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Spicing Things Up: 2018 Best DAM Contest Participant Spotlight

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The Best DAM Contest Logo

In this four-part series we’ll get to know the admins who took center stage at the Best DAM Contest during the 2018 Widen Summit. This contest gives contestants eight minutes to highlight the best parts of their Widen Collective® site and share their biggest accomplishments with all Summit attendees. The Summit audience then votes for the most inspirational, engaging, and aspirational DAM story.

No two stories are alike as each contestant faces different challenges in their role as an admin and each offers a unique perspective about what they gained through their participation in the contest.

Read more about the admins, their accomplishments, and their DAM stories starting with our 2018 winner, Leah Hammes from McCormick & Company.

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Photo: Our 2018 winner, Leah Hammes, shows off her Best DAM trophy.

About the admin

Over the course of her career in digital asset management, Leah Hammes’ job has become increasingly sophisticated, exciting, and valuable to her organization. Today, as the Global Digital Content Manager at McCormick & Company, she leads the development of all strategies and activities to achieve global content management goals. In this role she works closely with senior leadership across multiple departments, and travels to McCormick offices around the world.

She finds that her biggest challenges stem from two issues: not having enough time, and trying demonstrate the ROI for content in the DAM. But because she is fortunate to work with a team of admins, they are able to tackle these ongoing challenges together.

With the help of her team, Leah’s list of accomplishments at McCormick is long. Their Collective site started with 30,000 un-tagged assets from a legacy system, and is now the company’s first and only global tool. They are proud of recent initiatives aimed at bolstering user engagement, including monthly training sessions, better use of Insights tracking, and a series of templates for everything from Portal requests to the company newsletter. And their future DAM improvement plans focus on continual refinement of asset metadata and site architecture, with the goal of improving search and asset accessibility.

Today, the McCormick DAM system has over 600 users across 150 countries. It contains over 75,000 assets — 10,000 of which are digitized historical content. These assets equate to 3.6 TB of data, and Leah spends approximately 75% of her time on DAM-related work every week. And what does she enjoy most about her job? The variety of responsibilities — each day is different.

Best DAM presentation

Leah Hammes Slide

“A Recipe for Success” was the theme for Leah’s contest presentation, which was perfectly appropriate for a spice company! She focused on how planning, alignment, and adoption are key for her global DAM system. Here’s what that looks like at McCormick:

  • Stakeholder relationships: Partnerships with other departments and leadership teams were essential to the adoption and growth of McCormick’s DAM system. This stakeholder involvement allowed many of the big or complicated decisions about the DAM system’s deployment to be made collaboratively. She said, “When you align with the other business units, especially leadership business units, you can have a much more successful partnership and more awareness and more adoption because it’s coming from the top down.”

  • User engagement: Feedback from super users has proven invaluable in refining the architecture and experience of the McCormick DAM system. But Leah also said it was important to listen to all of her users, because she never knows who is going to have helpful suggestions. She tries to empower her entire user base through a variety of training resources, both in person and online.

  • Defining and sharing success: Leah encouraged all DAM admins to determine what success means for them and their organization, and then how they want to measure it. To this end, she has regularly scheduled meetings with both McCormick leadership teams and her Widen customer success manager (CSM)  to review her DAM KPIs.

  • Growth and alignment: In creating a plan for continual DAM improvement and growth Leah modeled her efforts after the global enablement team, which helps refine and improve operations across the organization. This approach helps ensure that the DAM objectives are consistently aligned with other processes across all McCormick office locations. Highlights includes possible integrations with their product information management (PIM) system and their content management system (CMS) platform, a proliferation of portals, and enhanced user training.

This all adds up to company-wide adoption and enthusiasm for the DAM system. “Everybody wants a piece of this pie,” said Leah. “Because this recipe has gone viral — because we’ve got a great system and a tool — we’ve been able to grow our business because we’ve improved processes and connected our martech stack and enabled more people to spend more time doing what they were hired to do.”

Advice for potential Best DAM Contest participants

Leah was flattered when her Widen CSM asked her to participate in the Best DAM Contest. She knew that speaking for that large of an audience would be a valuable professional experience; and that she would enjoy sharing what she’s learned about DAM best practices with her professional community.

Her best advice for future contestants is to practice. The week leading up to the Summit she rehearsed her presentation two to three times a day. And she said that during all of this prep, she found motivation and inspiration in the opportunity to share what she’s learned with her professional community. She said she told herself, “I’ve been involved for a long time...and these are just my friends out here, who are all trying to learn.”

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Photo: For the fun of it! The 2017 Best DAM Contest winner, Jane Leutcher, isn’t quite ready to relinquish the title of Best DAM to Leah.


Learn more about Leah and McCormick’s DAM journey

[Podcast] DAM Training on a Global Scale
[Podcast] Widen Summit with Leah Hammes (née Carlson), McCormick & Company
[Podcast] Implementation Interview with Leah Hammes (née Carlson), McCormick & Company

Read more about all of the 2018 Best DAM contestants

Caroline Gardner, former Integrated Marketing Systems Associate at New Balance
Barb Mitrovic, Production Administrator at American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Melinda Lee, Senior Marketing Specialist at Kerry

Topics: Widen Summit, Customer Stories, DAMsters, Best DAM Contest

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