Laura Mercier is a global cosmetics company that inspires women to embrace their individual beauty and put their best and most confident face forward.
Laura Mercier is owned by Shiseido, one of the largest and oldest beauty companies in the world. Shiseido purchased Acquia DAM for several companies within their family of brands, including Laura Mercier. But without a dedicated DAM administrator to oversee the launch and ongoing maintenance, the adoption of Laura Mercier’s DAM system stalled.
Laura Mercier teams continued to rely on Box, a cloud storage tool that allows organisations to store, share, and collaborate across files. The result was far from ideal. Duplicate, outdated files were scattered everywhere. Filenames were a mess. And there wasn’t an effective way for teams to search for photos, videos, and other creative assets within the tool’s folder-based system. Teams couldn’t find the content they needed. Something had to change.
In November 2019, Laura Mercier hired Anna Raugalis as their first Manager of Digital Assets. “When I started, my mission was to get [Acquia DAM] up and running as quickly as possible,” said Anna. “It’s a little daunting to start up with a new company while learning all about the brand — all the products, the internal workings of the office — and then to get the DAM system up.” Pair this with an impending pandemic, no predecessor to hand off the role, and a global team that was hesitant to move from their legacy tool — and Anna had quite the challenge ahead.
A DEDICATED DAM ADMIN
Hiring Anna was the first step in Laura Mercier’s quest to overcome their DAM challenges and transition from Box to Acquia DAM. “At a certain point, it became not just a day-to-day annoyance but something that was actually costing the company money, and something they wanted to invest in. They realised they needed a dedicated person who had expertise in DAM,” said Anna about the state of Laura Mercier’s assets and the need for her new role. As the admin, Anna handles everything from system configuration to engaging users, training global teams, organising assets, and ongoing maintenance.
A USER-FIRST EXPERIENCE
Anna may have been new to Laura Mercier, but she was no stranger to managing large volumes of digital assets. Anna knew it was critical to organise the DAM system in a way that worked for her users. “It’s just like online shopping,” said Anna about using a DAM system. With this in mind, Anna set up metadata fields and a system hierarchy that aligned with user searches and mimicked how customers shop for products (e.g. sorting by product type rather than file type).
But more than that, Anna listened to her user base. She took their feedback and adjusted the system to support how they work. Sometimes this was as simple as incorporating common company acronyms in the DAM system. But other times, she’d learn something truly surprising and work that in. For example, when she discovered that users were looking for asset size and spec information in the actual filename, she pivoted and adjusted her naming conventions.
Anna’s secret to success? “Give yourself space to understand both the DAM system, what it can and can’t do — and then what your company needs [and] what your users need,” shared Anna. “And don’t be so set in stone with whatever rules you think are ‘the right thing to do.’”
A THOUGHTFUL TRANSITION
“I know that everyone was very comfortable on Box, even though they couldn't find anything,” said Anna. “I think that people were afraid of us rolling out a new tool that would be just another confusing thing they had to deal with.” So to ease the trepidation of her users, Anna worked to bridge the transition as much as possible. One way she did this was through the use of Portals, the app in Acquia DAM that allows brands to curate subsets of assets that can be accessed outside of the DAM system. “I’ve relied heavily on Portals to sort of mimic the folder feel of Box,” shared Anna. “I've done that a lot in the first year just to get people over the hump of getting away from folders and learning this new filtering system [in Acquia DAM].”
SOURCE OF TRUTH
With a dedicated DAM admin in place, Laura Mercier now has someone to set and enforce guidelines and standards for how the company manages their digital assets. Prior to Anna, the creative team could upload any assets they wanted into Box, with whatever filename, and in whatever location they saw fit. “I saw the chaos that was Box,” reflected Anna. “I put a stop to that really quickly.”
Laura Mercier’s digital assets are now more organised; there’s no denying that. But that’s just part of it. “This tool has become a source of truth for people in a way they maybe didn’t know they could have,” said Anna. “I’m proud of the trust that myself and [Acquia DAM] has created.”
“We would spend all of this money and time and effort on these massive shoots and then lose everything...we would lose our behind the scenes stuff, or things that just get lost in someone's private Box folder,” recalled Anna. Now that Laura Mercier is up and running on [Acquia DAM], users can easily search or filter to locate a particular asset or discover images and videos they may never have known existed.
“Looking at what people download, I think people are using assets more because they can find them and understand what they are,” said Anna. With more helpful file naming conventions and the ability to associate information (or metadata) with assets in Acquia DAM, Laura Mercier’s teams no longer have to dig through folder after folder in Box looking for the assets they need. Rather, they can allocate their time to more impactful tasks.
“People are very comfortable with their folders; they like their folders,” said Anna about the organisation structure used in Box. With that said, folder-based systems aren’t ideal when teams, departments, partners, and regions are all collaborating within a tool. A folder location that makes sense for one team, may not make sense to another.
“[Acquia DAM] is more dynamic and things can live in multiple places...You can search all these different ways, and you don't just have to go to one place to find one thing. You can find things in lots of different ways,” said Anna. Additionally, Laura Mercier has greater control now. Most assets are available globally, but there are situations where regions have different legal requirements. For example, regions have geo-specific rules about the language that can and cannot appear on a product containing sun protection factor (SPF). By creating user groups for each of their global regions, Laura Mercier can control which regions have access to which assets and ensure they remain compliant at all times.
A UNIFIED FAMILY OF BRANDS
As a global company that’s part of a large family of brands, Laura Mercier benefits from using the same DAM system as their sibling brands. “We still kind of have a young DAM system,” shared Anna. “But I think it helps that all the other brands under Shiseido also use [Acquia DAM].”
The benefits are numerous. For one, launching the system was easier for Laura Mercier because Anna could meet with the DAM admin at their sibling brand, NARS. This allowed Anna to gather launch advice, learn about what was and wasn’t working for NARS, and figure out if there were areas she could create DAM consistency across the family of brands.
Using the same DAM system from the same vendor also helped with user adoption. “It’s not like something no one’s ever heard of before,” said Anna about Acquia. “Instead, I think it [adoption] is just a matter of people understanding how it can help them, which is often my role — to evangelise the DAM system.”