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 Julie Pawuk, from Centria in Pittsburgh, PA, had to say. Centria provides wall and roof system designs for architects and contractors, which means their products are used in or on buildings. So product photography is an incredibly important part of their marketing communications, advertising, PR, and sales materials.
1. What do you do in your role as the Marketing Communications Manager?
I’ve worked at Centrai for almost twenty years and we’ve been using Widen for just over a year. I oversee the different areas of our marketing communications, which include:
- Sales tools and literature (print and online)
- Our website
- Product Managers with product samples
Our main customers are architects, but we provide the sales tools for our sales team to sell to the customers as well.
Photography is key in our department. We have a budget assigned for it. We hire photographers to go out and shoot our buildings. We buy the majority of the assets that come in and get the rights to use them in publications. That’s when we upload everything to the Media Collective. Then we give our agencies the permission to download the images they need for their projects. They can get the high resolution images for whatever they’re working on.
Our ad agencies really like it (the Media Collective). It’s saving them the step of waiting on us to get their images and they can tool around and find what they want. Their account managers started using the Media Collective and were the ones giving images to the designers, but now the designers get images themselves because they know what they’re looking for. Or they can look around and see what else they might want once they’re in there looking at all of our images.
Product data is also entered in the DAM system. The project name, location, architect – all that information is kept there. Some of our printed literature is also in the DAM system, so we upload all the graphics for that literature.
Chelsea’s really good at saving collections. She pulls together images one time and shares with our sales guys who have similar requests, so we don’t need to repeat those requests.
We have projects with colleges and stadiums for example, so we’ll have several months where salespeople will keep asking for the same images of our higher education buildings. So Chelsea will share our list of the projects from higher education and that becomes a collection.
We also serve hospitals, so that’s another example of collections we create with requested files. We’ll show all of our hospital jobs.
2. What are your daily activities?
I’m doing more management type things. I’ll work with the ad agency and I’ll go into the Collective for graphics that the agency needs, but I’m not in there as much as Chelsea. She’s in there every day it seems.
3. When did you know you needed a DAM system? Did something happen to indicate it was time?
We had a break-in three years ago. Someone got in at Christmas when the door was open (it wasn’t supposed to be of course). They stole the designer’s MAC, which is where most of our products images were being stored, and luckily she had a back up and IT was able to retrieve the images. But it was a wake up call for us.
During the first 6 to 9 months when we started using Widen’s Media Collective, Hannah and Chelsea spent a lot of time uploading and tagging. They started with our newest images, and then went back in time and added the older assets. (day forward strategy)
During the time when we had our first graphic designer (before Hannah), our IT department had its own drive. We could see and share things between me, the designer and Chelsea on our personal servers. But IT was constantly telling them (designer and Chelsea) to pull files off their servers because they didn’t have enough of storage space open (drivers were too full and using too much bandwidth). We were always going to IT to get more capacity for storage and it was a constant back and forth between marketing and IT. IT worked with us in the beginning – it was more of a collaboration. But Widen is so much easier. The Media Collective is always getting better and there are more things you can do with it.
It feels like a collaborative tool and we do have other departments like Product Managers who tap into it, too.
There are 30 or so sales people in the field. We have a gallery on the website, but the salespeople don’t have time to search for our jobs in there, so they were always emailing us and we would have to send them separate jpegs of our products in individual emails because they were so big. There would be five separate emails with 1 jpeg of a product shot attached in each. Now I can send the sales team a link and they can get all the images they want to download and the email isn’t clogged. AND IT isn’t mad.
Now the sales team is using the mobile app on their iPads to share a slideshow of the product to architects. They also use the app at trade shows in slideshow mode to project their images to the whole showroom.
4. If someone asked you what the Media Collective does, what would you tell them?
Besides storage, I would say it’s about sharing of files. I like that I can type in XYZ building or Houston, Texas and it (the Media Collective) finds anything (search within text). It gives me everything – all the PDFs, word docs, literature. Everything.
5. Does the DAM system play a role with your brand?
We have our logos on there. We have a separate corporate style guide, but its not in the DAM system. Our department controls the brand and the corporate image, so now it’s like we’re able to shut people off from taking product shots they shouldn’t be using.
There must have been other internal groups who were making their own PPTs. Now you have to go through marketing to get what you want.
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?
Originally we were sharing links and photos, but the slideshow part just runs on its own and the sales teams are doing that with the Collective. We didn’t know you could do that before. They used to take all those images and put them in a PowerPoint themselves and now it’s automatic and so fast. It’s a perfect fit for the sales team.
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 presented it to the sales team first at the February sales meeting two or three years ago. We also had smaller focus groups and reminded them in mini meetings that we have this DAM system now. There were one-on-one conference calls with our internal teams and with the agencies to let them know they’d be a user and tell them what we’re doing with it and why. They now all know it’s (the Media Collective) there.
I even go in to see what new photos are in there – these are great new jobs we got this month! So it becomes a place for our team to research new images.
In the beginning we had questions about how to share a collection or how to email, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. Chelsea did a quick review of the tool and showed us one at a time. If they (users) have a question, they know they can ask Chelsea.
8. How do you feel about the functionality?
The system is 99% on and you’re (Widen) already ahead of things.
9. Are you using any of our integrations for collaboration?
We started using ProofHQ in November. I have 12 projects in there right now. We have it tagged and then the designer can see it and review. We have it (the review process) documented now and I can see how many changes a piece goes through. We’re sharing proofs with PMs and Engineers, so everyone can review. It’s helped us say “are we sure we all agree on this before we print this?”
I like that I can assign who can do what. I go there to look at the midnight summary and I see everything that changed 3 times and who was responsible. It’s so much better this way than putting red ink all over a print out.
There’s proof there that Engineering changed this and the reason why, so I have this support now. I can show people that whole trail online. It’s separate right now from the DAM system, but we’ll start using it together soon. We wanted to make sure we knew the tool first. Chelsea uses comments more. It would be nice if our teams gave feedback on “This would be a good cover shot” or “Don’t use this one, there’s too much plastic” – we (marketing) don’t always know. We usually have to call the dealer who did the job and ask which angle we’re supposed to take because we don’t know always where the product was used on a building.
10. What is the greatest value you've gained from making use of a DAM system – on a marketing level? At the business level?
Efficiency. We saved a lot of time. If we did things the old traditional way, they wouldn’t get assets until tomorrow. Now our teams get them in 5 minutes.
11. How do you prefer to consume content?
I prefer something more visual. Quick bullets and photos and imagery. That helps us sell. Our imagery is big. I get lazy and would rather look through something quickly. Like a YouTube clip or a social media news feed. I prefer that over a paper or magazine.
12. Where do you see your usage of the Media Collective going in the future?
Right now our salespeople are only using it to get assets – they’re receivers. I think we’ll open it up, so they can go in and offer suggestions on jobs to shoot from their camera phone. Rather than them emailing us about a project they’re going to do, let us know, in advance, that we’re going to need a certain image in our DAM system in a couple of months (so we should go photograph it).
Our email is a sad story. Everyone does CC all, and there are so many attachments. I get the same email five times on the same job, so I skim through and only focus on the ones that need my attention right away.
13. What three, individual adjectives would you use to describe the Media Collective?
Efficient, fast, easy.
14. What is the most important thing new users need to know about making use of a digital asset management system?
Load files and tag them well, so your search can find what you’re looking for. Even that gauge or color on that building, tag it. On your first upload, do as much as you can content-wise to get the most out of the DAM system.
Watch the video interview with Chelsea Rommes, Media and Content Coordinator at Centria, 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!