Success story





York, United Kingdom

Canto offers Portakabin greater control over digital assets

Portakabin is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and installation of modular buildings. Founded in 1961, the company achieved early success thanks to its unique, innovative line of products and remains one of the United Kingdom’s best-known brands.

Based in York, Portakabin has made strategic investments throughout Europe and continues to put quality at the heart of everything it does. That same dedication extends to managing its brand assets and developing engaging content that communicates the company’s core values of teamwork, innovation, integrity, and commitment.

The goal

Portakabin needed a centralized library that was easily searchable to better manage digital assets and protect the integrity and consistency of the Portakabin brand.

The result

In Canto, Portakabin consolidates the brand’s assets into a central hub, streamlining the production process and enabling the creative team to easily curate content.

The goal: Centralize, organize, and distribute digital assets more effectively 

The in-house creative studio at Portakabin handles project briefs that come in from marketing managers across the UK and Europe. Their content requests range from email campaigns and website videos to product brochures and the occasional direct mail campaign. After receiving the creative brief, the team would dispatch photographers to shoot a particular project.

“From my early days of joining the studio at Portakabin, I could see immediately there were improvements to be made,” says Matt Barker, Creative Manager at Portakabin. “Nothing was really centralized or organized in an efficient way. There was a high risk of losing files or even duplication. It was important to ensure we had a way of centralizing assets with version control, and also a fast and efficient way of sharing them.

Although Portakabin had a digital asset management (DAM) platform in place, it didn’t provide the workflow features they needed to complete projects efficiently. Moving assets to and from those workflows proved complicated, which led to bottlenecks and a disjointed user experience. As a result, the DAM wasn’t really even being used to manage assets.

That sent the Portakabin team in search of an alternative solution, which led them to Canto.

Image of the inside of a tall, white, square-shaped building with black flooring. There are different open levels displayed across the open middle section with each floor a different color.

Enter Canto: Enhancing visibility and control over product assets 

With Canto in place, the creative studio set up a centralized library for all of the creative assets. After photographers finished gathering images, approved assets can now be uploaded directly into Canto and shared over project-specific portals. That makes it easy for designers, colleagues, and suppliers and share the information,” Matt says. “Thanks to our new workflow process, we know that everything in Canto is 100% approved and can be shared with confidence.”

Improving organization and searches with metadata

Canto’s organization and search features play a big role in streamlining the creative process for the Portakabin team. With assets coming in from all over the UK and Europe, it was crucial for designers, copywriters, and marketing managers to be able to find the information they needed quickly. By using a combination of project numbers, product numbers, and acronyms, the team implemented a system of metadata that made it easy to locate specific images.

Locating materials associated with a campaign proved to be even easier, thanks to Canto’s character recognition features. Any documents related to a campaign are automatically scanned for relevant keywords, providing another quick way to reference content.

“That’s a great feature we like,” Matt says. “Being able to search the content of any PDF we upload to Canto has already proven to be very powerful. In some cases, we may have a keyword but don’t have any other information to locate an archived project. This feature has been of great use multiple times.”

Canto’s smart tagging capabilities provided another effective means of locating the right image whenever it’s needed. Although the team initially worried about having too many tags, allowing Canto to automatically assign tags based on image contents helped people to sort through the vast library much more quickly and then fine-tune their search based on the results.

Screenshot of Portakabin Canto library with digital assets and logo assets displayed in the view pane. Currently toggled is the document filter. On the left-navigation pane, folder structure is shown. The Portakabin logo is displayed in top left corner.
Portakabin Canto library with document assets displayed.

Controlling brand integrity

Centralizing assets within Canto also allowed Portakabin to take a more proactive approach to brand management. Following the company’s rebrand in 2016, the creative studio took on the responsibility of managing all brand assets to maintain integrity and consistency.

For people outside the business, like design partners, suppliers, and agencies, Portakabin provides links to the main library to save valuable production time. “I think we’ve made the people we work with savvy in our Canto world, so they’re now in our bubble,” Matt says. “They can go and find their own images with specific keywords or image numbers.”

Leveraging the power of video

Canto’s ability to embed video assets into web content also helped the Portakabin team solve a challenge related to a virtual factory tour of their York facility. The tour took visitors through every part of the factory and allowed them to watch video clips at certain hotspots that featured machinery in action or interviews with employees. While it would have been easy to use a platform like YouTube, they wanted to avoid having unrelated suggested videos pop up after the clip finished.

After explaining the problem to the Canto team, they implemented a feature that allowed them to embed the video directly from the Canto library. This solution also gave them the ability to easily edit videos seamlessly in the background without disrupting the virtual tour experience.

“The advantage of not having any suggested video content at the end of the videos is brilliant,” Matt says. “It’s just a nice, clean solution for us, so that was great.”

Image of the outside of a unique square building from Portakabin.

We feel confident and comfortable using Canto for a lot longer. It’s part of our workflow now and part of the Portakabin design studio system. We know we can rely on it and trust it. That’s really important to us.

Matt BarkerCreative Manager

The result: Streamlined content creation and easier brand management

Integrating Canto into its creative studio’s process has helped Portakabin streamline content creation and manage its brand more effectively. The platform allows team members to upload and organize approved files, quickly find the assets they need for a project, and easily share access to people from other departments or organizations.

“It’s great,” Matt says. “We’re able to keep all the assets together for one particular project in one area, which is perfect for us.”

Screenshot of Portakabin Canto library with all file types shown. In the viewing pane, images of the inside of spaces built by Portakabin are displayed. A folder navigation structure is shown on the left-side pane. The Portakabin logo is shown in the top left corner.
Portakabin digital asset library, powered by Canto.

Canto has also made it easier for the Portakabin team to accommodate hybrid working arrangements and improved collaboration with external partners. “Whether we’re in the office or remote, there’s still that workflow and that process in place,” Matt points out. “We definitely couldn’t have done it without Canto.”

With Canto in place, Portakabin is well-positioned to continue managing its brand and scaling its business successfully in markets around the world.