How does a single marketing team create and distribute 4000+ campaign assets to over 200 franchisees – all while adjusting to a temporary 90% reduction of staff? This is the question we had for Amy Lofgreen, Marketing Director at BaseCamp Franchising.
In October 2019, Amy helped the BaseCamp marketing team find and implement a digital asset management system to help them with ongoing challenges with its franchisees. Little did they know how indispensable the system would be in March 2020, when a global pandemic was announced. This interview shares her story.
To start us off, can you tell us a bit about BaseCamp Franchising?
“Of course! We’re a franchise of about 200 resell retail stores. We have a young adult brand, Uptown Cheapskate, and also a children's brand, Kid to Kid.
We always do what we can to help the customer, as well as our franchisees, have the best experience they can with our stores. A challenge with some resellers is that you have to go through 20 things before you find something great. We provide training to all of the people buying products to resell in our stores so that what you'll find on the racks is actually something in-season that you would find in a store right now. It’s a very sustainable business that keeps all the money local. We're really proud of what we do, and how we help communities and the environment.”
We’re always curious, what initially caused you to start evaluating the marketing team’s tech stack?
“It was maybe a year and a half before I moved to the marketing department, and I vividly remember how it happened!
The executive team was sharing their concerns with me about the marketing team. We have always had a really good group of people on our marketing team, but there had been frequent mistakes – things like the wrong phone number, the wrong image, etc. – but with 200 stores and 2 brands it's bound to happen. After evaluating the situation, it was clear that the problem wasn’t with the people, but rather the system they were using – we, as a leadership team, were failing them, not the other way around. We knew we had to get the marketing team a better solution.
I set out to find a few alternative products and solutions to our challenge, before handing it off to one of our Marketing leaders to make a selection. After vetting a few products, they ultimately decided on Wrike. So, long before I was on the marketing team, they adopted Wrike and a lot of the pain points that they had diminished during that time.
In the future, we knew that our DAM would need to connect to Wrike – we wanted to build connections, not just another barrier that we’d have to hurdle over.”
So, now that you had Wrike in place, why was MediaValet added to your tech stack?
“While Wrike was able to help, the franchisees felt they didn’t have enough assets for the many posts and advertisements they were making monthly. They needed to jump through a ton of hoops to get their marketing needs met.
The largest stumble that we continued to have was that while we were creating great assets, the franchisees didn’t even know they were there to use. We invested in creating beautiful content, yet off-brand content was still being produced by franchisees – not because they wanted to break brand standards, but because they needed to get the information out to the customer quickly. The goal of our DAM project was for the marketing team to become more franchisee-centric, and to do it incredibly quickly so the franchisees weren’t waiting a year or longer for things to get better. This was the major keystone of the project.
What I didn’t realize though, was how many hours were being spent by my team just trying to find assets. I assumed they knew where everything was, but quickly realized that there was only one person that actually had our server memorized. As a result, she was relied on to answer everyone’s questions about where assets were. Now, once any set of assets are added to our DAM, she’s never asked for those assets ever again.
The extra time we got back from implementing a DAM has created more bandwidth of my team to get to all sorts of projects done that were unfeasible before. We were so optimistic about what we were going to achieve in 2020…and then COVID hit.”
How has MediaValet helped you during the crisis?
“February was our annual meeting, so between October and February, I wanted to make sure that we could have MediaValet up and running quickly. Little did we know what was coming our way. We were so thankful that MediaValet was completely functional as March 11th, 2020 rolled around.
They announced a pandemic on March 12th, and I informed the team that everyone was going to be working late that day. I could see that stores are going to be closing at a fast rate, and if they weren't closing, we would need to change everything we were doing. Resell is not an industry where people will feel confident if they feel like germs are floating about – and we were very sensitive to that.
So, that day, we created a Branded Portal containing 60+ newly-created assets for counter displays, standing displays, new store hours – anything the 200 franchisees would need. And before we even left that night, our franchisees were already printing and using the new signs in their stores – this would have never been possible without MediaValet. I get really emotional, because it’s a time when you really need to support your franchisees, and thanks to MediaValet, we were able to be there for them.
Before the crisis, my team would work 530 hours per week, and when COVID hit, our hours were drastically reduced to 53, due to reduced sales and the overall economic environment. Despite this, I still needed to get a new Q2 and Q3 for two brands out, as well as create both closing and reopening kits. The challenge with these kits was that we weren’t entirely sure when the stores would re-open – would we be using summer or fall images? As a result, we had to make multiple kits so they would be relevant in warm weather or cooler weather.
So, during that time, we created assets that would normally take up about three quarters of a normal year for two brands (which was about 4000 assets), on our reduced schedule. Miraculously, we were able to hit our deadline for Q3 and complete our reopen kits nine hours before the first store even asked for them. That would have been completely impossible without MediaValet.”
Have you experienced anything unexpected?
“I wasn’t expecting the amount of praise and positive feedback we’ve received from our franchisees during this time. Their vision of marketing has changed significantly now that they feel they’re supported with the assets they need to be successful. They continually express that our marketing standards have increased significantly. In reality, our marketing team isn’t creating better work – MediaValet is just showcasing the amazing marketing they were already creating.
The franchisees used to not trust marketing. Now, on an almost-daily basis, they're praising me and my team. MediaValet has completely changed the relationship between our franchisees and the marketing team.”
So, what’s the next step for BaseCamp and digital asset management?
“We’re going to be re-doing our internal website, which is clunky and hard-to-search, and moving everything our franchisees need, including documents, over to our DAM. Specifically, we’ll be using Branded Portals to curate content for franchisees from each department. I’m hoping the old site will be gone before 2021!
Another feature that’s been picked up by our franchisees is the new cropping tool. I upload every asset from our photoshoots, which aren’t always social-media-ready, but our franchisees post multiple times a day and need quick, continual access to photos. I’ve created a cropping template for every element of social media (for example, Instagram posts and stories), and then they can easily create their own social media posts in optimal sizes.
The last thing I’m working on is getting my creative team onboarded. They’re currently working on servers, which can – and have – crashed, leaving links broken and designs unsaved."
Ok last question, any pieces of advice you’d like to give to others looking into DAM?
“We implemented multiple technologies at the same time as MediaValet, and MediaValet was head-and-shoulders above the rest when it came to onboarding. In fact, when COVID came around in early March, MediaValet was the only one that was ready to go. Everyone says that they provide white-glove service, but MediaValet actually does it.
I’ll admit, I’ve set-up platforms before, so I really didn’t think I’d need much help, but I’m so happy I took advantage of MediaValet’s onboarding. My Customer Success Manager walked me through the onboarding process and got us from point A to point Z without the blink of an eye or any sense of frustration.
My rep was so patient with me and helped me rethink how I should set things up so it would work for each franchisee. Some franchisees owned multiple stores in both brands, so we had to come up with a unique way to set up permissions for each person. My Customer Success Manager did all the hard work and trained me and the team. It’s so easy now because we got it right the first time.”
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 unlimited users, training and support, MediaValet helps retail organizations extend their assets across the organization, as well as franchisees and partners.