Do your marketing efforts "Run Happy?"
At October’s C3 Conductor event in New York, I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Amy Clerget, the project manager at Brooks Sports. Amy shared the story of how Brooks Sports transformed their marketing efforts when they implemented a digital asset management (DAM) system.
But before we dive into the Brooks Story, let’s take a step back at the main reasons organizations struggle with their digital assets in the first place …
The digital assets dilemma
Does dealing with 30+ projects at one time sound familiar?
As you know, it’s quite possible that all of them fall on your plate. And if you’re on a team of 10 or more people, each with two or three dozen projects on their plate, you likely have digital assets scattered on various hard drives, local or cloud-based networks, team members’ local drives, etc. And if you’re a national, or international company you’ll also have to factor in teams that are located in different continents, as well as freelancers, contractors, vendors — all struggling to find the assets they need, when they need them. Quite often, team members don’t even know what the file name is, where it is, or even what their coworkers are working on.
Because of this, assets that already exist are often recreated because it’s easier to make them again as opposed to finding them in “the void.”
Not an effective use of anyone’s time.
But this dilemma is all too common in the digital age, where it’s easy to rapidly accumulate thousands of digital assets. If this sounds similar to your situation, that explains why you’re looking into the possibility of implementing a digital asset management system into your organization.
What is digital asset management?
A robust DAM system can easily store, organize, manage, share and track high volumes of digital assets — all from one central repository. With a DAM system like the Widen MediaCollective, there’s also opportunity for in-depth analytics like asset and collection tracking, Google Analytics tracking and more. In essence, digital asset management gives you control over your assets, and makes it possible for authorized team members to find what they need easily, on their own.
Brooks before digital asset management
Before implementing a DAM system, Brooks Sports was experiencing a dilemma very similar to the one outlined above. Amy’s creative team had dozens, sometimes hundreds of team members approaching them to ask for the assets they needed in order to do their jobs.
Sound overwhelming? It is. And it’s also near impossible for teams, even well-staffed ones, to organize and control this volume of work, which quickly leads to being overcommitted with no relief in sight —unless you have a DAM system in place.
Brooks Sports, a footwear and apparel company based in Seattle, WA, wanted a better process. Amy and her team wanted to create a much more efficient and organized environment, where their marketing and sales teams were running happy.
Brooks Sports entire focus is on one thing … the run. But it was becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the run when they were in the midst of a content creation and distribution process that wasn’t working anymore.
Let’s be clear, Brooks wasn’t necessarily doing anything wrong. The digital asset dilemma is a common problem organizations face before they transition to a DAM solution.
The good news was that Brooks Sports was crystal clear on their mission: to inspire everyone, everywhere to run and be active.
They also had a clear goal: To be the #1 brand runners love, worldwide.
At Brooks, there’s a firm belief that you should live the way you run, and you should run happy.
This unified focus was beautifully defined and created by their marketing and creative teams in Seattle. But they had to solve the following problems in order to deliver this message consistently and efficiently throughout the world…
The digital asset in a haystack
When team members needed to repurpose existing digital assets, they typically had no idea what the asset name was, or where to find it. So they’d come to the creative team for help. With no specific information, no single storage solution, and no metadata in place, assets couldn’t be found without a lot of effort and time on the part of the creative team and the requestor — which meant nobody was running happy.
Fractured asset storage
Brooks’ digital assets were everywhere: external hard drives, various networks, Dropbox, Google Drive, team member local drives, etc. With over 500 employees in the US, and more internationally, this was simply unmanageable. In addition, images had no metadata attached to them, so even if you were connected to the right storage source your image would be named something like 12863.jpg, which of course has no search value.
Constant re-creation of assets
What do we mean by constant re-creation? As an example, let’s look at Brooks’ regional marketing teams, and their seasonal request for Product Tech Sheets (sell sheets). The creative team would create, deliver and move on. But then, a couple weeks later, their sales team would need the same collateral. Since they didn’t have a digital asset management system to search, the sales team would go a creative team member. Often times, the creative team member would have no idea that these Product Tech Sheets already existed and the collateral would be created all over again — from scratch. Even if creative did know that the collateral existed, it was difficult to actually find the assets because of fractured storage and poorly named files. Big waste of time.
These were the three major issues Brooks Sports was dealing with before implementing a digital asset management system. Amy summed up all three at the C3 conference when she said, “most often, an employee would see another team’s piece of work produced by creative and want an iteration of that project for their own use. It would lead to tracking down design files, researching photographers and rights and checking with the original owner if their work could be repurposed. It was a constant hunt for information and creative.”
The transition to digital asset management
Brooks knew they needed to go from dozens of individuals and teams working independently, to one integrated team that knew what everybody else was doing. They also needed one central repository for ALL of their digital assets — including approved/completed assets, archived assets, and assets that were in the review process.
And if a team needed to know what another team was working on, or needed to check if a particular asset already existed, there had to be one accessible place — with appropriate software — where they could go to find out quickly and easily on their own.
Amy put it this way: “we needed a way to bring it all together, to turn those silos of people and information into integrated teams. By focusing our attention on platforms, process and people, we looked toward digital asset management, content activation and repurposing to help our teams run happy.”
After DAM system implementation
These days, authorized team members — including freelancers, vendors and the media — can log into the Brooks’ DAM system, enter a few descriptive keywords and get relevant results based on those keywords. Brooks Sports has done a fantastic job in creating metadata (a specific set of descriptors) for each digital asset, so there’s an excellent chance a team member will quickly find exactly what they’re looking.
Digital asset management gives Brooks a very holistic, robust way of handling their assets and bringing their teams together as a united front, so they now look like this …
Brooks’ DAM solution gives them a secure gateway to one central source of truth where all their integrated teams get the assets they need to do their jobs, and consistently carry the Brooks brand forward across all customer touch points.
Digital asset management provides Brooks with greater peace of mind, because they have a higher level of access control, visibility and agility. With DAM, the entire Brooks Sports team runs happy — internally and externally.
The image below is a screen capture of the Brooks Digital Asset Management system. It’s the go-to place for all their creative, digital and photography assets — from designers sourcing imagery, gurus sending tech sheets and retailer partners downloading point-of-sale materials.
Every single deliverable goes onto the DAM system, whether created internally or externally, here in the US or in Brooks’ international markets. This includes seasonal catalogs, social media assets, live events, all marketing collateral, videos, images, art and logos ...
With the Widen Media Collective, Brooks’ creative teams and agencies across the globe are are able to contribute, curate and circulate visual content with agility.
At C3, Amy described the process well when she said, “digital asset management is not only a brand portal that offers easy access, it’s a control point giving everyone greater visibility into what we have to do our jobs and carry out our mission. It allows us to drive a consistent customer experience across all channels.”
As you can see, digital asset management has made it possible for Brooks Sports to transform their process from running ragged, to running happy.
Their DAM system makes it possible for them to easily share and repurpose their message effectively, and accurately (remember, they’re an international brand). Both internal and external team members and partners can easily access the digital assets they need, when they need them, 24/7, without having to ask anyone for assistance. Plus, digital assets are only available to those who are granted proper access through the implementation of roles and permissions, which means that partners like vendors and freelancers only have access to what Brooks wants them to see.
Interested in learning more about a DAM solution?
Feel free to get in touch with a Widen advisor to chat. We’re always happy to help!