SmoothSkin conducts 90% of business through distributors. The brand team develops product video, product images, lifestyle images and how-to content. It’s Jen’s responsibility to put this in the hands of the right distributors at the right time.
Company growth has outpaced growth in the marketing department. SmoothSkin knew they needed a better way to communicate product assets with their global distributor network. First, SmoothSkin used Google Drive, then moved over to SharePoint, using a web page of links to direct distributors to files.
“Other platforms were so awful that it would actually be easier to go and get the files myself and WeTransfer them over. I would spend a lot of time waiting on WeTransfer and not doing my actual job,” explains Jen.
The cloud storage approach had many drawbacks. Presenting assets in this way looked messy and unprofessional. Distributors would have access to all files and folders, even the ones SmoothSkin didn’t want them to see. Without thumbnails it was hard to tell what’s what. There was no visibility of who was accessing the files. Cloud storage was not the right fit to support SmoothSkin’s ambitions for distributor growth.
When SmoothSkin’s new marketing manager asked Jen about her greatest challenge, Jen responded, “Our team will be creating all these wonderful things. Because we’re not direct-to-consumer we need to push these out to our partners. I need a better way to do it. I cannot keep asking them to log on to SharePoint. It’s embarrassing.”
SmoothSkin sought out three DAM vendors to assess. They chose Canto because it provides a professional way to communicate with their channel partners. Canto Portals are easy for their distributors to use, large image thumbnails make it easy to see the available media and it was at the right price. Canto Portals offered a solution to SmoothSkin’s channel marketing challenges.
“Now I can say, look, here’s your Portal. Here’s everything you need to launch; pricing, strategy, influencer campaigns, digital marketing,” says Jen.
With Canto’s SharePoint integration, SmoothSkin migrated their library and folder structure into Canto and then bulk tagged the videos and images. Reporting features also help Jen keep track of who is logging in and accessing files.
“We’ve already been able to identify some distributors who are under-using their Portal,” Jen explains. “Having this insight gives us the opportunity to start a conversation and see how we can help to enable them.”
When international travel returns, Jen sees how Canto will be a helpful tool when meeting distributors face-to-face.
“I can see Canto being very helpful when the world does open up and the sales team and I start to travel again,” Jen explains. “I have been out and about on the streets of Dubai, or in Sydney with customers. They need an asset right now. With the new Canto app, I’ll be able to access and share it then and there.”
Enabling distributor marketing with Portals
With unlimited Canto Portals, Jen can provide a controlled release of videos, images and documents to distributors in different regions.
Every distributor has different requirements, so Jen creates a separate Portal for each one. This means she can manage which assets are available on a case-by-case basis and cater to international variations. When rolling out innovation to primary markets, using Portals keeps the launches contained to those markets. This protects the integrity of contracts and negotiations with distributors for each product range.
“It makes it quite nice for us. When the product does launch in a territory, it’s as simple as pressing a button and they’ve got access to everything, all set up and ready to use. By making sure that each customer has their own Portal, we can control what they see and what they don’t see,” remarks Jen.
Distributors give Portal access to the retailers and media partners they work with. This helps to proliferate brand assets through to the consumer market.
“The second that the sales team gives us the go-ahead, we can give them [distributors] access and they have everything that they could possibly need. They have product assets, they have training materials, they have brand assets,” notes Jen.
Building brand and channel relationships with personalization
Being able to customize and brand the look and feel of Canto and Canto Portals is very important to SmoothSkin and their distributors.
“We are a beauty brand. In this category, the look and feel of the brand is important. We work with a diverse range of distributors, some are in pharmacies like Boots, some of the mainstream retailers like Best Buy. With Canto we are actually providing a beautifully branded Portal to log in to,” says Jen.
SmoothSkin uses a selection of languages available in Canto to support distributors in their native tongue.
“We decided to set up individual Portals to manage which assets are available to them. This is particularly useful in the territories where English isn’t the native language,” says Jen.
Jen has received very positive feedback from distributors. They have found Canto much easier to use and appreciate the personalization of each Portal. Details like seeing their own name when they log in help SmoothSkin stand out.
“Distributors appreciate that. They really do. It makes them feel involved. It makes them feel part of the brand. It strengthens our relationship as well. This is what we need, especially in these times where we can’t just jump on a plane,” notes Jen.