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DAM Lessons from Progressive Insurance, Trunk Club, and Cornell University

by Jake Athey, October 12, 2017

This September, the Henry Stewart digital asset management (DAM) conference took to the Windy City of Chicago, and with it came leading companies and experienced DAM professionals from throughout the nation.

Amongst a rockstar lineup of speakers and panelists, four of our customers from Progressive Insurance, Trunk Club, and Cornell University took to the stage to share lesson-packed stories and advice about DAM.

Here’s what they had to say!

Progressive Insurance - Mark Maslar

Mark Maslar, technical solution owner at Progressive Insurance, discussed cloud versus on-premise considerations that organizations should weigh when deciding where to deploy their DAM solution. Mark spoke openly about the successes and challenges of any system and raised important questions about network security, customizations, integrations, performance, and service level agreements (SLAs).

Among other things, Mark challenged the audience to ask themselves tough questions like:

  • What do you really need from your DAM solution? Progressive’s DAM ended up in the cloud with great success, but it was not without compromise. Mark emphasized that no solution is perfect and that organizations need to weigh the costs and benefits of their preferred options. “If we insist on 100 percent of it, we’ll end up with something that is very expensive, so you need to understand the difference between your wants and needs,” said Mark.
  • Who will "own" the DAM? Before Progressive transitioned to the Widen Collective, their previous DAM system went down for two months, and since nobody knew how to fix it, people stopped using it. While this wasn't Mark's primary message, it's a great reminder of why every DAM solution needs an owner.

Watch Mark’s full presentation below.

Progressive Insurance - Jennifer Tyner

Digital Asset Manager Jennifer Tyner also represented Progressive Insurance at the event. During an interactive panel session, Metadata Matters, Jennifer shared her must-follow tricks to a successful metadata strategy:

  • Straightforward logic: Limit the number of metadata fields (six to 15 per asset), incorporate dependent metadata fields, only make a field required if it’s mandatory across the entire system, and use controlled vocabulary lists, automate metadata entry on import. Also, make metadata part of your day-to-day process rather than one big, overwhelming project.
  • Governance: Create a governance strategy and team to keep your DAM running smoothly, record best practices, and get stakeholders onboard.
  • Shared structure: Gain efficiency and consistency by using the same metadata and taxonomy structures across your DAM, website, and digital marketing resources.

Cornell University - Corey Chimko

Corey Chimko, manager of digital assets, shared stories and lessons from his experience managing over half a million digital assets for Cornell University over the last decade, and evolving their DAM into the go-to content hub for internal and external teams. Combat typical DAM challenges with this advice:

  • Always advocate: The adage, “If you build it they will come”, doesn’t apply to DAM because people naturally revert to familiar and comfortable ways of doing things. For organizations to get the most out of DAM, they must commit to keeping users engaged and continually work to advocate for DAM adoption.  
  • Think outside your box: Successful DAM administrators consider the goals, priorities, and styles of all DAM users. Corey, being an archivist in a marketing department, spoke about the importance of balancing his longterm organization and governance goals with the every-evolving and shorter-term needs of a marketing department. When Corey needs to implement changes in the DAM system, this balance helps him to be nimble without sacrificing archival integrity.
  • Keep it simple: Advocate for DAM in the most simplistic, easy-to-adopt ways, like creating a memorable vanity URL, mentioning the DAM in HR onboarding materials, getting stakeholders to promote it, and providing training and education.

For more from Corey, watch the full presentation below:

Trunk Club - Maureen Boyle

Maureen Boyle, senior director of creative services & events at Trunk Club, joined two other panelists from Sam’s Club and Bank of America to discuss thinking, best practices, and proven methods to a successful, sustainable, and scalable creative operation. Drawing from her frontline experiences, Maureen offered these tips:

  • People matter: The success of your creative operations team depends on having the right people in the right roles. Even if it involves a few tough decisions, like letting people go, you must make adjustments for the health of the team.
  • Plan: Maureen echoed the sentiments of Amy Strickland, a fellow panelist from Sam’s Club, who discussed how a simple creative brief saved their brand because it helped them define the ownership and action steps needed to transform ideas into reality.
  • You can’t do it all: Most teams struggle to find enough time, money, and resources to produce all of the assets people throughout the organization want and need. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so work closely with your leadership team to understand their priorities, and communicate your process, workflow, and opinions so you can work towards a unified goal.

More from the DAM community!

We moderated and participated in a 12-person roundtable discussion about creative collaboration and brand management. The conversation revealed a few other pointers we just had to share:

  • Recycle what works: Take metadata mastery further by not only making it part of your creative process but integrating it into your entire marketing strategy.
  • Streamline workflow: Leverage integrated proofing and workflow solutions. One participant even exclaimed, “Online review and approval saved our brand!”
  • Prove it: Sharing assets from your DAM saves you time, but if you want to earn the support of your leadership team you must also prove that your assets drive revenue and sales opportunity.

That’s a wrap…for now!

After seeing our customers strut their stuff at the Henry Steward DAM Chicago, we are beaming with pride and thrilled with all the DAM enthusiasm in the Midwest and throughout the U.S.

Hearing firsthand from the users of DAM about the importance of a solution and team focused on prioritization, governance, structure, simplicity, and the people reaffirm that our priorities align with what our customers need from a DAM solution. To learn more about Widen, the people-driven DAM solution, get in touch with our Advisor team today!

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Topics: DAM

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