German pro soccer team scores big in sports marketing with Canto

VfL Bochum 1848

VfL Bochum 1848 stands for passionate, honest, and exciting soccer. The club has a real community: Circle, members, staff, players, and partners are all fans, and all proud to support, play and work for VfL Bochum 1848.

Club founded1848
Seats in the stadium27,599

Even if fans can’t always make it to the stadium, Vfl Bochum 1848 still keeps in touch with supporters. You always need the right images and good storytelling for that to happen. We spoke with Oliver Hesseling in marketing about his work with Canto.

Mr. Hesseling, won’t you please tell us a little about yourself and what exactly you do at VfL Bochum?

I’ve been working for the club since 2017, initially as an intern, later as a working student. I now work in marketing where I’m in charge of traditional tasks e.g., production of promotional materials or storytelling for the launch of the new jerseys.

My primary task however is to advance our digital projects and digital communication. Since that’s all getting more and more digital, and because of Covid, traditional contact points like the stadium are disappearing, we want to reach our fans more via other channels, e.g., social media.

And against that backdrop, you decided to introduce Canto?

The idea to introduce a DAM system has been around for a while now. When the topic became more current, the project was transferred to me.

Canto immediately stood out among the candidates. But I also heard from associates who work for other soccer clubs that they use Canto in their work and are really satisfied with it.

portal customer vfl bochum
Portal in Canto for VfL Bochum 1848 players

What was the focus of the project – was it always a matter of saving time or did you want to centralize your media files in a clearer way?

Our images were and still are the main thing; we still have the videos and other documents stored in other places. But we wanted to give the images more structure. On a match day, for example, four to five club photographers take around 300 or 400 pictures. So, we’ve got to stay on top of things.

But the time savings were also important for us: When we would search for pictures of a given player before Canto, it would often take 30 to 60 minutes before we had a good one. In that respect, facial recognition was decisive for our new image database. Among other things, we had to be able to quickly find photos of specific players or officials if we want to issue a prompt press release.

How did your DAM project, i.e., the switch to Canto go in detail?

When the project started, we decided to initially incorporate the image material starting from the 2015/2016 season. To do that, we pre-sorted the images on the server and then gradually uploaded. We’d also considered a suitable folder structure before, i.e., where we had the photos from training, from the stadium, etc. in corresponding sub-folders. The process took around three to four weeks.

Only after we had this image material present did we release the access data internally. It was crucial for us that the players and other staff only had access when it was clear how the tasks were divided and who would need which access rights to what. Since then, it’s been working really well.

oliver hesseling vfl bochum

I’m thrilled with how much control the system offers.

Oliver HesselingMarketing Staff Member, VfL Bochum 1848

So who exactly is able to use Canto at the Club?

First off, our 25 to 30 players can access the portal, where they can download their images directly in various sizes with the VfL Bochum 1848 watermark. The marketing team also has access since they often need partner images. There’s also access for the press. Of course, the Content department can also access Canto when they create or use material, e.g., posts on social media.

And of course, we here in marketing also have an account. Our staff members who need the photos send us a request and we give then give them a link to the images that are of interest for them. This way, we stay in control of our content.

And last but not least, there are also up to four photographers who have access, but just for uploading images.

So, what does a typical workflow look like there? Where do the files come from?

We’ve clearly set out that the photographers pre-select themselves rather than uploading multiple shots of the same motif. They can then upload these photos directly after the match or training session to the corresponding folders, but they don’t have access to other areas. The other departments then use these photos as needed.

Who’s in charge of system maintenance at VfL Bochum 1848?

Basically, I’m pretty much completely in charge of system administration and maintenance. Naturally I take my associates’ comments under advisement and see to potential problems or hand them over to someone else. But internally, I’m the go-to guy when it comes to Canto.

Personally, I no longer upload much; that’s done by the Content department or the photographers themselves. But I’m on top of the folders and attributions and review the new images to ensure they are correctly tagged and stored.

ruhrstadion bochum
Ruhrstadium Bochum

And what impact does Canto have on your daily work; what first comes to mind?

Our graphic designers in marketing noticed the biggest difference, since they’re the ones who are always working Canto. The same goes for the Content team. They often tell me that their work has gotten more straightforward and easier since we’ve been using Canto.

Facial recognition is simply a huge plus. The press also confirms that their jobs have gotten much easier since they no longer have to go trawling through all the folders.

Do you happen to have a personal favorite feature that you find really useful?

I like the different filter functions, they’re really handy. Then of course, there’s the facial and also text recognition for the images. If for example, you can see the name of a partner on a strip, you find images relatively fast for this sponsor.

I’m also thrilled with how much control the system offers, i.e., over where the images come from, where they go, etc. When my associates from marketing want to download images, for example, they can first be shown a message that certain photos are for internal use only and not intended for the public.

historische bilder bochum
Historic photo archive of VfL Bochum in Canto

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about Canto as a DAM solution?

Overall, I’d say that what I really like about Canto is that the application is continuously being developed. Whenever we have an idea or suggestion for improvement, we pass it on to the developers who then see how it can be implemented as quickly as possible. That means long-term, we can always expect new and improved features in Canto.

And we’re really satisfied with support. Whenever a question comes up, we usually get an answer really fast. That stuck out as positive way back in the selection process.

Thank you very much for the interview.