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Insights From the 2021 Best DAM Contest

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Blog header image: Insights From the 2021 Best DAM Contest article

The Best DAM Contest is always a highlight of the annual Widen Summit®. Three contestants compete for the prize of Best DAM by sharing their digital asset management (DAM) accomplishments in an eight-minute presentation, and then attendees vote for the most impressive and inspirational story.

Not only do attendees hear about DAM successes directly from their peers, but each presentation is packed with ideas to apply to their own Widen Collective® sites. All three contestants wowed our virtual audience with unique and actionable DAM strategies. Let’s take a look at key takeaways from each story.

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is an e-commerce platform that allows users to rent, subscribe, or buy designer apparel and accessories. Their creative team produces an enormous amount of product imagery — over 35,000 files each year. Before they invested in the Collective, these files were stored on an internal company server. Now, the Collective streamlines how teams access and share these files. 

In their Best DAM presentation, two of Rent the Runway’s retouchers, Max Kristula-Green and Juliana Werring, shared how they built a show-stopping dashboard for their Collective site. Their goals? To encourage system adoption and ongoing user engagement. 

Their strategy included:

    • Identifying the most popular assets and making them easy to access
    • Gathering user input to name the system (the winner - Archie!)
    • Creating several design mock-ups of possible layouts and color schemes

As a result, their dashboard is a beautiful, scalable, and branded experience that their users love (and love to use)! 

A design mock-up for the Rent the Runway DAM dashboard.

A design mock-up for the Rent the Runway DAM dashboard.

Werner Co.

Werner Co. is a global company that manufactures and distributes ladders and climbing equipment. They implemented the Collective over a decade ago and decided to update the site structure and user experience to be more consistent with their current brand and processes. EJ Fromer, their Marketing and Learning Content Manager, was up to the task. 

In his Best DAM presentation, EJ shared how he leaned into the usability approach outlined in Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, to optimize their DAM site.

His strategy included:

    • Gathering user feedback 
    • Simplifying the elements on the login page and dashboard
    • Consolidating conversion format names
    • Reducing asset groups and user roles 
    • Refining metadata fields and asset groups

The result? Users now need to think a whole lot less to find the content they require! The overall user experience of the Werner Co. DAM site is now simpler, more intuitive, and enjoyable.

The updated and streamlined DAM dashboard for the Werner Co. DAM system.

The updated and streamlined DAM dashboard for the Werner Co. DAM system.


As the number two wireless provider, T-Mobile is a large organization with multiple lines of business and brands. In 2020, they were tasked with optimizing their Collective site, which they call TMAP, against the backdrop of a company merger and a global pandemic.

In their Best DAM presentation, Content Manager, Kara Bone, and Senior Content Operations Manager, Sherwin Tolentino shared how they rose to the challenge by rolling out “one DAM system to rule them all!”

Their strategy included:

    • Making the dashboard a branded experience, with several button design features
      • Size hierarchy to emphasize brand portals
      • Color coding to indicate brand affiliation
      • Text to designate portal type
    • Refining portals types (brand, campaign, creative summary, and resource)
    • Creating basic, advanced, and admin training resources

The success is in the numbers — a user survey before the redesign put the TMAP approval rating at 44%, and after, that figure increased to 69%! Their strategy of having one DAM to rule them all resonated with their users, and expanded the value that TMAP provides across the organization. 

T-Mobile’s dashboard uses a variety of design features to create a friction-free, branded user experience.

T-Mobile’s dashboard uses a variety of design features to create a friction-free, branded user experience.

2021 winner

After all the votes were counted, Kara and Sherwin from T-Mobile took home the crown! Summit attendees really appreciated their approach to bolstering long-term user engagement and plans for future use of their Collective site. Congratulations, Kara and Sherwin!

For more highlights from the 2021 Widen Summit, read the full recap here


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