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Best DAM Contest 2019: Best Practices and Winning Strategies

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The Best DAM Contest is always a highlight of our annual Widen Summit. Four exceptional Widen customers showcase how they use their Collective® site to meet unique user needs. Each contestant has a different use case, a different strategy, and a different winning approach to their DAM system.

Summit attendees then vote for who they feel is the most innovative in their use of the Collective. This year, they were encouraged to consider how each contestant organized their DAM, connected with their users, leveraged other Widen tools, and ultimately what value their system brought to their organization.

Read on for a summary of the best practices shared in each presentation...and find out who won the Best DAM 2019 title!

Robin Brown, Brand Manager at San Francisco International Airport 

Last year Robin was asked to assume the admin role for the DAM system at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)...and she knew she was in for a challenge. The site was implemented in 2012 without a maintenance strategy — no governance policy, formal metadata structure, archival strategy, or designated site administrator. As you can imagine, the system had become unusable. “Many people didn’t even know it existed!” Robin said.

Robin is a graphic designer — with no DAM experience — but she knew the path forward had to begin with a complete overhaul of the existing site. So she assembled a talented team and developed a DAM transformation plan.

Best DAM strategy

Robin began by removing content from the DAM system that was outdated or irrelevant. Her team deleted or archived over 20,000 assets! Next, they developed a metadata structure, and began applying it to the assets left in the system.

They drafted a governance policy and used it to delete unused user accounts. They made access to the system more appealing by implementing single sign-on (SSO), and branding it with a beautifully designed Dashboard.

They developed quick tips for new users and rolled out a training program. And finally, they created a roadmap for ongoing maintenance, to position the DAM system for success well into the future.

Best DAM outcomes

Her plan worked! When the airport opened the new Harvey Milk terminal in July of 2019, they were prepared for media inquiries with organized content that was easy to access. In the last year alone they have seen a 498% increase in download activity, every month there is an increase in users, and DAM training is part of their new employee onboarding process.

To bolster user engagement they occasionally have DAM contests and scavenger hunts, and they instituted “upload Fridays” so their power users know when to look for new content. And they are constantly gathering user feedback on ways to make continual improvements. 

It’s clear that Robin’s transformation plan was thorough and very well executed. But she acknowledges that there’s always more work to be done. “The ride’s not over yet!” she said.

Vladimir Chen, Senior Product Manager and Experience Lead at 3Shape

3Shape is a rapidly growing international company that develops innovative technology for the dental and audio industries. Before they implemented the Collective, their marketing department was struggling to keep pace with their organizational change. There was redundancy in their content creation and distribution efforts, which compromised their productivity and customer service. This all resulted in a slower time to market, and lost revenue. 

Vladimir shared how he and his team of four admins used DAM technology to address — and ultimately overcome — these challenges. 

Best DAM strategy

Upon implementing the Widen Collective, Vladimir’s team developed a two part strategy for addressing their content management woes: leverage the power of Widen’s API, and empower their users.

An integrated ecosystem

3Shape used Widen’s API to fully integrate the system into their martech stack, including their website, e-commerce platform, online academy, end user community, and digital kiosks. If content was changed in the Collective, it was automatically updated across all of these platforms. This helped Vladimir ensure that the most relevant content was always being used, across the globe. 

An empowered user base

“Users truly own the content when it comes to sharing it with others,” Vladimir said. He provided his users with the knowledge and confidence they need to access and share assets in the DAM responsibly. His training program includes monthly hands-on courses, online videos and documentation, and easy access to his admin team via email and slack. His empowered users — in tandem with custom portals — have allowed 3Shape to eliminate content distribution bottlenecks, and ensure that everyone has access to the right content, when they need it.

Best DAM outcomes

This all adds up to a dynamic, vibrant DAM system that includes over 80 users, 5,000 assets, and 4 million embed views! And it has allowed 3Shape to realize significant workflow efficiencies across the organization. For example, the Workflow app has helped them reduce their process of uploading software changes from six steps, to four. 

Vladimir attributes much of their success to their “start small and build” approach, which helped him give his users what they need today while still planning for the future. He said he also relied on the advice and guidance from his Widen team. Because they are based in Europe, the opening of Widen’s London office has made it even easier for their team to get support. And last but not least, Vladimir said that a critical part of their DAM success was to “have fun!” 

Megan Fisher, Digital Marketing Associate at Crayola

Crayola launched their Collective site, the Crayola Gallery, at their 2018 national sales meeting. At the same time, they rolled-out a multi-faceted training program, which is credited with the remarkably successful user adoption of their DAM system. 

As a digital marketing associate at Crayola, Megan Fisher leads the DAM training initiatives for all employees, who are affectionately known as Crayolians. She shared how she designed the program to help the company meet their DAM goals.

Best DAM strategy

The Crayola training program is part of the onboarding process for new employees. The weekly meetings are tailored to address unique user needs, including international users, Portals users, and Workflow users. In addition, Megan offers individual or small-group training to her power users as needed. Crayolians that complete the training program earn the designation of DAM Champion!

Because Megan believes that “there’s no such thing as too much information,” she also developed a suite of support materials. She created in-depth PDF manuals, how-to videos, and quick-tip emails to ensure her users are aware of system changes and new content. And as the face of the Collective training program, Megan makes herself available to her users whenever they have questions. 

Best DAM outcomes

As a result of these robust training resources, Crayola Gallery users trust the system to meet their needs for content storage, organization, and distribution. The system now has over 600 users — domestic and international employees, freelancers, and contractors — all of whom are able to access the files they need on their own. The Collective is their one-stop shop for over 100,000 assets, and leverages collections and Portals to help users easily connect with the right content.

Crayola also uses Workflow, to facilitate the cross-functional art review of packaging. Proofs are routed through as many as 12 departments, including international teams. The system keeps every reviewer accountable, and provides visible sightlines to project milestones. Megan said, “They all trust the process to be efficient.” And as a result, they have used Workflow to review over 400 projects thus far! 

Megan said that their Workflow approval process has brought significant efficiencies to processes across the company. “It has replaced a long email string for approvals...and encourages employees to think outside the crayon box.” 

Mark Rogotowicz, Digital Architect at Spraying Systems

As the digital architect for Spraying Systems Co., Mark had his work cut out for him in leading the implementation of their Collective site. With 500,000+ products, 200,000+ assets, 90+ countries, 8 languages, and a custom built ERP...he knew their DAM needs were sophisticated! His dream was to have a single source of truth for all global employees. Here is his strategy for getting it done.

Best DAM strategy

The Widen API was essential in building a DAM system that would integrate into their digital ecosystem and support a range of international users.

Multilingual success

Mark needed to translate the Collective into eight languages to meet the needs of his global user base. He designed the system’s permission structure to assign a language to each user role. Then his team built a Dashboard in each language, and developed a tool to automatically translate asset metadata that was added to the system.  

This translation software completes a daily scan of the metadata in the entire DAM system looking for updates or changes. It then automatically translates these metadata values into the other seven languages, allowing an addition that is made in one country to benefit the rest of the users. And this data exchange ensures that all users are working with the same set of metadata.

Quality over quantity

Mark also integrated their Collective site with tools that identify duplicate files with perceptual hashing. This technique creates a fingerprint of an image and then identifies similar images for an admin to review and determine which one to keep. This helps Mark ensure that teams are accessing only the most current file version, and that the volume of files in the system manageable.

Best DAM outcomes

These integrations — along with a tightly regulated maintenance process — has allowed Mark to achieve his DAM goal: an international, single source of truth. Now users in any country can view, download, and share assets in their native language. And it has brought incredible workflow efficiencies across teams and departments around the globe.

And the winner is…..

Best DAM Contest award ceremony

Summit attendees cast their votes...and crowned Mark the 2019 Best DAM winner! One voter commented that his use of the Collective, “well exceeds my overall expectations of what the DAM is able to achieve. Makes me more excited to grow my own DAM!!” 

Mark shared how Spraying Systems harnessed the power of the API to provide translated content to users around the world with a tailored experience in the Collective. And in doing so, he inspired Summit attendees to expand their understanding of what is possible with DAM technology. 

To see what other customers are achieving with the Collective, check out Widen case studies.

Topics: Widen Summit, Customer Stories

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