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.
This is MaryBeth Florentino’s story from Gaylord Archival in Syracuse, NY. Gaylord Archival is a supplier of library, furniture, and archival solutions.
1. What are your daily activities at Gaylord?
I’ve been at Gaylord for five years and there are a lot of activities for me each day.
I manage the workflow throughout the design department, so I’m responsible for the design of everything that comes out of the company. The new look and feel for the updated brand, email blasts, new catalogs, web pages, advertising. I also develop all of the campaigns for the year and decide which ones we’re going to carry over and if they’re going to evolve into something else, or if we’re going to talk about a product or service in a new way in a campaign.
I manage the marketing communication plan in terms of what trade shows we go to, what customers see, and how that corresponds with the email they get from us and what we’re posting in social media. I have to make sure there’s consistency there.
2. When did you know you needed a DAM system? Did something happen to indicate it was time?
We needed one because we had thousands of files that were sitting on a MAC server. We did a pretty good job organizing them given what we had to work with, but there were big disadvantages to having all those digital assets sitting on a MAC server.
For one, designers were the only ones with access to those images or who knew how to search for images. They were all saved by part number, but there were so many of them nobody else really knew how images were saved. We did lose all the images once right before a catalog was due for production. The server crashed. IT had some kind of back up system (a mirror of the server), but they had to recover it all and that took a lot of time. Then we had to reorganize everything again.
3. If someone asked you what the Media Collective does, what would you tell them?
It keeps all of your assets safe in one place.
4. Did the DAM system have a role in your brand update?
The visibility into the DAM system makes everything easier. Being able to see all the image thumbnails and putting the images into multiple categories is great. This allows other departments – that we’ve given access – to look through and find the right images they need and should be using. It’s really important now as we update the website and all of our materials, that everyone is using the right images.
The challenge of finding images is so much easier with the DAM system. If Heather photographs a new image and shares it in a collection to showcase what she just shot, it’s so easy. She’s been sharing the new accessories that she shot and uploaded/added metadata that way and it’s great.
Another thing that’s great is if I want to update an image on the web, I can upload a version in the DAM system and the image updates automatically on the pages where it lives. The image can update on the fly. And I mean product images, the home page banner, spiffs, a collection page header. Wherever that image is, it all gets updated automatically at the same time after we update a version of the image in the DAM system. That’s pretty great for keeping the images consistent. And that’s good for our brand.
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?
Not that I can think of.
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?
We’re so small, so we kind of just knew. We did one session with the Product Management team to show them everything the DAM system could do, but it was nothing formal.
7. How do use the Media Collective to connect the marketing content you create? To curate the content you create?
We only have 10 users, but many of them access it the same way I do. It’s a little bit different because we’re using InDesign all the time, all day.
8. Yes, tell me about your wishes for InDesign functionality? What does the DAM system need to do for you?
It needs to be a real integration with InDesign, not just a plugin for pulling images. When we first rolled out the DAM system, the solution we got from Widen was to package the InDesign files and put them in the DAM system. But that’s not how our workflow functions. We have working files. InDesign layouts that we’re all working on at any given time and we need to be prompted about assets that need updating across all the files when we’re all working on them. There are SO many images. I access the images daily on our shared personal servers. They’re also in the DAM system, so there’s a little duplicating going on.
All the images are on our personal drives and our personal drives sync to one another. It would be ideal if I opened this file and all of the images automatically linked to what was in Widen Media Collective. Right now, nothing shows up as missing files, because they’re all linked to the personal servers. If Heather has to adjust an image, we have to update it twice (once on Widen Media Collective and once on the servers). We’re using Dropbox + our personal shared drives for me, Jessica, and Heather, in order to work on our catalog layouts together.
9. What is the greatest value you've gained from making use of a DAM system - on a marketing level? At the business level?
For me, it’s great when I need an image from an old piece. Like a cover from the slim jim last year. I go into the Media Collective and see the covers category and search all of our covers and then I can easily find the one I need.
10. How do you prefer to consume content?
It depends on what I want to learn. Some things are more difficult to absorb in reading, like if something is technical with a how-to a program and menus and stuff. It you don’t have awareness of a product, tool or process, then it’s nice to watch a video.
I read a lot of blogs and I like to see the pictures that go with them. If something is explained to me for the first time, I’d like to watch a video, then dig deeper about that after I’m familiar by reading. A new feature about the DAM system would be easier to see in a video. Or how the DAM system integrates with InDesign because I’d want to see how it’s done. I can absorb video more quickly. But then I’d follow up with reading because I can go back and reread as much as I’d like.
11. Where do you see your usage of the Media Collective going in the future?
We’re going to be doing more videos. Video would be an area we’d definitely explore.
12. What three, individual adjectives would you use to describe the Media Collective?
Complete/comprehensive, only as good as it users, accessible.
13. What is the most important thing new users need to know about making use of a digital asset management system?
Start simple. In terms of categorizing your images, it’s easy to take groups of images and duplicate them in another category, so you don’t have to do thousands of categories. Regularly use the admin tools and stay on top of conflicted assets. That is what Heather does. Stay on top of what’s going on in the DAM system. Keep it clean and organize images in your categories, don’t just leave the image out there randomly on your DAM system, or it could soon turn into a huge project for clean up. Use the alerts from the admin alerts to help you.
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!