SCOTT Sports is pure adrenaline
BY MICHAEL J. KRÄFTNER
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 2 2015)
In many companies disarray rules: content such as photos, videos and audio files are filed somewhere and can never be found again in the vastness of the server landscapes. Thus, companies are faced with the challenge to restore order to the data chaos.
Marketing departments, graphic designers or agencies can vouch for this: the search for images, videos and documents, the so-called “digital assets”, and their conversion into other formats is a full-time job. Research of thousands or millions of media files can take a long time and often returns even poor results if any at all. It is frequently not known which files are available, which program will open them or how they are to be used. Therefore, digital assets are unlike any files or content for companies. They are valuable content elements, which can cause extra costs through lengthy search processes or even multiple purchases of the same.
Any company that works with a lot of assets therefore has to deal with certain challenges. Questions such as “Where is the design for the event invitation from last year again?”, “Where do we have a photo of Mr X on file?” and “Where are the product images from the recent catalogue?” cannot be answered in 35 percent of cases. The required content has gone missing somewhere. Countless versions of one file, some in poorer quality, and redundant data are other symptoms of an uncontrolled asset flood.
If a company works with a lot of pictures, videos or audio files, the use of a professional solution for Digital Asset Management (DAM) is recommended in order to attain the desired results. Such an application, just like a strong logistics system, is capable of providing the entire value chain of marketing with images and clips, audio files, presentations and copy. In particular, the dynamic world of sport uses meaningful imagery in its marketing efforts. And these images need to be distributed. The sporting goods manufacturer SCOTT Sports, for example, founded in the USA in 1958, sells its products in 80 countries via an extensive dealer network, which includes more than 30,000 stores. Not for nothing, the company is considered one of the most famous bicycle and sports brands in the world.
Nevertheless, the recovery of certain assets from the nearly 60,000 multimedia snippets still posed a serious challenge for the employees of SCOTT until recently. All content had been stored on an FTP server and with each newly added product, image management became more difficult. Eventually, the relatively simple image database was no longer sufficient. A centralised solution was needed, one that could reflect the broad asset portfolio. Even the network of dealers, partners and external agencies needed an easy way to access product images, project images and logos in order to be able to distribute this digital content further.
Looking for a way to restore order to the existing chaos, the choice fell on celum. The company from Linz in Austria is specialised in DAM and offers professional software for managing assets that haven even met the high demands of the sporting goods manufacturer.
The DAM solution could be easily integrated into the existing SAP system via a custom-developed interface and smoothly assimilated with the existing product information management system (PIM) made by hybris, a partner of celum.
Updated product images can be automatically transferred into the PIM system and no longer disappear without a trace in the jungle of assets. Each authorised employee can easily find the images, because the new solution provides users with a comprehensive search function. Employees can search by name, key words, colours, descriptions and many other search criteria. Once the matching file is found, it can quickly be passed on to the right departments.
The rights to upload and download data on individual national websites as well as the reading and editing rights are controlled via an intelligent user management system. External partners and agencies can quickly obtain access in order to avoid the time-consuming manual transfer of contents: With the so-called PIN-links, it is easy to make single assets available to everyone without compromising the security of confidential data. “Now we are able to answer any queries efficiently and much faster, we can even automate the process,” says Rolf Bigler, e-Commerce Manager at Scott Sports and responsible for the project execution. “Gone are the days where we had to laboriously collect the information from different servers.”
Even if another media format is needed, it is no longer a problem anymore. With the DAM solution, the used media formats can not only be standardised but converted directly from download with just a few clicks into another format. Rolf Bigler certainly is convinced of celum’s system.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Interview with Reto Aeschbacher, Brand&Marketing Division Manager, SCOTT Sports
BY SANDY STRASSER
Mr Aeschbacher what is the philosophy behind the SCOTT Sports brand?
Reto Aeschbacher: “Innovation - Technology - Design” that summarises our mission of several decades pretty well. For us, this is the DNA; the products are clearly paramount. On a deeper, more emotional level, our philosophy could also be described with the words “Ambition - Authenticity - Passion”. Because all employees at Scott love sports, they understand what the consumer needs and on what grounds product development and communication must be based. We just love what we do. Our brand statement, however is ‘NO SHORTCUTS’, meaning not to make any compromises. The easy way is definitely not always the best. Today, this statement is more than just a slogan for communications, it characterises the whole company and its everyday work. No matter if in product development, sales or customer service.
What type of people particularly identify with your brand?
R. A.: We address a target group, which bases its search for sports products on innovative technology and performance. Also in design, we clearly have a more progressive approach than our competitors. Hence, our focus is on ambitious athletes. Of course, here at Scott we also offer a complete range of products for the more general public.
What do you think is the appeal of outdoor sports?
R. A.: We are convinced that people today are looking for and need a balance between a hectic everyday life, business life and the digital networking. This compensation can take on various forms but the outdoors and exercise are certainly the ultimate relaxation for many.
What is your strategy in terms of corporate communication?
R. A.: We have an overarching brand communication strategy that integrates all product groups, so that we can reap the benefits and synergies of the various sports. Its design is very emotional, because consumers should understand what our brand stands for in order to be able to identify with it. Apart from globally connecting communications, a global positioning is clearly important for us as well. We sell on all continents and also see opportunities for growth in the new markets in the future.
Which media channels are particularly important in this respect and why?
R. A.: Actually, today, all communication channels whether online or offline are very important. It is crucial, however, to see how these will be coordinated in order to achieve a real impact. Clearly, in the past few years, digital channels have gained in importance massively, after all to communicate through them is much more agile, direct, global and target group specific. A massive budget redistribution has taken place in favour of online communication.
How do you live up to the challenge of lively and targeted product communication?
R. A.: Thanks to digital media and technology, the possibilities for product communication have changed dramatically. You no longer see those rather dry and sober presentations; instead information today often appears in the form of animations or films, making technologies easier to understand, or even self-explanatory. The source of this inspiration was most definitely the electronics industry. Really important is just that the audience is addressed right. A mechanic, for example, needs a different product communication than an interested end consumer.
How important is it that not only your products but also the style is in the premier league, so to speak?
R. A.: This is a very important point, because sport is always image and lifestyle as well. The brand that is used is therefore an important element in the presentation. Especially in the sporty and high-end range, consumers strongly identify with brands and their image.
What is the typical Scott look actually?
R. A.: In order to guarantee our product design and graphic design language in the long term, we have a clearly defined process for how products are developed and how they must look before they can go into production. Here, our Product Advisory Board decides on issues that affect the product design, such as graphics, colours or logo position. A long-term strategy is important as it lends continuity that results in our particular Scott-product DNA. A Scott product has to be fast, innovative, functional and look progressive.
Who sets the trends of tomorrow at Scott?
R. A.: That is an interesting question. I see an interplay of many factors. On the one hand, internally we have many employees who are deeply immersed in the issue themselves and actively engaged in sports and can thus identify trends or potential improvements early on. Take for example the new wheel size 27.5 inches for mountain bikes, which three years later turned into a global standard. On the other hand, we work very closely with distribution, in order to learn about the different needs and trends of the different markets at an early stage. Scott Bikes sells in 82 countries where clear differences can be observed due to topography, culture and purchasing power. Even our team riders and our athletes will help us continue to move forward with the products. Especially in the performance area, developments are made to help shape the products for racing. But we also like to be inspired by other industries and products such as the automotive, furniture design or electronics sector.
The bike of the future ‒ what will it look like and what will it be capable of?
R. A.: It is difficult to define the bike of the future. I believe the trend points to bikes that will be even better and more clearly tailored to the target audience. I give you an example: In the past, we saw “only” one road bike; today, we have an aerodynamic bike for flatter routes, a super lightweight one for mountain stages, another one with comfort geometry for training and tours. However, in all product categories related criteria have a role to play such as weight, comfort, design, and function. Not to forget, the e-bike, which has opened an entirely new market and appeals to new consumers. Generally, the issue is closely linked to the megatrends of the century such as environmental protection, sustainability, fitness, health, mobility, technology, electronics and digital networking. We will see a strong demand for bikes in the future, be it for sport or mobility.
Celum is the leading global developer of marketing technology software for brand and product content management. celum solutions are used in companies such as 3M, Condor, Hochtief, L‘Oréal, MAN, Toshiba, Toyota and VW.
SCOTT SPORTS SA
Picture credits © Scott Sports/Athlet - Marco De Gasperi