Altavia Unite is part of the Altavia Group, an independent international group specializing in communication and content creation, particularly for the retail, FMCG and financial sectors.
Recently, the agency reactivated an existing relationship with Rabobank, one of the largest cooperatives in the Netherlands with nearly two million members, by taking on the production of its member magazine Rabo & Co. With 3,740 pages, 1,500 layouts, 85 editions and 300+ users producing four issues a year, the creative production process was intense. We spoke to Robbert Jan Blekemolen, product owner of customer-centric IT tools, and talked to him about this particular project, how content orchestration helps the agency stay competitive and how agencies need to think about technology to win new clients.
ROBBERT JAN. CAN YOU TELL SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PROJECT AT RABOBANK?
This is a particularly interesting client because of the scale and complexity of the project. The magazine is a crucial touchpoint for communication with members and being locally relevant is one of Rabobank’s most important initiatives. So there are three levels of each quarterly edition. One third of the content is national, one third is regional and one third is local for each bank branch. In total, about 300 people work in WoodWing Studio to create the content. And the circulation is between 1.2 and 1.5 million copies.
THAT SOUNDS LIKE A COMPLEX WORKFLOW!
CAN YOU EXPLAIN US HOW YOU WON RABOBANK, IN TERMS OF WHAT PAIN POINTS YOU SOLVED?
Before we started working for Rabo, there was an agency that made the magazine in a traditional desk structure with minimal use of automation. This involved a large number of people, with much more communication, and as a result processes were inefficient and expensive. We’ve been working with Rabobank for over 20 years, so they asked us if we could help them.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH QONQORD, WE OFFERED WOODWING STUDIO AS A PLATFORM TO CREATE CONTENT AND GET STARTED RIGHT AWAY.
There was a high level of learning on the job with a very complex production run, but ultimately very successful. For example, with their old way of working, it would take weeks to change a template, but now we can change templates in a matter of minutes. There was another big benefit to the technology solution and the new workflow: it meant that we are much more efficient with our processes, and because we can do more with less, we are also more competitive.
We have a much smarter solution, and being smarter means being competitive with your rates.
HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION LIKE A BANK VIEW THE TECHNOLOGY YOU OFFER? ARE BUSINESSES LIKE UX IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR THEM?
The live preview of the edited pages and the configurable user rights are convincing. Since banks generally don’t know much about content creation and publishing technology, it helped a lot when we could show them the benefits. We explained the platform and they experienced that it is user-friendly, has an easy search function, is cloud-based and users can log in with a personal password and username, so that all changes are recorded individually. Building trust by explaining and demonstrating was helpful.
WHEREAS THAT, HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR OFFICES TO INNOVATE IN TECHNOLOGY?
We are in a competitive industry, especially with the retail side of our business. The pricing models we used to work with, where we added a surcharge on the purchase prices, are no longer future-proof. Other agencies face the same problem. They used to be able to charge a margin on top of media purchases, but that no longer works. So we all need to find smarter ways to help customers. With this very complex and large-scale collaboration with Rabobank, we manage this account with only a small group of people. This is possible because we are able to adapt technology solutions and scale the workflows to help us work smarter. It is the only right path to follow.
AND DO YOU THINK IT HELPS GET NEW CUSTOMERS?
Despite the Covid situation in recent years, we believe this case is a changemaker. While most customers are still used to working in a more traditional workflow, we believe the power of Woodwing Studio.
LAST QUESTION; HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RABOBANK CONTINUING?
The current process of Rabo & Co is going very well, but there is much more efficiency gains to be made. Currently they are publishing 85 different PDFs online, which is time consuming and obviously not ideal for the reader. Since it is a very important communication channel for members, they really want the experience to be a good one. We are now discussing using WoodWing with them to publish the content on digital channels.
We structured by:
- Consistent brand image
- Integration of data and files
- Lower process costs
- Online collaboration in workflow
- Stable work processes
- Shortened creation and production cycles