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Being a Widen DAMster: An interview with Andrew Sheehy, Creative Director at JL Audio

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Andrew Sheehy of JL Audio

Andrew Sheehy has a creative spirit and an aesthetic eye. He attended Florida State University for graphic design with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. After graduating, he started his own design firm. In the beginning, JL Audio was a client of Andrew’s, but when JL Audio asked him to move his business in-house, Andrew happily joined the team.
Today, Andrew spearheads the creative direction of JL Audio’s marketing and advertising. He also led their research to find a new DAM system and serves as the main administrator for the system today.
Here’s some insight into how Andrew and his team are making the most of the Widen Media Collective.


1. How long have you been a Widen user? 
We launched our media library in 2014, so we’ve been using Widen’s DAM system for just over a year.

2. What do you do with the Media Collective? If you admin the site, how much time do you spend on administration? 
Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the DAM site because this is the time of year when we’re launching new products and doing several photoshoots, and it’s important that we make these images available as soon as possible. The Media Collective makes it easy to access high res images so that anyone on the planet can download what they need. From a visibility standpoint, it’s interesting and helpful to see which people and regions are making use of which assets.
With Widen, we’re able to disperse images quickly and easily. Before the DAM system, all of that was done exclusively by request. There were a limited amount of dealers who would request images, and they were the only ones who were given access to them. Now that everything is readily available, more dealers are using our brand images – the images we want them to use. Initially, we didn’t anticipate that there would be so many people utilizing the DAM system, but we now have close to 500 active users.

3. In what areas of your organization is the Media Collective being used and what are users doing with it?
Our user groups consist of our dealer base, small shops mostly. We don’t have any big box chains. We sell into a network of small regional chains and independent retailers. We have international distributors with their own dealer bases as well. The system allows us to create unique user permissions, which is fantastic. 

For example, we have a role for US reps, one for international reps, one for international dealers, domestic dealers, etc. We’re able to put things in the system that are for certain audiences and not others. Not everyone can see everything.
We’ve also used the DAM to upload a lot of in-house documents like sales documents, international documents that the local guys don’t see, and vice versa, so the different groups only see what pertains to them.
As the admin of the system, I upload and tag the images and edit metadata. I like to keep it simple. I try to think of every possible way to assign keywords – what a product is, what it’s called, the SKU number, and the way it’s categorized. If you think about your own website and how people find your products there, that’s a very easy and familiar way to do it.

4. How does the Media Collective help JL Audio do the great things it needs to do?
I think the way it has improved the consistency of our brand image is pretty great. We used to see things in stores that were not representative of the brand. Some of the communications weren’t attractive and didn’t speak our brand language.
Now, we’re able to upload images for stores for monthly or quarterly specials, and they can confidently use those images in their stores. The media collective allows us to share more than ever before, and people are really using what we’re sharing. That sharing aspect was missing in the past, but it’s a key part of growing the brand which is great for business.
In the past, Sales and Customer Service would request the same thing more than once– a sales document or form for a dealer – because with so much going on, they would forget that they had already requested it. We no longer get any of these requests, so that’s been pretty awesome.
Another cool thing – we’re able to create PDF’s of our product catalogs, which can be downloaded to people’s phones or tablets from the Media Collective. I keep reminding our people to click on the eyeball [an alert in the Media Collective UI] for recent changes to assets. That way, they’re always able to carry the latest and greatest catalog with them in their pocket.

5. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for your team?
We’ve gained so much efficiency from only having to do things once. We’re not fulfilling the same request two or three times. Once we’ve done a product launch and the corresponding product sheets for dealers to use, it’s done. If anybody makes a request, we can remind that person that what they need is available on the Media Collective and point them to where it can be found. 

6. What is the most important thing new users should know about making good use of a digital asset management system?
Plan your DAM system like you’re planning your corporate website. If you just throw random things in the system, it won’t work. Consider doing it the way you would storyboard your public site. Be sure to put thought into how you categorize your images and data. 

7. What advice would you share about successfully implementing a DAM system?
Use Widen!
I worked with an implementation specialist at Widen and she walked our team through the setup. We got some spreadsheets to set up our initial categories, and then we were able to start uploading images. We built categories over time and we were able to update the system and make changes as needed.
We have photos, video, logos and documents in the DAM. The DAM system allows our dealers to download and use looped, branded videos in the store. There’s no sound, they’re just for product information, but that seems to be pretty popular. We will definitely be adding more of this popular content to our Collective. 

8. What else do you wish it could do? What more do you want from the Media Collective?
Nothing. It does everything we need it to do for distribution. The options are very straightforward so that our clients can download files and get exactly what they need. 

9. How do you prefer to consume content? How do you like to learn?
Most of my learning is from online tutorials. I like learning that’s interactive. If there’s just someone sitting there talking to you, you’re going to blank out. If you’re engaged, and there’s something where you can work along (especially for software), I find it to be much more effective. 

Topics: Customer Stories, DAMsters

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