How Creativity Drives Holiday Success for Fabletics & TechStyle Fashion Group
by Elliot Sedegah
posted on 11-20-2019
It’s almost… 🎵 the most wonderful time of the year. 🎵 That means lots of eggnog, mistletoe, holiday cheer—and presents.
Indeed, NRF forecasts that Americans will spend more than $728 billion this holiday season. Advertising will no doubt drive some of those sales, with marketers surrounding consumers in all the channels they play in.
TechStyle Fashion Group, the company behind brands such as JustFab, Shoedazzle, FabKids, Fabletics (Kate Hudson’s activewear line) and Savage X Fenty (Rihanna’s line of lingerie), is known for its technology-first approach in retail. Its online experiences are jam-packed with creative content that is dynamically changing depending on what performs best and also who comes to the site. With five studios shooting five days a week, TechStyle shoots about 250,000+ (!) image frames per month across all of its brands, making efficient asset management a major priority for the company.
Tim Koranda, Director of Studio Technology for TechStyle, believes that creativity could be a key differentiator for brands during the upcoming holiday season. What’s needed: A nimble, flexible and streamlined creative workflow. Anything short of that can impact the team’s ability to be creative at speed, which is critical for success at this scale.
Adobe helps fuel collaboration
TechStyle has used Adobe Creative Cloud for a number of years now, relying on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to create impactful advertising and overall brand creative. The company has also been using Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as its enterprise digital asset management system (DAM) to organize all of that creative in an intuitive way, by connecting assets with product data through automation. But with so many levels of feedback and improvements in the asset creation process, getting a final graphic or picture approved and distributed at scale was becoming a long, confusing, and tedious process.
In advance of the holiday season, where customers expect relevant and fresh content almost instantly during their shopping experience, the company implemented Adobe Asset Link to help increase the speed of their collaboration. According to Koranda, teams now have the ability to work in parallel on the same assets, which improves time-to-market for new campaigns. Marketers and creatives can work in parallel mocking up creatives as the supporting images are still being iterated on, without creating any version conflict or confusion. It lets teams across the organization and geographies to see relevant images during campaign development, which increases the speed of work and therefore streamlins creative workflows.
The fact that access to the DAM is available through Adobe creative tools that designers and creatives are already using was really important, according to Koranda
“Our teams have been asking for this level of integration to improve speed and collaboration,” Koranda said. “Not only do our teams have the ability to stay within a creative tool when accessing their assets, they are also now able to work in tandem during the creation process itself, making the process more efficient.”
While TechStyle has a handful of brands under its umbrella, bringing together the assets of all of them under one roof and making them available to all creative teams through a single location in Adobe Creative Cloud / AEM has been another perk. TechStyle can now easily use media between brands.
“Our creative process is unusually demanding. As a global team, the speed required to adapt to TechStyle’s data driven marketing strategies is critical to the company’s overall success,” Koranda said.
Removing borders and unifying global teams
Just weeks ago and in time for the peak season, Koranda’s team initiated a new process globally to increase the speed of retouching cycles by using Smart Collections in AEM with Asset Link. Previously, collaboration between teams in Los Angeles and other parts of the world, like the Philippines, would mean that the retouching cycles could take days or even weeks. Now, InDesign artists in Los Angeles can place version one of a photo into an early design draft while it’s still being retouched by TechStyle’s global team half-way around the world – and see the results immediately. That content is the same content the team in Los Angeles is already mocking up for creative review. The global team leading the retouch efforts can continue to version in the background until the entire InDesign development is complete – at which point it is moved into a publish state.
Koranda notes that this new workflow will help improve the creative lifecycle on a global scale by bringing teams digitally closer together and creating a quick and efficient feedback loop. Prior to extending access across the teams with Asset Link, there was a lot of manual file sharing, version confusion, and waiting for final batches to arrive all at once. That created inefficiencies.
“This is a big deal as it places our global partners in the same world as our creatives, allowing them to version, mock-up and design with the same content in parallel across oceans,” said Koranda. “We’ve already seen some success and are eager to expand this process to other brands and global partners to make sure we are delivering the most compelling content to our customers as quickly as possible.”
When asked what’s next for TechStyle, Koranda said “video has always been an important part of our marketing strategy, and now more than ever it has become a very critical piece of that puzzle.” Automation is also something that we always seek to take advantage of where it makes sense . Adobe Sensei has a lot of promise in this area, especially when it comes to editing content for specific platforms. “Today a video asset that is going on Instagram needs to be re-cropped and optimized so that everything is within the frame. We have people who sit and do this all day,” Koranda said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what the AI engine can do for that. We also can see how features like facial recognition will help us feed relevant metadata about our models directly to our assets with no user input. This will help us stay in line with usage rights, as well as quickly identify usable UGC and IGC content in our systems.”
TechStyle Fashion Group uses Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud, including its content management system (CMS) and full suite of creative tools to become a true Customer Experience Management company. Learn more here.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Content Management, Customer Stories
Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud