Partnerships at Widen are fairly new, but on the rise. We’re approached by several organizations each month, wanting to know more our partner program, how we approach partnerships, and what they stand to gain from being a Widen partner.
Our stance is simple – we want to partner with quality organizations that complement our service and value doing great things together. For us, it’s less about additional revenue and more about shared learning and welcoming new customers together. We look for organizations that are like-minded about business, transparent about goals, and fun to work with. Because for partnerships to be successful, they do require work.
To paint a picture of what it’s like to partner with Widen, we’re going straight to the source. Meet Widen partner, Jeff Kelch, President of Clio Scan and Digital.
1. Tell me about your business, what does Clio Scan and Digital do and what is your role in making things happen?
Clio was established to break down the archival walls, that idea that everything has to be organized in a folder in a physical fashion. We focus more in digitization and access to documents. Our key offering is the archival scanning and digitizing of documents, magazines, catalogs, slides, negatives, or glass plate slides. it’s fairly likely that we’ll get into media conversion. There are fewer options in that market and it’s common that I’m talking to a customer who has a lot of media that they’re curating and they don’t know what to do with it.
But we don’t just do archive. We consult with celebrities and museums and do an assessment of what we believe needs to be done and how to get from point A to point B. I’m looking to see if the client has physical assets that need to be accessed. One thing you’ll see from us in the next few months is an initiative we call Brands with Fans. We will be helping companies that have a large brand, and connect with their fans, through social media and advertising. Their fans could be movie star fans, celebrity fans, or just fans that just like to buy a certain kind of shoe, like Converse for example. Fans may like Chuck Taylors, and why? It goes way back to the concept of how and why Chuck Taylor shoes were first created. Because the history is just as important to the consumer as the new stuff. These stories are built upon and continue to make customers loyal. The only way to do that is to go back in history to the old documents and repurpose them in social media at the right moments. We can help brands extract images and build relevant data and content around those images to create a story. We’ll connect the image and the document through a small story. We have people on staff who do that once something is in a DAM solution. Then those pre-populated stories are built and the brands can grab them and put out there, 10, 50 or 100 times a year. As often as needed. The bottom line is about creating access. And you can’t have access without a place to put it, so that’s where Widen’s DAM solution, the Media Collective, comes in.
I have a mosaic background, so I try to surround myself with unique people who also have unique backgrounds. People who are less structured archival kind of people and more in tuned with the digital world – photo, capture, digitization. I’m charged with moving things forward and if we align with these types of people, things will grow.
2. How long have you been a Widen partner?
We’ve been in talks for almost a year, but I haven’t actually been a partner very long – maybe 3 or 4 months.
3. How did you hear of Widen and why did you want to partner with us?
At my previous job, I was part of a partnership team that was asked to research DAM companies and determine who would be the best resource for us as a partner. Some of our folks were looking for a significant profit margin on the DAM services, so they went with a different source and, all along, I felt Widen was the best match for us.
The look and feel of the UI and the fact that it was user friendly were the main reasons why I was in favor of Widen. I could see that from having very limited access to the solution. I’m not a customer, so I haven’t lived on the solution day-to-day, but I know enough from my comparison to the other solutions we ended up using, that Widen’s solution is easier to use. And the customer service is amazing. With our other partner it would take days before got an answer to a problem and Widen has always been extremely responsive.
4. How is your business connected to DAM and other marketing technologies?
The DAM solution is vital to creating access. It’s the link between the born digital and the physical assets. The story isn’t complete until you have the physical assets in there, so we get the physical and work with other technologies to complete the story.
Many companies have created more files and documents in the past 10 years then the first 100 years, but does that make the recent 10 years more important than those first 100? It doesn’t. Organizations still need access to those documents and that history and the time and effort that goes into finding that information without a DAM solution is so consuming. It’s a tremendous waste of time.
5. What are the biggest benefits from being a Widen partner?
It’s been a short period of time for our partnership, so I haven’t realized the full benefits yet, but I hope we will refer customers back and forth. My goal is to find new clients with physical content that needs digitizing and also need that content to be utilized by a DAM solution. Being able to point to a solution like the Widen Media Collective means more to me than trying to make extra money off my client. The ongoing work that Clio does to marry the physical assets with born assets can provide value to those Widen customers who may not be as engaged in their Media Collective site, and may be sitting on digital assets that could be used and shared and build their brand story. Our partnership can close the gap on an organization’s assets.
6. If another business asked you about partnering with Widen, what would you tell them about your experience so far?
So far the experience has been great. It’s primarily been planning, and internal conversations and customer meetings, but Widen’s people have been amazing. It helped that I was able to come meet you all in person since I’m close. That’s something I would highly recommend to other partners - meet in person! The way Widen sets up appointments with me and my clients, and your demos, and the way the product is sold is less about selling and more about a conversation. It’s about educating and sharing. The product speaks for itself and that comes through. Even in some of my first demos with your team, the solution really spoke for itself and no one was pushing the pedal about the Media Collective being the best. It was just clear to everyone that it was the best.
There are many people in the museum world who need a better solution for DAM. The museum world is bogged down with these archival systems that are built through open source or other ways simply from a cost perspective. If they would spend the extra money on a real DAM solution, the payback would be so worth it because they would get so much more out of it. Right now, they get a system that takes too long to figure out and they don’t have anyone to turn to for training and then it’s an unsupported platform and they don’t learn anything.
Widen does a great job with user level comfort and the support they provide.
7. What things are working well with our partnership?
The first thing is the way your team demos. They have been done very well, for me and my clients, and that’s important because I’m recommending Widen and need to feel confident my client will understand why I’ve recommended you. I also have access to executive level when I need it, which is essential in order to know my business and to continually strengthen the partnership. I’m open to driving up to Madison a few times a year to find out what’s new with your offering and product. It would be great to have a couple of times a year when we’re [partners] spoon fed that information.
It’s all about bringing in new clients and presenting each other the best. I know that the DAM portion will be taken care of with Widen. I would only recommend one name. That’s the point of a partnership, right?
To learn more about what we’re doing at Widen, visit us at widen.com.