Success story

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation




Oklahoma City, OK


Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation transforms media outreach with Canto

For many people faced with treatment-resistant, life-threatening diseases, the clinical trials at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) are their last hope. OMRF is a nonprofit organization that conducts research focused on the treatment and curing of diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Creative director Jenny Lee manages the OMRF brand and leads the organization’s brand communication efforts. The compelling stories her team tells encourage donations to fund life-saving research. She is armed with OMRF’s expansive digital asset library, collected over its 77-year history — but making the most of that library required a better way to manage and share photos and videos. That’s when Jenny turned to Canto.

The goal

To meet fundraising goals, the nonprofit needed an easy way to manage a growing image library and distribute brand assets to media outlets.

The result

What used to take days now takes minutes, meaning the team can reach more donors in less time.

Goal: A cloud-based platform to unlock team flow

Before Canto, OMRF used Extensis Portfolio to manage their archives and digital asset library. Although the system was working, it was slowing the team down, not helping them work faster or more efficiently as they grew. Jenny knew that OMRF needed a fast, cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) system that could help the public affairs team ramp up their media relations efforts quickly.

Enter Canto: Democratizing digital asset management

OMRF chose Canto because its cloud-based platform enabled collaboration, and it was the best DAM solution that met the organization’s needs at a nonprofit-friendly price point.

“Digital asset management should be as easy as making a Facebook album,” Jenny said. Canto’s intuitive, user-friendly interface makes that a reality. Jenny estimates that she is able to train new users in just 30 minutes. By flattening the user group and eliminating bottlenecks for accessing assets, Jenny has democratized DAM for her team.

The public affairs team was able to transform their media outreach workflow by using Canto Portals and collections. When Jenny started at OMRF, the team would distribute assets to the media in email attachments. Within two weeks on the job, she had blown out her email storage. Today, she can simply direct media partners to a Canto Portal — or pull together an ad hoc collection, where press contacts can find and download the assets they need on-demand.

Canto’s facial recognition has also aided the team, automatically tagging specific people in OMRF’s archives. Combined with Canto’s layered search and filter capabilities, this makes it easy for the team to find photos of certain people from a specific time period. As a result, pulling together an inspirational special magazine edition for the organization’s 75th anniversary was a breeze.

Easy access to historical images has also provided some quick wins on social media: “We kill on Throwback Thursday,” said Jenny.

Jenny Lee, Creative Director at OMRF

Canto has transformed the way we do business – what used to take us days now literally takes minutes.

Jenny LeeCreative Director

Results: “Canto has been transformative”

Jenny’s end goal is to drive more contributions so that OMRF can continue adding to the body of knowledge around life-threatening diseases. Her team achieves this goal by getting OMRF in front of donors as much as possible through the media.

“The thing about our donors is that generally they’re a little bit older, so they still read the newspaper. The more times we can get in the news and in front of them, the better,” Jenny explains.

For a typical media outreach campaign, OMRF’s media coordinator may push a press release to as many as 300 media outlets at a time. Canto helps them save time throughout this process — ultimately enabling the team to reach out to more media outlets, faster.

“Canto has transformed the way we do business. What used to take us days now literally takes minutes,” said Jenny.