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UMass Amherst turns brand confusion into brand cohesion with the Widen Collective®

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst is a top-ranked American university with over 30,000 students and faculty spread across four area campuses. They rely on the Widen Collective to protect their brand by ensuring each campus has access to consistent and high-quality brand materials.

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.

Portals Portals

Curate collections of assets and create personalized brand experiences.

71k+

Total assets in the Collective

2k+

Logins in the last 12 months

28k+

Downloads in the last 12 months

 

The Collective helps UMass Amherst get control of their brand by providing them with a single source of truth for their digital assets.

 

 

Solving the “branding confusion” problem

 

The power of a dedicated digital asset manager

 

A unique customer support experience

Challenges 

Without an organized solution to manage digital assets, the creative and marketing teams across the various UMass Amherst campuses struggled to find the brand materials they needed.

“It was described as the wild west,” reminisced Brittany Hathaway, Digital Asset Manager at UMass Amherst. Digital assets — and duplicate assets at that — were scattered across Dropbox, Box, and email. This resulted in a lot of unnecessary storage costs and left teams unsure of which assets were available and approved for use. Without clear direction, teams often took matters into their own hands.

“We found that all of the colleges and universities had their own logo, own approach to things, and had hired independent people to design fun and catchy things,” said Brittany. “But by doing so, it created a branding confusion.”

Objectives

Organization
Eliminate digital asset chaos with a single source of truth.  

Brand protection
Ensure only consistent and quality digital assets are used.

Streamlined workflows
Provide campuses with a fast, easy way to access assets.

Discoverability
Make it easy to explore and find the best assets for the job.

Solution

Brand management
To combat branding inconsistencies, UMass Amherst underwent a comprehensive wordmark rebrand — or rebranding of the typographic representation of their name. Armed with a more aligned brand, the university was determined to reform their ways and find a digital asset management (DAM) solution to help them better manage their valuable brand assets.

After careful consideration, UMass Amherst decided on the Widen Collective, which they fondly renamed the “UMass Collective.” “My leadership team did a phenomenal job creating a cohesive brand with our wordmark,” said Brittany. “Using the Collective to house the branding material is definitely a way to control all of that.”

Single source of truth
The Collective provides UMass Amherst with one organized location to house their digital assets, giving their teams a reliable way to discover and find the most up-to-date, approved brand materials.

“It is a curated environment where freelance photographers, graphic designers, and our university photographer can all have their assets living in harmony,” stated Brittany. “Having it available in one place — again single source of truth — and having it available at high quality has been perfect.”

“Widen sold itself because of their support staff and because of how comprehensive the software was in the first place.”

Brittany Hathaway,
Digital Asset Manager
UMass Amherst

Benefits

Team empowerment
Before the DAM system was in place, sharing assets was difficult and therefore limiting.“We used to control what people could see, and that became very difficult for us to anticipate everybody’s needs,” noted Brittany. But now, the creative team’s work is a more visible resource to other departments across campus. “The DAM sort of opened up [a] big culture shift. We’re showing what’s really available and the full breadth of all of our assets with just minor things removed rather than telling you what you need.”

Streamlined workflows
“Once Widen came on the scene, it changed everything,” shared Brittany. “Collections can be made to easily share content from the same event or for the same marketing campaign. It’s supremely streamlined how our creative teams across the entire campus get stuff done. And who doesn’t like that?”

Equipped for success
Creative and marketing teams can now find the digital assets they need, when they need them. “When they’re looking for an asset, and they want to know if an asset exists, they go to the UMass Collective,” explained Brittany. “And it’s there!” UMass Amherst teams now have access to the tools and resources they need to effectively communicate their brand.

A nurturing partnership
UMass Amherst has found a true partner in Widen. “My training with Widen has been so incredibly warm and encouraging and validating,” added Brittany. “I really did start to feel encouraged that I could get it done and that my users would start to see results sooner than anyone had ever anticipated.”