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With the Support of a Full-Time Admin, Brooks Advances Their Use of the Collective

Brooks Running uses digital asset management (DAM) to power its global creative process. As the secure, central location for all brand content, it allows teams to have self-serve access to the content they need when they need it.

Products used

img_icon-01 Assets

Catalog, control, and distribute rich media assets from a central source of truth

Insights Insights

Track and measure assets and build site performance dashboards

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Control your brand assets across all mediums with expiration dates and versioning

 

Use API integrations to build B2B asset sites

 

Understand your digital asset production with data analytics

Challenges

Brooks Running leads global markets in selling specialty running products across more than 60 countries. They’re a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, employ 1,000 people, and believe a run can flat out change a day, a life, or even the world. Each year they produce over 30,000 new digital assets that are distributed to global teams of creatives, sales reps, and retailers.

“Brand is everything,” shared Trey Bailey, Digital Asset Manager at Brooks. “It's your image, it's exactly who you are and how you want to be seen by your markets.” But before he stepped into his role as their full-time DAM administrator, Brooks struggled to present their brand consistently across digital channels, products, and storefronts. Although they implemented the Widen Collective® years ago, very few people understood how to use it. So image requests were funneled often through one creative director, resulting in delays across numerous workflows. Teams resorted to using old content stored on their own computers, making it impossible to present a uniform brand experience. Trey knew they could solve these brand management challenges by finding ways to optimize their DAM system and increase user engagement. So he rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

Objectives

  • Brand control
    Create a cohesive global brand experience 

  • Global access
    Streamline workflows and increase sales agility

  • Central location
    Manage all brand content in one place

Solution

Effective metadata
Everyone from internal creative teams to external agencies and retailers can now easily access the Brooks Running library of digital assets. But that didn’t happen without a lot of thoughtful planning. Trey shared how he developed a unique metadata schema that includes fields like campaign, season, designer, sales region, and SKU to organize their content. 

He also created a controlled vocabulary structure to ensure everyone used the same keywords to describe assets. “You can use the analogy that if you tell a group of people to draw a house, everyone is going to have something that looks different. That’s what we were finding with the metadata that anyone was allowed to put in.” Giving users metadata terms to choose from creates consistency across all assets in the system. Trey also created role-specific upload profiles that pre-populate metadata values for several fields. These strategies build accurate and thorough metadata throughout the system, and power a friction-free search experience for his users.  

Integrated systems
Trey shared that before he became the full-time DAM admin, they often struggled to get the right product shots and videos to retailers in time for a campaign or new season. To simplify this process, Brooks built a B2B asset site and integrated it with the Collective using the API. “So we have a brand-to-brand site that pulls from the API and it directly uploads. Now, instead of just sending a six-digit sku, we’re able to include an image that helps with identifying colors.” Having access to these images helps retailers make fewer mistakes when placing orders. 

They also plan to use Widen’s API to connect the Collective with web content management (WCM) tools, to allow digital assets to automatically flow from one system to the other. This integration will create valuable workflow efficiencies and ensure only current content is being used across their website.

Content analytics and insights
Did we produce the right amount? Are they being used? When you’re creating over 30,000 assets a year, these questions need to be answered. With the Insights app in the Collective, Trey is able to see which assets are being viewed and downloaded by retailers and various teams.

Insights data is especially valuable in understanding their asset performance across social media. “All our social assets come from the DAM [system]. A lot of them are created from an external agency…and then the social teams pull those assets and utilize them in the social media platforms,” Trey explained. He creates reports that help show how their assets performed on specific social platforms. If they discover that their social media agency produced too many Facebook assets and not enough for Instagram, or vice versa, they can adjust their workload budgets accordingly. 

 

“Last year we had 30,000 assets put on the DAM [site] and it really does help justify this software. If you can imagine creating 30,000 assets in just one year. Try to find a logo in that pile, and it could get a little crazy without the organization of the Widen Collective.”

Trey Bailey, 
Digital Asset Manager at Brooks Running

 

Benefits

Brand control
“One of the most important aspects of any brand is their logo,” said Trey. But, he continued, “logos aren’t static for the entire life of the company.” With the Collective, Brooks is able to ensure that teams only have access to the most current version of any brand asset — including logos. “We’re able to curate what our global markets have access to, and that helps keep unity inside of campaigns,” Trey shared.

And with embed codes, when a file in the DAM system is updated this new version is instantly published everywhere that file is online. This helps ensure brand consistency across digital channels around the world. “If you have something where the asset is going to be utilized not only in North America, but in Europe, you want to make sure that it’s the same asset and tells the same story,” Trey shared.

Empowered users
Secure, self-serve access to content in the Collective has allowed Brooks to eliminate bottlenecks across numerous workflows. Image requests no longer need to be processed by one team! And because everything is organized with effective metadata, users find what they need quickly and easily. “So now, with a more organized collection we’re able to actually go through and systematically…find all of the logos that are available for your region,” he shared. The Brooks merch and sales teams can do the same for their product shots and product videos.

And Trey has further streamlined his user experience by limiting the content available to each user role. “We have some products that are only available in certain regions of the globe, versus some products that are available globally,” explains Trey. “So, instead of someone outside the country accessing every product shot and every colorway they only see what they are able to actually sell in-country.” 

A strategic partner
With Widen, Brooks has found a true partner in developing a strategy to continually grow the use and value of DAM across their organization.“The customer service that Widen provides is unparalleled,” said Trey. “I can email anytime, I can ask questions when I need to, and I can go online during the day and talk with support.” 

He continued, “It’s really, really important because the software is a bit of a blank slate and needs customization. So being able to utilize the customer service from Widen has really helped keep the product around, as well as grow it.” As their organization changes and evolves over time, Brooks and Widen will continually advance their use of the Collective to meet their brand management goals, together.