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Case Study: How Life Fitness uses digital asset management to power creative and global marketing operations, part 2

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Digital Asset Management & the Brand Experience


In part 1 of our Life Fitness case study, we focused on five major talking points that included how to take control of your content, why Life Fitness needed a DAM system, as well as how Life Fitness uses their DAM system to manage their global marketing operations and product launches.
In this installment of the series, we’re going to shift gears and focus on how the organizational power of a robust digital asset management system (DAM) system can help create a cohesive brand experience — even on a global scale.
The following material was originally presented at the recent HOW Design Live conference in Chicago, IL, where I was lucky enough to co-present with Kate Bennewitz, the creative project manager for Life Fitness. Kate’s team uses the Media Collective, Widen’s flagship DAM software platform that offers a comprehensive, integrated, scalable DAM solution for Life Fitness, an international company that handles multiple brands.
One of Kate’s main goals when choosing a DAM solution was to remove “workflow hassles” from the company’s day-to-day processes so they could spend their time on strategy, creativity and fun — what we like refer to as the good stuff.

Creating a brand experience
Life Fitness needs to communicate both internally and externally to all of their marketers, distributors and customers around the world. They need to ensure they’re telling their brand story cohesively across numerous mediums and languages. This becomes especially challenging as they dive deeper into the technology realm as their consoles, websites and apps all need to have to one unified experience. Throughout this communication process, it’s Life Fitness’ DAM system that keeps them organized. That being said, you might be wondering …
How does Widen’s Media Collective help keep Life Fitness organized?
When you have product managers, engineers, industrial designers, channel marketing associates, sales teams and technology leaders all using Life Fitness’ digital assets, a robust DAM system is a necessity in order to stay organized and efficient.
Within the Media Collective, Life Fitness has built out customized user groups that align with their internal structure. Because of this, Kate and her team know who’s using what, where they’re using it and how they’re using it — which helps them ensure that digital assets are being used in a way that meets their brand standards for each and every application, from a tweet, to print and online ad campaigns and beyond.

Through the Media Collective, Life Fitness has developed a very sophisticated schema for user system governance and collaboration, which is also very flexible. It offers unlimited roles, permissions, asset groups (and user assignment) to allow for maximum control over their digital assets. For more details on roles and permissions, check out our short video in the How it works: Roles and Permissions blog post or check out our other blog post, Digital Asset Management User Roles and Permissions.

Since Life Fitness’ DAM governance model is so scalable and flexible, it easily allows them to stay organized and provides the right amount of collaboration in a variety of situations. To follow are a few examples.
Trade shows
Life Fitness exhibits at 120 trade shows around the world. Without DAM, this could easily turn into 120 times that their brand message is convoluted in some way, shape or form. The Media Collective provides Kate’s team with tools and processes to successfully get their events and tradeshows unified, so the customer experience is identical at every trade show.
Their DAM software allows for the sharing of important trade show assets with the click of a virtual button, and even allows their teams to choose what format they need for a particular region of the world — greatly reducing the need for back and forth communication (which leaves more room for the good stuff we mentioned earlier). Communicating internal/external support, videos, tradeshow graphics and messaging for their global brand presence is made possible through the use of Life Fitness’ DAM system.
Video files
It seems like someone always needs a video file in a different file format. Having the functionality to choose different formats from within your DAM software can be a huge time saver and stress reducer. As long as a user has the proper permissions, he or she can go into the DAM system and select the right video in the right file format without having to make a request or wait for a response (which can take many hours when working with offices in different parts of the world).
In addition to being a time saver, this built-in functionality keeps each team member’s workflow intact. They get what they need, implement it and move on to what’s next.

You may have noticed Dropbox and an app called Box in the image above. These are two (of many) cloud-based apps that easily integrate with the Media Collective. These types of apps are sometimes a good option when working with freelancers and partners who have no permissions in your DAM system, but need access to a limited amount of assets. With their Brunswick brand, Life Fitness prefers to use Box for situations like these, because the app links directly to each asset, making them readily available outside their DAM system.
Google Analytics
Life Fitness’ DAM software is connected to Google Analytics, which gives the team insights into all kinds of relevant data, including where each user is coming from, what they’re searching for and what digital assets are at the top of their list. This data gives Life Fitness insights into what should really be included in DAM. It can also raise questions, like what are they having trouble finding and why? This line of questioning, based on accurate data, is extremely valuable and directs the DAM admin as to how digital assets may be reorganized — and how roles and permissions may need to be modified, at least for certain individuals.
Global usage of DAM
When you’re an international company, Google Analytics can really help you assess what’s working in different regions and what’s not. For instance, Kate and her team are in the process of a site overhaul, and they’re diving into what’s called “site mapping” to figure out how each of their asset groups should be honed for improvement.
Through the integration with Google Analytics and their DAM system, Kate’s team can go country by country to see the variable of usage, what marketing tools teams are downloading most and what team members are searching for — all of which brings Life Fitness relevant information that enables them to make better decisions on how to serve their users by tweaking and reorganizing their user groups.
User groups
Speaking of user groups, Life Fitness has a set of users who need access to their product imagery, as well as 2D and 3D models. With this user role in place, all of their architect and gym planner partnership requests can easily be filled day-to-day without the need for a phone call or email. This allows their DAM system to be their “one stop model shop.”
Service and support
Up until now, we’ve been reviewing how DAM technology assists Life Fitness in powering their creative and global marketing operations. But there’s also a human component from your DAM vendor that goes into the implementation and ongoing sustainability of a successful DAM system. In a nutshell, it’s all about the service and support you get from your vendor.

Sam is an in-house Widen employee, not a third-party customer service provider. He is an integral part of our team, and often is the catalyst to making improvements in our DAM software — which makes sense, since he’s working day in and day out with our customers. 

Sam provides Life Fitness with bi-weekly calls, daily support, tips, tricks and more. He’s currently helping the Life Fitness team reorganize their DAM site and continually provides them with key insights during their calls and on the fly whenever necessary.
At Widen, we don’t just provide outstanding DAM software. Part of the solution is expert, approachable service every step of the way — from our first interaction before you’re an official customer, to having those ongoing discussions, like Kate and Sam have all the time.
Big job, small team
Life Fitness’ small but mighty team of six are the sole owners and communicators of their evolving brand. Thanks to their DAM solution, they’re better able to manage a global marketing team and remain the world leader in fitness!
In conclusion
DAM is the engine and the central source for everything Life Fitness creates and disseminates globally for all their brands. The Media Collective seamlessly integrates with so many other systems and workflows that they use, streamlining their processes while keeping them incredibly organized and efficient. 
Through the organization prowess of a DAM system, Life Fitness is able to build brand consistency, brand loyalty and brand longevity — helping them preserve 45 years of history and assets that need to be retained for reference and repurposing.

In the final installment of this series, we’ll cover eight useful tips that Life Fitness uses regularly to help them work smarter and make the most of their digital assets and their DAM system.
Until then, you can watch the full presentation to learn more. You can also request a demo to get a hands-on experience with our Media Collective, or simply contact us to talk further.

Topics: Customer Stories

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