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Being a Widen DAMster: An interview with Tim Goodman, Director of Account Services at Equity Creative

by Nina Brakel-Schutt, August 11, 2015

Metadata: Do or do not. There is no try. 

Tim Goodman of Equity Creative

Tim Goodman’s DAM administrator (admin) role came out of necessity. Managing assets for CNH Industrial once meant keeping boxes of old CDs and film in places that were not always known or accessible. A rudimentary process was created lacked remote access, lacked any type of automation and had no associated metadata with the assets. So CNH Industrial needed a better way to organize, find and distribute their vast library of logos, photos, videos, catalogs and marketing assets.

In addition to Tim, there are primarily four others who work internally at CNH Industrial and serve as DAM admins – one for each of CNH Industrial’s four brands. The four admins worked together to assign groups of assets to each brand, so while there is some crossover in their digital assets, the different groups help to keep things separate. Also helpful is their approach to DAM using a multi-branded site and separate “skins” for each brand.

The reason for separate skins (different logos, site colors, dashboards and login pages) is to serve the company’s large dealer network with different entry points to brand assets. The dealers sell specific product lines like Case IH, Case Construction, New Holland Agriculture and Construction and each brand is supported by the CNH Industrial Parts & Service and CNH Industrial Capital divisions. Those dealers only want to see what pertains to them, so they have limited access to assets. Some of the site skins may be dual-branded, meaning dealers have access to two different groups of brand assets or maybe parts and service support has some form of access to all brands. It’s also possible for an agency, vendor or supplier who works for many brands to have access to more than one brand. So when somebody enters each CNH Industrial skin, it displays a color palette and logo that is unique to the brand assets they’re looking for. 

And it’s not just the skin of the landing page on the DAM site that’s unique, there are four separate urls to direct users accordingly. It’s a wonderful way for organizations with multiple brands to be flexible, yet secure with the visibility of their brand assets.

1. How long has CNH Industrial been using the Widen Media Collective?
At least 5 to 6 years. 

2. How often do you use the Media Collective? For what kinds of activities are you using it? 
I use the Media Collective frequently but the amount of time will vary as submissions, requests and maintenance are necessary. We started out with a core group trying to determine what should go in the DAM systems – our roles, the products, the themes, and the original migration and meta tagging. We initially started with a search option but it became difficult for a standard nomenclature so we realized how much we wanted a category structure. We rely heavily on that type of structure and it has drastically improved the search success of our users. 

Our old system was a legacy left folder navigation system, so we identified all part lines by high level and assigned categories that way. It’s something we continually look at to modify as we update our communications and materials. 

In the admin role, we’re always uploading new photos, videos and marketing assets, replacing outdated materials, and updating any corporate brand guidelines. This is a continual process and we’re always adding new data to assets. 

This last year, we went through and re-assessed all of our roles and permissions. Over the years, we could see that it wasn’t best to restrict certain people, or let too many people upload, or give other people too many rights. Things got cluttered and inconsistent, so we went through and reassessed, reorganized and reassigned roles to everyone. At the same time, we began purging inactive users.

Because we have multiple brands within the company, our challenge was how to stay consistent with the different admins and with all of the different people who upload. So now we limit who has admin and upload rights. We also standardized our naming convention to be consistent as a company. That’s something we’re trying to police and keep track of. Keeping consistency is so important for us because all groups should be able to find what they need. We’re always using the same language. These are things we didn’t realize when we started using the Media Collective. The new things we’re doing have come as a result of what we weren’t doing and wished we did. Again it is a process with continual improvement.

All of our admins attend the monthly CNH Industrial calls with Widen. Since we’re all on the conference call, we all hear the questions different people have, and then we have offline meetings to talk about what we’re each doing in the different product lines. We’ve set up meetings as needed for implementing the naming convention and category structure – mostly email groups and one-off meetings – but the main focus for communication with all admins has been the monthly tech call with Widen.  

3. How much time is spent admining the DAM system?
For me, it might be minimal one day, then all day the next, depending on what needs to be done. I have other responsibilities, too. I spend about a quarter of my time admining the Media Collective site. This is dedicated primarily to our CNH Industrial Parts & Service role. We have additional full-time support for the Case IH brand. So the photos in marketing collateral, brochures, website, e-commerce site, and spec sheets are constantly being updated for all of the products.

4. Do you know how long it took to implement your DAM system? 
At least six months to a year because it wasn’t a full time job and there was so much to do. We spent more time up front than we do now. We had so many assets coming in from so many different places and trying to organize and categorize them was a challenge. There are even assets today that should have more metadata and more part numbers to help locate them, but it’s hard when you bring in 20, 30, 40,000 assets and sort through them for a new system and structure. 

Developing categories and identifying certain things before migrating it all took some time. It would have helped if we had dedicated more of our time with Widen’s implementation team before tagging everything. Doing more up front, like developing a consistent naming convention and category structure, and identifying other data consistencies would have helped. My advice would be to take a minute to evaluate your own organization and how you’re going to utilize the DAM system because it will change as your organization evolves. Pre-planning and knowing what to expect really helps. We’re making the system better all the time.

5. What other groups at CNH Industrial are using the Media Collective? How are they using the Collective?
Within each brand there is typically users in product marketing, the dealer network, sales (internal and field), other corporate employees, agencies, and suppliers that provide parts. 

For onboarding, it’s important to understand how assets come in and the workflow around that. Like how many assets we get from our suppliers and how that gets managed, collected, and processed. There are so many things to wrangle with a big organization like CNH Industrial and so many people to provide details.

We’re trying to make the admins the gatekeepers of the digital assets as much as possible to establish consistency and to keep everything cleansed. There is no way to get the garbage out, unless you take the time to do things right and make the assets usable.

6. You're doing all kinds of great things at CNH Industrial. How does the Media Collective enable you to do those great things?
The biggest thing for us is that the Collective is a single source. Even though we have silos and many legacy company programs, we still have similar places for our people to get things. The Collective has been a growing repository. The more that goes in, the more people use it and the fewer places they have to go get what they need. 

We’re trying to get people focused on using the Collective, rather than Sharepoint here or an email there, or a disk or hard drive. The idea of giving visibility to anyone, anytime is great. When people adopt and use it, it’s so easy to share assets. It’s made life for our teams so much easier. We use single sign on, so there are no worries about a login or password, you just click on a link to get what’s been sent to you. 

The people who’ve taken the time to learn, have said the Collective is so easy for sharing large amounts of information. When it clicks for them, they want to use it more. 

7. Do you feel like the Media Collective helps with your content management strategy? If yes, how?
Yes. On a high level yes because of sharing a large group of items, brochures or files with our sales people, dealers and internal marketing departments so that when they go to a tradeshow they have a whole collection of items to train or walk somebody through. 

On a deeper level, we’re working through how we can integrate the Collective more with e-commerce, internal resources for catalogs, etc. There’s a lot of data and I feel like it could be tied to the asset. I don’t think we’re there yet, though.

8. In your opinion, what is the most important thing new users should know about using a digital asset management system?
That strategy up front is crucial. Evaluating your organization and processes. Self-reflection and understanding that you have to make the hard decisions and tell people no and be the disciplinarian. If you have to limit rights and access to preserve the viability of the assets, then you need to do that. You might upset people along the way, but in the long run it pays off. 

Like this interview? Read more Widen DAMster interviews to see what other Widen users are doing with the Media Collective.  

Talk to a Widen Advisor to see how the Media Collective can work for you! 

Topics: Customer Stories, DAMsters

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