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The Widen Summit Goes Virtual and Connects Customers Worldwide

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When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade...or so the saying goes. And that’s exactly what we did for this year’s
Widen Summit. While we all would have loved to meet in person, we needed a different game plan during a global pandemic. So we moved the event to a virtual platform, and are thrilled that it allowed us to share the Summit experience with more people than ever. Over 500 registrants to be exact! And here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event. 

Solving the content messiness problem

Sticking with tradition, our CEO Matthew Gonnering opened the ninth annual Summit by admiring the impact Widen customers are making around the world. This year alone - through August - there have been over 15 billion asset views from Widen Collective® sites. Six million of these views were for 10,000+ COVID-related assets, that support corporate communications, media relations, global causes, and even ways to stay on-brand from home with company-designed Zoom backgrounds. 

But using the Collective to remain agile is nothing new. Matthew reminded us that Widen has been “solving the content messiness problem since 1996” when we launched our first digital asset management (DAM) solution. And we’ve continued “working diligently on designing and organizing relevant data to help you solve your most pressing content problems,” he said. With content constantly evolving and changing, our new PIM solution, with the addition of Entries and Paths to the Widen Collective, helps centralize product data and keeps it aligned with product content and branding by combining forces with DAM.

Before concluding, Matthew challenged everyone to spend the next two days listening for one small content messiness problem to address right away, and a bigger one to tackle over the next few months. And there was certainly a lot of inspiring content to help attendees discover new ideas for addressing any lingering content woes. 

A photo of Matthew Gonnering in 2012 filming a promotion for the Widen Summit. And a screenshot of Matthew speaking at the 2020 virtual Widen Summit.

The Best DAM Contest

For the fourth year, contestants came together to show off the amazing things they’re doing in their DAM sites. This year, we had three sites competing to be crowned the Best DAM: Jodi Levin and Shelby Thorner from Autodesk, Amy Nguyen and Kimberly Kuhn from Life Time, and Jennifer Deauville from NVIDIA. 

All three presentations were informative and inspiring. It was incredible to see the support and engagement from attendees as well. “Great presentations, everyone! Love to see all these user engagement ideas,” shared one attendee. “Getting some good ideas I want to use here,” wrote another. 

In the end though, there can only be one winner and that honor went to Jennifer from NVIDIA for her “simple” approach to DAM with easy-to-use training assets, intuitive metadata, and an empathetic approach to user adoption. Read more about the Best DAM Contest and watch the full contest here

Pivoting, product data, and new friends

This year, we wanted customer stories to take center stage at the Summit. But that’s not to say we didn’t have a few stories of our own to share. 

Widen's 2020 product roadmap: a year pivots

2020 has certainly been a lesson in how to pivot — among many other things — but being nimble has been especially crucial this year. At Widen, pivoting is what we’ve been doing for the last 70 years. “Every time [customers] encounter a new challenge, we see it as an opportunity to innovate,” says Deanna Ballew, Chief Innovation Officer at Widen. And at Widen, our innovations help simplify your content lifecycle so you can be more productive, uncover new potential in how you work, and make your day-to-day more predictable. That’s why we’re working on new functionality like:

Asset digest 
A way to navigate to related assets by metadata, recently viewed assets, or tags. 

Enhanced Portals features
Dynamic galleries and dynamic filtering to allow you to curate assets within portals. Portals page management will alleviate the need to link portals together manually and instead let you build multiple pages within a single portal. And batch downloads will make downloading multiple assets from portals easier. 

New mobile app
A new and improved way for you and your teams to access assets on the go. 

As we innovate, we continue to seek new opportunities to make your content lifecycle more predictable and automated so you can spend more time deciding how to use your content rather than how to find it. 

Connecting data

Our fourth year of Connectivity research is underway and we shared some of the preliminary findings with our Summit audience. This year’s report focuses on the connection between product data and trust, specifically data like product size, weight, color, and material. 

In our findings, 35% of our respondents shared that product data in marketing builds trust in brands and 33% noted that it drives purchasing decisions. But how? That's what we are going to explore in our next phase of research. Look for the 2021 Connectivity Report out early next year.

Making friends along your DAM journey to success

A screenshot of Mandy Wagner speaking at the Widen Summit with a car interior Zoom background that aligns with the road trip theme of her presentation.

The road to DAM success is filled with twists and turns; some planned, some unexpected. But there are lots of friends you’ll make along the way to keep you traveling in the right direction. Head of Customer Success Management, Mandy Wagner, and Head of Consulting and Implementation, Rebecca Running, took us on a road trip to introduce some of the people you can expect to meet along the way. 

At Widen, your journey begins with implementation consultants who will get you started. Once you’re up and running, customer success managers will be your companions and guides. If you run into some bumps along the way or want to add some more power, the consulting team and managed services are there to help. And if you need to check your manual, we have several go-to options including Widen University, Widen User Groups (WUGs), and Widen Connect, the new online community and support center. 

While every road trip includes great people, delicious snacks, and likely some unexpected turbulence, knowing your destination and having friends to call on if you need help will make the journey that much easier. Watch the full presentation here

Connecting and learning together

One of the most powerful benefits of the Widen Summit is the opportunity to highlight key topics and commonly asked questions through customer stories. This year, DAM admins from around the world shared how they optimize metadata to improve search, leverage portals to improve sales capabilities, and use training to build user engagement. 

Attendees also had a chance to come together for topic and industry specific roundtables where participants asked each other questions, shared strategies, and gave impromptu demonstrations of their Collective sites. One benefit of being virtual was watching people connect. There were so many nods, ah-ha moments, and collaboration points happening across time zones.  

At the end of day two, participants joined problem-solving workshops led by Widen experts who shared their knowledge to provide guidance in answering questions like:

  • What can I do to create better and more consistent metadata? 
  • How do I get buy-in from my leadership team and other departments?
  • What can I do to get better internal adoption and engagement in the DAM system? 

This was a great way to wrap up the day and one last opportunity for attendees to reflect on Matthew’s challenge to identify something big and small to work on within their site. 

Activities for the mind, body, and funny bone

One of the highlights for our in-person event is definitely the social activities. And while they might have looked different, we still managed to have fun from afar! 

Each day opened with yoga led by Widen Customer Success Manager and certified yoga instructor, Betsy Reznikoff. And Betsy also led stretch breaks throughout the conference to keep everyone loosened up and inspired. 

A juggling workshop with 10-year Las Vegas headliner, Jeff Civillico, and trivia kept us on our toes and laughing to wrap up the day. 

Mark your calendar

While we all would have loved to be together this year, being able to share the Summit with so many new faces was really amazing. As one attendee put it, “miss being in Madison but this was truly the next best thing,” and we couldn’t agree more. Coming together virtually and watching the support, encouragement, and excitement for the presenters and each other via the chat was incredibly inspiring. We’re proud to have the best DAM customers in the industry. 

Thank you to everyone who attended this year and we can’t wait to see you next year. Save the dates for the 2021 Widen Summit, October 19-21.

Topics: Culture & Company, Widen Summit, Product Updates, Best DAM Contest

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