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Digital Asset Management Accelerates Material Distribution and Lowers Production Costs

By Marlee Rosen
Associate Editor

May 2, 2009

Largest private pet product manufacturer and distributor worldwide proves technology savvy in protecting and supporting its brands.

Founded in 1955, RC. Hagen Company has grown  into the largest and most effective privately run pet product manufacturer and distributor in the world.  Rolf C. Hagen Inc. has wholly owned subsidiaries in the United States, England, France, Germany and Malaysia; joint ventures in Japan, and South Africa; and strong partnerships in other countries such as Spain, Mexico, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and The Philippines. The RC Hagen (RCH) distribution capacity spans the globe to provide pet supplies to the independent pet trade. The company now directly employs thousands of people worldwide.  
RC Hagen distributes brand-related materials and product images to thousands of worldwide retailers-from the mom-and-pop pet store to such large national pet retailers .  With over 10,000 product images, distribution was costly and time consuming and the management of versions, and renditions (file resolution) challenging. As with all consumer products companies, time to market is critical for key product launches, but distributing and localizing branded materials often caused delays. Because RC Hagen is a global business, the marketing team faces geographic and time zone challenges for timely and efficient collaboration.  RC Hagen's marketing teams in different corners of the globe found themselves working on the same projects-recreating brand content that had already been developed. The result was higher costs, redundant effort and material creation, and branding inconsistency.   Moreover, as new materials became available, it was difficult for the corporate headquarters to distribute content in a timely and efficient manner, which could cause their various marketing teams to use outdated or inaccurate marketing materials.   Several plans to solve these challenges, including the creation of an FTP self-service site, failed due to complexity, scalability constraints, and security issues.
RC Hagen's primary goal was to improve brand integrity, enhance support for worldwide distributors, and reduce costs.  They felt that by implementing a solution that would help them to better manage product launch and branded materials, they could improve time to market, ensure content currency, and reduce redundancy and costs.  At the same time, they sought a solution that could automate the approval and distribution process for branded materials, enable rapid review of proposed materials, allow for the close coordination of marketing campaigns, with a central, on-demand data repository for all materials-ultimately reducing overall time to market and assuring brand consistency. 
RC Hagen utilized ActiveMedia from ClearStory Systems because it offered a configurable platform for developing sophisticated brand management solutions.  The digital asset management (DAM) system handles the full range of digital content, includes tools for content review and approval, and can deliver content through Web-based portals that can be easily accessed through a standard browser.  In particular, RC Hagen liked that they would be able to store their "gold standard," high-resolution images in ActiveMedia and, through a Web browser, make their content instantly available worldwide, transforming the content into whatever format is required by the user (e.g., an EPS file can be automatically transformed into a low resolution JPEG if the user needs a graphic for Web or on-screen presentation.) 
The brand hub organizes RC Hagen's vast content library.  Content is organized in alignment with the company's internal inventory system, so it is familiar and easy to use by both employees and distributors.  Having a central repository ensures that everyone has access to current images; preventing re-shooting an expensive image that cannot be found. 
Distributors are able to log on to the system for immediate self-service access to content, resulting in improved response time. A tremendous improvement over previous processes, whereby sales and marketing personnel would locate images, burn them to CD and ship them to the distributor. Corporate and regional marketers can now ensure that their customers get the right material at the right time for the right market.
This represents a huge resource and dollar savings for RC Hagen. What's more, centralizing all marketing materials and distribution processes through the system has stimulated a strategic initiative to provide a more centralized marketing function for the company.
With such efficiency gains and reductions in the costs associated with distributing branded material around the globe, RC Hagen anticipates accelerated global marketing programs and improved service to distributors.  In addition, by allowing brand teams to collaborate through a centralized marketing content hub, RC Hagen looks forward to improved time to market, increased channel visibility and market share, and productivity improvements through the intelligent reuse of content for campaigns worldwide.
RC Hagen was also able to improve control over its marketing content.  Through the DAM system's version control, the "gold standard" content is always up-to-date, resulting in improved brand integrity. This will be crucial during RC Hagen's product launches that cross multiple markets, assuring consistency in look and feel. RC Hagen also will have the ability to offer virtual "product launch kits" to distributors with comprehensive launch materials that will be distributed via the brand hub for improved time-to-market and sales effectiveness. 

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