How James Carter Drives Brand Consistency

How James Carter Drives Brand Consistency

How does one of the world’s largest global information companies ensure brand consistency across 45 countries? This was the question we had for James Carter, Global Brand Manager at Experian.

As a critical player in Experian’s marketing team for over 9 years and one of the key stakeholders in their rebranding exercise, James was the perfect person to talk to about how MediaValet has helped transform their brand worldwide. 

To start us off, can you tell us a bit more about Experian?
"Definitely! Experian is one of the world’s largest global information companies. When a lot of people think about Experian, they often think about credit - such as credit reports or scores - but we’re actually a huge data company, operating with around 17,000 employees across 45 countries.

Experian started predominantly as a B2B organization, but over the last 20 years, we’ve expanded more into the consumer side. We use data to ensure that companies and individuals understand their current situation and help them make better business and personal decisions."

Tell us more about your background and role.
"I’ve been with Experian for about 9 years now. My role has predominantly been in consumer brand marketing, covering advertising, television commercials, etc., but my most recent role is Global Brand Manager.

My responsibility is to ensure that our brand is cohesive and consistent across all business units and regions so that we’re all speaking with a single voice and brand vision. I work with our various teams and departments to ensure they understand our brand and visual identity. I identify how we, as an organization, should present ourselves, and how to best implement best practices and guidelines around our brand. This is where MediaValet plays a big role – we need to be able to organize all of our brand assets in one place to ensure consistency across all Experian business units."

What initiated your search for a digital asset management system?
"In 2016, we went through a major global brand refresh. It was a two-year project where we were trying to better understand our brand – our vision, strategy and purpose – and develop a new identity for ourselves.

Prior to this, our brand felt fractured, with each region having a slightly different look and feel. As part of the refresh, we needed to address how we could ensure that all Experian branches operated as a single brand. To do this, we would need new tools to enable us to work collaboratively across regions, borders and business units.

During the brand refresh, we were generating a ton of new brand assets. We needed a way to ensure all employees, partners and agencies could easily access them, as well as all future campaign materials. This is what initiated our search for a DAM."

Did you evaluate any other vendors?
"We ended up evaluating a number of other vendors, ranging from medium to large-sized organizations. As you can imagine, as a massive organization, we have very strict procurement guidelines and security requirements for vendors. With clear requirements in hand, we were quickly able to reduce the list to a few vendors, one of them being MediaValet."

What made MediaValet stand out?
"Since we would be opening our DAM up to the entire organization, we needed to ensure that the DAM would be easy to use for everyone at Experian, not just those with marketing or technology backgrounds. MediaValet stood out immediately as a front runner. It was a comprehensive, enterprise solution, that was incredibly easy to understand and use.

The other consideration was we wanted to find a partner. Someone that we wanted to work with, and, equally as important, wanted to work with us. We evaluated some very large DAM suppliers, but none of them felt personal enough. We wanted to work with an organization that would give us the training and insights we would need to make the DAM project a success.

The enhanced level of customer service was evident with MediaValet. Unlike other vendors, who focused on selling us features we didn’t need, MediaValet worked with us to find creative solutions tailored to the Experian team. We felt highly valued by MediaValet – rather than just another cog in a larger vendor’s machine."

How did you handle change management at Experian?
"We were already going through a brand relaunch, so we were lucky to have our teams’ attention. We used a phased approach to launch MediaValet, starting with our European teams, then expanding region by region. By January 2018, we had successfully launched it across the entire business, using internal communications and a series of training sessions, led by our Customer Success Manager at MediaValet.  

The benefit of using a phased approach is that we were able to see what was working and what wasn’t. For example, we discovered a better way to categorize our assets to make them more easily searchable. We continually adapted our library, so by the time everyone was using it, it was working in the most optimal way."

Were there any unexpected outcomes?
"One of the challenges we needed to address when we launched the brand refresh was how to get so many different countries using MediaValet. When working across regions, it can be difficult to maintain brand consistency, so high adoption of our new library was critical to better align our distributed teams.

When we launched MediaValet, I wasn’t expecting each region to embrace the platform as quickly and smoothly as they did. The functionality is so intuitive that all of Experian’s business units were able to start using it instantly."

How are you using MediaValet today?
"We don’t have a core central marketing region, so everything is done in business units, with dozens of marketing teams. MediaValet acts as the go-to point for all brand and marketing assets to ensure everyone is using the right assets, specific to their region. 

We’re currently storing about 10,000 assets in MediaValet. It’s used most extensively to manage and distribute the thousands of bespoke photographs and videos we’ve created for Experian. Anything and everything marketing, including tiny icons for website development, and, all of our logos and templates, are all made available using MediaValet."

What feature have you found the most beneficial?
"I’ve found the lightbox functionality and sharing capabilities to be extremely useful! They can prevent a lot of back and forth between myself and other teams. For example, say someone sends an email requesting a logo, but doesn’t specify the format. Rather than asking which format or size they need, I’m able to share a lightbox with a variety of Experian logos they can choose from. The freedom to simply share a link has made my day-to-day a lot easier."

How do you monitor the health of your MediaValet library?
"I monitor MediaValet on a monthly basis. Specifically, I look at the number of downloads, views, uploads and active users. I also work with our Customer Success Manager to review and understand the top search terms and the most downloaded assets. 

I don’t create specific benchmarks we need to hit each month, because it’s entirely dependent on people’s needs in any given month. Instead, I use it to identify access trends and popular content types. We’ve noticed we get a lot more activity during our Q4, since that’s when we host the most events, so our marketing and creative teams are using assets more frequently then.

We’ve experienced a really healthy level of growth, which is great to see because it means that people are getting value out of the system. It’s been particularly valuable during this time, when everyone is working from home and not getting face-to-face interactions."

What’s the next DAM project for Experian?
"We’re really happy with how MediaValet is working right now – in fact, we already feel like we’ve met all of our original objectives! However, as we get additional departments using MediaValet, we’re exploring new ways that we can squeeze more value out of the platform. 

I believe the next step is to start integrating into our other platforms, like Office Suite and other creative tools. In particular, we’re exploring ways that we can connect our assets with our website."

Here’s a fun question we ask everyone—What’s your favorite movie and why?
"I think it would have to be Back to the Future! It’s just perfectly made. It’s the type of movie you could come across on TV and, even if it’s 45 minutes in, you’re still going to sit down and watch the rest of it. I honestly can’t even remember how many times I’ve seen the entire thing, but whenever I come across it, I always end up watching it to the end."

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI. With our new jumpstart program, you can get up and running in 48 hours! Learn more about how we can help here.

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