Being a Widen DAMster: An interview with Jennifer Clarke, Manager of Alumni Group at Sheridan College

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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 Jennifer Clarke had to say from Sheridan College in Toronto, Canada.

Sheridan College is an almost 50 year-old undergraduate university with a reputation for creativity and innovation. You can feel it as soon as you arrive on campus!

Jennifer Clarke of Sheridan College
1. What is your role as the Manager of the Alumni group at Sheridan College?
I’ve worked at Sheridan College for six years, but I’ve only been in this role for three years. I’m responsible for engaging the alumni communication, providing services to the graduates, marketing and PR, sharing the great news about our graduates, fundraising, and consulting the student engagement. Alumni is at the end of the student engagement path. There are a lot of communications, personal relationships, and events to manage.

2. When did you know you needed a DAM system? Did something happen to indicate it was time?
It was always a struggle to get images, and that would slow down the process because we’d have to contact Creative Services to get any images we wanted to use. Things were disorganized because we would do a photoshoot and the images would reside on a server that we didn’t all have access to. It was inefficient and disorganized.

3. If someone asked you what the Media Collective does, what would you tell them?
I’d say it provides access to a database of photos and imagery. It makes our work more efficient and creative because there are more options available when we’re designing something and it eases the collaboration between departments.
Efficient = time savings. You can work more independently instead of always calling Stewart (head designer) to get an image. Now I can scroll through and find exactly what I need instead of interrupting the workflow of others. 

Sometimes I don’t even know what images I need or want to use until I look in the DAM system. I may see something someone else uploaded and I didn’t know was there. Having the Media Collective allows us to share resources and dollars spent, to have a goal, but other areas in the org can benefit from that. It also improves branding, because we have more consistent marketing pieces and communications because we’re all pulling from the same batch rather than grabbing all kinds of different stock photos.

4. Which groups within your organization are currently using your DAM system the most? And what are they doing with it?
We produce a monthly magazine, event posters, social media content, innovations, marketing brochures, and web content. Our group is not currently uploading images to the DAM system.

The professional photography goes through Stewart and he uploads everything. We mostly download. It’s great for designing our magazine because we could have 5 images that are on his top list and go through it rather than emailing files. This goes back to what I was saying about the collaboration between teams and different departments.

We’re having different conversations now because we all know what’s available. We’re talking about steps, we’re making decisions quicker and all looking at the same portfolio of images. We work more and talk less about the process of getting an image.

Sheridan College Materials

5. 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 like the fact that there are ratings to see the most popular images. One you know they’re great images, and also I won’t select those sometimes because it tells me that they’re used a lot and maybe I want to use something fresh.
Having video in there as well is great. 

6. How did you roll out the system to your user base? Do you have any communications or training materials you can share with us?
Stewart told me in a meeting that we got this DAM system and I was going to be one of the first users for the magazine - as a pilot group. At first I had access to it, and it was just for me and our magazine photos and layouts. 

I thought it was great, it made the magazine process so much easier. Searching for images was easy, the system itself was easy to use, very straight-forward. It’s user friendly and no training was necessary. Everything is easy to access when you have the right settings.

The new UI looks beautiful. But to be honest, this our low time for usage during the year. The past few months we haven’t used it that much. I have it set as one of my top three tabs in my browser. Every time I launch the browser, the Media Collective opens.

7. How do use the Media Collective to connect the marketing content you create? To curate the content you create?
Stewart provides images after a photoshoot, or of the logo and such, and Britta tags and categorizes them. I create passwords and logins for anyone who needs them, and I manage the system as a whole. Stewart does more of that content creation and connection than I do.

8. What is the greatest value you've gained from making use of a DAM system - on a marketing level? At the business level?
Access to the college’s images – ones that we know about and those that we didn’t know were available, too. We have a better relationship with Stewart because I don’t ask him for images or nag him anymore :) People are more independent and efficient in their work. And it makes work process smoother, easier, and faster.
9. How do you prefer to consume content?
I like something visual, something that’s hands on.
Video tutorials are good, but they’re usually too slow. Not a quick enough pace for me. I’m 10 steps ahead of you! There’s never enough time for all the learning, so I need something quick.
I listen to podcasts two hours a day in the car. I learn a lot through podcasts. There’s an alumni I listen to who is a speaker, so I’ll learn about something from him and then tell the others on my team about it.
I’ll read if it’s in point form. Like 10 steps on how to do something. I’m not going to read a manual. I’d like a step-by-step process that tells me how to solve something.
I like to sit down and work with something, then learn how to do it myself.

10. Where do you see your usage of the Media Collective going in the future?
I think we should start uploading more video content. We should also get in the habit of putting all the event photography in the DAM system, so the whole college can have access and benefit from it.

11. What three, individual adjectives would you use to describe the Media Collective?
Easy, fast, efficient.

Watch the video interview with Stewart Dick, Senior Designer at Sheridan College, to learn more about why his marketing team loves 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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