Eric has been with Pacific Cycle as a graphic designer since 2008 when he started as an intern out of school. A ton of work goes through his small department, so they all end up having a lot of responsibilities. Eric inherited their old digital asset management system from the web department since he was already organizing their photography assets and shooting most of their product photography.
Here’s a photo of Eric in his workspace!
1. How long have you been a user of the Media Collective?
We started using Widen in 2011. We had a different service before that, but we migrated to Widen and went live in late 2011.
2. How often do you use the Media Collective?
Pretty much every day. I’m loading assets, doing admin stuff and searching and downloading. We have about 3,000 users across all of our brands. Pacific Cycle is one division of Dorel and we all deal with different customers and different distribution channels than the rest, but we share the Collective and admin our own sections of the system. There are some users who will move between the sections. It’s been nice to have a system that we can use across all brands instead of three different sites.
3. How are your users using the site?
Pacific Cycle sells a lot of product to relatively few customers compared to our divisions so for us, most of our users are internal users needing access to the information, as well as some external users like agencies and designers who need temporary or permanent access to files.
4. For what kinds of activities are you using the Media Collective? Is there anything unique that you didn't know it could do?
I use it mostly to search, upload and download. We’ve been up and running for a while now, but I recently learned more about the Dropbox integration and what it was really capable of. That’s a great thing about Widen – if there’s a feature I don’t know about and I want to know more, it seems like Widen can make it happen for us. The new way collections are being handled with sharing and custom layouts is pretty cool and I’m trying to get people on board with them. Collections have been there for a while, but I don’t think our users knew about them. It’s been nice to bring that feature to our user base.
5. I understand you're making use of our Dropbox integration. What was happening that made think you could use the integration? And, what are you doing with the Dropbox integration?
I heard about the integration when Widen released it, but I wasn’t super interested in it the first time around. Jake (Widen’s Sales and Marketing Manager) posted something on Widen’s LinkedIn group with the BEAM Interactive customer example and I was surprised by their clever implementation. I never even thought of using it that way. Our marketing department has really ramped up our social media activity lately, so I looked into it and found that the BEAM Interactive example was a good fit for where we’re headed. Then, I contacted Widen’s support and they pointed me in the right direction. We’re doing more contests on social, Instagram posts, and video on YouTube. Right now we can push content outward, but I wanted to be able to grab user-generated content from social media. We’ve been running contests involving specific hashtags, so we set up an IFTTT recipe so if someone tags an image with that hashtag, then those images are automatically uploaded to the Collective. Once I got Dropbox and the Collective linked together, it just worked right away. I actually had to dial it back some because we're getting so many photos! I also have a system message to show users how to pull assets from the Collective directly into their Dropbox. I know that one of our other divisions, Cycling Sports Group, was pretty excited about the Dropbox integration, too. They’re already using Dropbox in their workflow, so having the integration with the Collective is great.
6. What is the most useful thing the Media Collective does for you and Pacific Cycle?
The Collective has been a great resource by allowing us to keep all of our digital assets in one service and being able to convert a master asset to other formats on-demand. Before we used a DAM system, we needed to output several different file types and resolutions based on e-mail requests – now we can direct users to the Collective. An automated self-serve system like that is a huge timesaver. We benefit a lot from the power of metadata and being able to search across all of our assets to have that birds-eye view of everything we’ve got across all of our brands. Additionally, having the ability to control access for different users allows us to extend that same power to our internal or external users, but limit access to only the stuff they need to see.
7. What are your favorite apps on your smart phone?
The Widen app, Netflix, YouTube. Just the regular... Facebook, Google.
8. Which tech websites or blogs do you follow?
Wired, The Verge or Gizmodo. I’m a graphic designer, so in addition to that its design-related websites like HOW.
9. What do you think is the most important thing other users should know about using a digital asset management system?
The importance of having a well-organized scheme for your systems and planning out your metadata in advance. Figure out the right metadata to put in there and organize the site in a way that will support that metadata. It’s important to look at users from the admin point of view, what’s it going to be like managing all of those assets going forward? During setup, I might have made things too complicated as we had a lot of extra asset upload profiles and user roles. After a few months, I deleted some of that and made it easier. So you need to plan for your site structure, but don’t over think it. You can start simple and make it more complex as time goes on.
The other thing I’d say about Widen is if I have an idea and talk to Client Services or Support about it, Widen either already has it – but I didn’t realize it – or they make it happen. So to new users, I’d say ask Widen questions. They can help you make those things happen.