How Under Armour is Answering the Call for More Content, Faster
Everywhere you look today, creative content dominates the landscape—across the web, mobile phones, social media, TV, brick-and-mortar stores, and on billboards. With so much content streaming into our lives, it’s easy to underestimate just how much work goes into producing every image, video, or interactive experience.
But a quick peek into the daily rhythms of creative and marketing teams shows they’re working harder and faster than ever to meet rising content demands. Driven by the undeniable demand to speed content creation and delivery, many companies are looking for smarter, more efficient ways to create, share, manage, and find creative assets.
The challenge at Under Armour—assets everywhere
At popular performance brand Under Armour, the challenges—and advantages—of accelerating content velocity are evident, especially at a company where creative teams have produced hundreds of thousands of assets. If that sounds like a big number, consider that Under Armour sells thousands of products, each with its own collection of photos, videos, and descriptions. The Under Armour HOVR Phantom SE running shoe, for example, comes in multiple colorways, and is shot from five angles. This one shoe might require dozens of creative assets to catalog and promote.
Creative content like this is the lifeblood of sales and marketing at Under Armour. Retail stores use it to run promotions, and event managers for special events. Wholesale partners rely on it for their product catalogs. Marketers tap into it for campaigns spanning the website, advertising, and email.
Despite the obvious value of these assets—and despite all the time and effort creatives spend on them—they often disappeared into a patchwork of repositories, from individual’s hard drives, SharePoint and Dropbox to file servers and USB drives. It could be like a series of black holes that slowed everyone down—creatives, marketers, wholesalers, retail associates, even customer service reps.
Increasing content velocity with Adobe
Under Armour knew something had to change. The company initially moved 5TB of content into a central digital asset management (DAM) system. The DAM continues to expand with the addition of new creative assets and marketing content. Now, everything is in one place, from product shots to promo videos with sponsored athletes.
“We wanted to create a single source of truth. Our goal was to create a one-stop shop where you can find any asset you need,” says Ben Snyder, IT Product Owner at Under Armour. “Adobe Experience Manager Assets is a great enterprise option to make a variety of assets available internally and externally.”
More than just a central repository for Under Armour, Adobe Experience Manager Assets removes obstacles that previously made it difficult to produce and find resources. Snyder explains how the solution boosted content velocity in three main areas.
The creative process is faster and more collaborative
Under Armour creative teams are extensive users of Adobe Creative Cloud, using features such as Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries to share design elements and Adobe Premiere Pro to collaborate on fast-paced video projects. With Adobe Experience Manager Asset Link, design teams will be able to do more collaborative work without leaving the apps they use every day, editing and sharing files with marketing as they go.
“Adobe Asset Link can help us manage images when they are still a work in progress, from uploading to reviewing and retouching,” Snyder says. “Our experience with the tool has been very good, and we look forward to exploring new use cases.”
Tagging assets is no longer a slog
Snyder and his team devised an automated tagging system in Adobe Experience Manager Assets, which makes it easier for creatives to upload their finished assets—and make sure they can be found later. Adding a single material code automatically pulls in more than 20 product attributes, including name, style, color, and sports category based on a tight integration with Under Armour’s master data management solution.
“Automatic tagging through Adobe Experience Manager Assets saves a lot of time for creative teams as they upload files,” Snyder says. “And it surfaces many assets that might have gotten lost previously.”
Finding files is quick for users
By building an external-facing portal called Asset Share Commons, Under Armour made it possible for marketers, customer service representatives, retailers, and wholesale partners to find assets faster. They can search and download in bulk, and even edit image resolution and file type on the fly—which is particularly helpful for wholesalers in need of large batches of product images and descriptions.
“In the past, it could take a week for marketing to gather all the imagery needed for a particular event, such as a pop-up store with a featured athlete,” explains Snyder. “Now, with Adobe Experience Manager Assets, they can find all the latest materials in minutes with a quick search in one spot.”
A springboard for innovation
Under Armour is an excellent example of what it looks like when a company commits to greater speed and efficiency with its creative assets. The result is high-volume, high-quality, high-velocity content deployed across its many channels, with space to keep improving.
“Adobe Experience Manager Assets gives us a great launching point for innovation as we improve the way we manage some of our most valuable resources,” says Snyder. “We’re already saving time and money by making our creative assets more accessible, and we’re eager to keep exploring the benefits.”