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Being a Widen DAMster: An interview with Heather Goodnow, Photographer and Designer at Gaylord Archival

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When it comes to connecting marketing content, many people don’t realize that a digital asset management (DAM) system can be a key resource for their organization. DAM can help users make better decisions about their marketing strategy and also promote better market positioning. That’s why we hit the road to talk with Widen customers about the different ways they’re using the Media Collective to help leverage their digital content and improve marketing efficiencies. 

Here’s what Heather Goodnow, from Gaylord Archival in Syracuse, NY, had to say. Gaylord Archival is a supplier of library, furniture, and archival solutions.

Heather Goodnow at Gaylord Archival

1. How long has Gaylord been using the Widen Media Collective?
I’ve been working at Gaylord for ten years. We’re going into our second year now with Widen, so the DAM system is still fairly new.
2. What are your daily work activities and how does the Media Collective help?
When I’m doing photography, I arrange the photoshoot with the Product Managers and bring in new product or product that needs to be reshot. I process and upload the finished shots in the Media Collective. From there, the Product Managers and Designers have access to those images, which never happened before.

Before we had the Media Collective, Product Managers had to look through physical binders with thousands of printed images of our products, then circle the ones they wanted and our designers would get those to them. Now they can go into the Collective and get the assets themselves!

The DAM system has made us way more efficient and user friendly on so many levels. Previously, we would have to process images separately for the website and for print. There were two different holding cells for those processes, so we were always maintaining both. Now we have just one place for all our assets – they reside in the Media Collective. It’s been miraculous.
3. When did you know you needed a DAM system? Did something happen to indicate it was time?
We’ve been asking for a DAM system since I started here. We had thousands of images in folders on our creative group server. We used Apple’s Spotlight (part of the operating system) to search our servers for assets, which was a nightmare because if you don’t type the keywords in fast enough, the system doesn’t register and you have to start all over. We don’t have to worry about any of that with the Media Collective, Widen is awesome.

We would have kept on going that way, but we were incorporating a new website and the e-commerce component required an image management system. Hybris is the e-commerce platform that the site runs on.
4. If someone asked you what the Media Collective does, what would you tell them?
For me it’s this magnificent holding cell of all of our images. I realize that sounds superficial, but at this stage it’s more than I could ask for compared to four years ago. The Media Collective gives everyone access. Product Managers used to have to ask designers for the logo in a certain format and it used to take so much time to size it, save it, and send it to them. Now they can get it like that (finger snap).

Gaylord Collateral 

5. Which groups within your organization are currently using your DAM system the most? And what are they doing with it?
Creative, Marketing, Product Managers. Our sister company, Demco, has access to it, too, and that’s saved us so much time too because they download assets on a daily basis and I can’t imagine if someone here (at Gaylord) had to be the daily contact for them to do that manually. That is like eliminating a full-time job right there.
6. What unique things are you or your teams able to do with the Media Collective that you didn’t initially realize you could do?
We’re still pretty new, so we’re just scratching the surface. I personally really like the collections. For example, we’re reshooting our acrylic dispensers. They’re going to be used for the new exhibits. I put the shots in a collection and now the designer and PM can use exactly the right images. Collections have been a great surprise for me. Especially when we have over 10,000 images in the DAM system, I can pare things down by putting them in a collection to share with the right people. Metadata is great, but when we pull we sometimes get 50 to 200 images returned on a search, that we don’t need, the collections are a great way to narrow down.
7. How did you roll out the system to your user base? Do you have any communications or training materials you can share with us?
We did an online presentation with Josey from Widen (she presented to our group) and she was great. She was very cool and very patient. There weren’t a lot of us involved in choosing the system and we only have 10 users, so everybody knew what was going on. The people who would be using the Media Collective were already involved and knew what was going on, so we didn’t do a separate roll out or need any separate communications.
8. How do use the Media Collective to connect the marketing content you create? To curate the content you create?
We use collections for curating images, like I mentioned. But my job is strictly working with the images – taking the photos and getting them in the DAM system. So I provide the images for the designers who use the content in the concepts they do for our outside vendors.
9. What is the greatest value you've gained from making use of a DAM system - on a marketing level? At the business level?
The fact that everybody has access to it is just huge. When our images were on the server, they were only available for creatives. Opening up our assets to other people is a big deal and makes the business more efficient.
10. How do you prefer to consume content?
I’m definitely a reader, but I’m starting to get on board with instructional videos. I like reading because I’m old school. But with videos it’s so much quicker and easier to see how someone actually does something.  It’s easier to get the message across. When I’m reading, I’m trying to visualize what to do in my head. A video puts it right there for you.
11. Where do you see your use of the Media Collective going in the future?
We still have a lot of streamlining to do as far as getting our metadata in order. We’ll rely more on how images are used. In the past, we’d have an image and it would get lost in the abyss of information we’ve got on shared servers and desktops. I feel like now we can take that one image and use it in so many different places via the DAM system. It’s so easy. (same sentiment as John Kuehl)
12. What three, individual adjectives would you use to describe the Media Collective?
I would say necessary, efficient and accessible.
13. What is the most important thing new users need to know about making use of a digital asset management system? 
I keep saying this, but the fact that it makes like so much easier – you just don’t know how much easier your work is going to get until you’re using one. I can’t emphasize enough how important is for everyone to have a view of what assets we have, what’s going, and what else is needed. Because we can see what we have, we also know what we DON’T have and now we know what needs to be created to fill in. That opening up, that visibility is so important.

Watch the video interview with Kate Akasha, E-commerce Marketing Manager at Gaylord Archival, to learn more about why they love the Widen Media Collective.

Or, read what other Widen users are doing with the Media Collective.

Contact our DAM advisors to see how the Media Collective can work for you!

Topics: Customer Stories, DAMsters

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