Spyderco is a global leader in the cutlery industry. In addition to managing a worldwide distribution network and manufacturing resources in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and China, their innovation has earned them an impressive portfolio of patents, trademarks, and industry awards.
Digital Media & Marketing Manager
Spyderco had long relied on Dropbox to house their many product photos and brand assets. But a clunky interface, poor customer service, and an error that caused all of their assets to disappear routinely, led them in search of a creative and permanent solution.
For this case study, we sat down with Kristi Hunter, Spyderco's digital media and marketing administrator, to discuss the path that led the Colorado-based manufacturer to Brandfolder, the unique way they're using the platform (They use it to power their whole website!), and how they plan to leverage Brandfolder moving forward.
Before Digital Asset Management (DAM), Spyderco used their own shared network for internal asset sharing, and employed Dropbox for the external sharing of assets. "We found that internally we struggled with removing outdated assets when something was updated," says Kristi. Her team also struggled with how to let the rest of the company know which assets were new and which were outdated, without having to delete old assets completely.
"Externally, Dropbox was a band-aid that had more issues than I can relate, not the least of which was that a user could delete all of our assets if they didn't read the directions we provided." This meant that not only did Kristi and her team have to spend time repopulating the Dropbox, but users visiting during the time in between the wipe-and-repopulate couldn't find the assets they needed.
"We had to build two libraries of our assets — one we would share and the other as our Dropbox backup." Additionally, Dropbox didn't offer the company any type of search or logic for their assets. "It was not user-friendly for our staff or for our visitors," Kristi explains.
Spyderco's marketing team also found communication difficult. "We are a relatively small crew. You'd think that would make communication easier, but everyone is wearing so many hats that things would fall through the cracks." Hunter's team would receive new images and load them into one of three different locations on their internal network.
That meant that the product images might update in hard copies of their print catalogue, but not through online portals accessed by retail partners. "We'd make evolutionary changes in our product, but those changes wouldn't be reflected on our website, where our consumer relies on seeing those changes."
"Truthfully, our search process was fairly minimal. I knew we needed something different, but I didn't have a lot of time to search. I did a little searching, but quickly realized that no one in the DAM landscape offered what Brandfolder did," Kristi says.
Hunter also enjoyed Brandfolder's onboarding process. "It couldn't have been easier! I had our kickoff call with the team from Brandfolder, and once I started loading our assets, it was up within a few days!"
When asked to describe her interactions with the sales and customer experience team, Kristi gushed, "Awesome, amazing, easy, comforting... it truly is a pleasure to work with everyone from Brandfolder. I have never felt anything but positive during or after an interaction with the Brandfolder team. Everyone is not only knowledgeable but they are so kind, in the most authentic way."
"It has absolutely increased our efficiency and, even more, our sanity. We're a creative team and it's really hard to be creative when you're bogged down in technical stuff. The sanity piece is huge because having that weight off of you allows you to be more creative."
Spyderco has also enjoyed how user-friendly Brandfolder is. "It provides such a professional and polished presentation of our assets. It truly represents us the way we want to be represented," continues Kristi. "We take our reputation very seriously. To know that when someone visits our Brandfolder, it feels like Spyderco to them, that's huge." As far as adoption goes, Kristi admits that there was some nervousness when she first announced Brandfolder to the team. "They thought it would be 'one more thing to learn.' Then they got there [to Brandfolder] and it was really pretty and easy to figure out. Our graphic artist loves it. I'd say, overall, it’s been very easy to adopt and to adapt to Brandfolder." Today, Hunter says 100% of her team uses Spyderco's Brandfolder.
Hunter used to spend time fielding questions about Dropbox, or solving issues for team members and partners two to three times a week. "Since we've been with Brandfolder, everyone is as quiet as a church mouse!"
Kristi's team especially enjoys the search function, which makes it easy for them to sort through hundreds of files. Dropbox wasn't a visual platform, so it required customers to know the name of what they were searching for. That, coupled with Spyderco's struggle to update products with the most recent images, was a recipe for wasted time.
Now, dealers and distributors have access to their Brandfolder, which is always up to date and easily searchable. "We share our Brandfolder with our entire distribution network, which spans over 70 countries around the world," explains Hunter. They also share their Brandfolder with media partners who depend on Spyderco's ability to provide accurate assets for use in articles, features, and more. Like most companies, Spyderco understands that making assets easy to access makes them a more valuable partner.
Spyderco releases new products twice a year: once at their largest trade show and once at their largest consumer show. "People get hyped up about our products and like to see images," Kristi shares. "It's difficult to get media coverage on products that aren't available yet." So, to be able to quickly and efficiently get press releases and images out — it makes the partnership that much smoother, and it allows the press to write articles every company wants to have written about them."
All Kristi has to do is share the guest login with interested media. Then she and her team can monitor what assets contacts access, ensuring that the correct assets are being used time and time again.
While Brandfolder solved many of Spyderco's pain points, there was still the issue of their website. When they updated one asset, it was still a challenge to get that asset updated in all the places it was used — particularly the website.
"I really loved the concept of only having to update an asset in one place and having that update pushed everywhere on our site. I reached out to Brandfolder and asked for a solution to this pain point and Brandfolder delivered." Kristi worked with Brandfolder's product team to use the existing API to create a dynamic sync between Spyderco's DAM and their website.
"We launched a beautiful, new website in November, 2016, and the dynamic sync ensures that our site is always current. I couldn't have asked for a better tool!" Hunter continues, "We kept hearing 'get your assets in one place' to ensure your assets are accurate, safe, and relevant. I couldn't think of a better place than our website to do this." "Our website is the largest space of our company. It's always on, and it's always there. Whether it's consumers, or us as a company, when we encounter something new, we all go out to the Internet and search. I know our website is going to come up first, and this was the way that I could ensure that the face of our company always looks its best."
Spyderco's been busy making the most of their Brandfolder, but they're not stopping there. The company plans to use a Brandfolder collection for their advertising team next. Kristi says, "We have so many ads that we think creating a collection (rather than a shared network drive) will help us ensure we're sending the most accurate ads to our media partners." It could also streamline the process of approving and submitting ads. "We have a library of ads on our internal server, but it's still time-consuming to find the one you want."
Currently, Spyderco is using their Brandfolder to store product images, press releases, and logos. They also include a "People" category to make it easy for their customers to find the right contacts in the event they forget who that is. They've also synced all past and present print catalogs on their Brandfolder. These PDF versions give customers and internal team members an easy point of reference, should the need arise.
In closing, Kristi says, "I can't say that I have ever dealt with another company where every single person I interact with is upbeat, knowledgeable, and willing to help me. They're always willing to go the extra mile for us. And I don't think that's an isolated case. In today's world, everything is all about instant gratification. It's really refreshing to know I can call or email Brandfolder, and I'll get the info I need and a piece of zen right along with it.