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Global consumer electronics company improves product marketing by delivering product assets to e-commerce site and marketing communications teams faster and more efficiently.
HARMAN designs and engineers connected products and solutions, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions, and connected services, for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide. As HARMAN grew, it became more and more challenging to supply all stakeholders with the right assets at the right time – especially during times many consumer products were being introduced at once.
HARMAN has business units all over the world, including regional organizations, country organizations, and distributors. It is also represented by offline and online resellers and deals with many vendors that contribute to its marketing assets. All these groups need assets to market or sell HARMAN products. As the need for product assets and information grew, they realized they needed a more efficient, automated, and scalable solution than their combined use of a marcomm bank, FTP, Dropbox, network drives, and WeTransfer tools.
When assets were created in India, Canada, the U.S., or China, it would not be uncommon for it be mailed or shipped to marketing teams in New York, Amsterdam, or elsewhere in the world, or for those teams to actively pull assets in. This was quite expensive considering the time lost in transit and the opportunity cost of marketing teams loading assets into systems rather than simply using the assets.
Combine this with a growing focus on e-commerce and online retailers needing assets even faster and more structured, and it was clear HARMAN needed to find an improved solution.
Support the rapid growth of the business by eliminating manual processes, loading assets at the source, and ensuring everyone that needs them can get the latest version of all assets at a single place.
Deliver product images and assets faster to allow for pre-order and timely NPI.
Eliminate time wasted on duplication of asset loading. Load them once at the source.
Create a single, central source for teams to find all available product assets.
Scalable DAM and PIM systems
HARMAN needed to find a way to get their product information and assets to their e-commerce site and partners faster and more efficiently. They started by implementing a product information management (PIM) system. “We had that PIM [and] we realized we also needed a good DAM,” says Arthur Werner, Director Global E-commerce & Operations at HARMAN International. “We definitely wanted these to be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based. We didn’t want our internal IT capacities to hold us back or to be any barrier for growth when it came to speed and global access.”
Choosing the Widen Collective
“Widen was a great match. We wanted something that was SaaS-based and we wanted something that was adaptable,” Arthur says. He added that HARMAN needed an application programming interface to integrate with the PIM system and that they liked the Widen Collective’s user interface. Now, the Collective supports delivering assets to their e-commerce website and their marketing communications teams and stakeholders globally. “[The] PIM still feeds the websites and provides both the assets and the copy, but the ‘owner’ of the asset is the DAM,” says Arthur. Once an asset is added to the Collective with a matching product ID, it’s uniquely associated to that product in the PIM system. A custom integration seamlessly facilitates this flow between DAM, PIM, and their website. If an asset is then updated in the Collective, changes are also reflected automatically online. This promotes a single source of truth for all of HARMAN International’s assets.
Faster time to market, more time for marketing
Arthur says the top benefit of the Collective is that they know they are looking at only the latest version of an asset. There’s no more confusion on which of the four or five copies are the most up-to-date. “The other benefit is just the process that we have been putting in place with assets being loaded at the source – by internal or external agencies – so our marketing people can focus more on actually doing marketing,” says Arthur. And those loading into the Collective don’t have to think about how to categorize an asset or know where to put it. If it’s a lifestyle image, they select the upload profile for lifestyle images and the Collective automatically puts it in the right category, assigns the appropriate metadata, and adds it to the right asset group with security settings. “It doesn’t tie up people that really shouldn’t be spending their time on processing assets, but should just be using these assets.” “Now that this is set up, there are still areas that we can improve, but I know it’s solid and I know it’s standing.”
"Widen was a great match. We wanted something that was SaaS-based and we wanted something that was adaptable."
Arthur Werner, Director, Global E-commerce Projects, HARMAN