bottom line (although as a numbers person I also love to see that profit number grow). Thanks!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Hi Nicole – thanks for stopping by! They really are a great example for all brands. Provide a great product and be real and helpful and people will support you. Have fun with Canva! 🙂

  10. Don’t you love when there are actual PEOPLE behind a product? I’ve played with Canva before and it’s tons of fun. But mostly I like the fact that there are people!

    • Alisa Meredith

      I know!!! Not just people, either – NICE people! Helpful people! It really helps you feel more connected when you know you’re dealing with humans! Thanks for stopping by, Carol!

  11. Alisa, you probably read my post about PicMonkey and know I totally love them, but you have encouraged me to take a look at Canva again. I tried them out in the past and didn’t like it much but I’m going to give it another try.

    Thanks for the great post!

  12. I love Canva! For many of the same reasons you list off here. The personable social media bit is so key – I had a similar interaction with Harvest when I tweeted about how excited I was to see that they integrate with Asana. And of course, their product is great, too!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Isn’t it refreshing? That’s great to hear about Harvest. I haven an account and I use Asana, but I haven not used them together yet! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

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