When Joan Kinsley joined The Toro Company’s Media Production Resources department as Executive Producer in 2012, she knew immediately that she wanted to bring structure and efficiency to their media management system.
“We actually didn’t have a system in place,” said Joan (now The Toro Company’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications and Media Production Resources). “We worked with video editors and edit houses all over town – and the footage and masters just sat in each of those places. So if somebody needed an asset, they had to remember where they edited it, and then go track it down.”
It was inefficient – and expensive. Luckily, Joan came to the company with a clear vision of a good media management system. “In my previous job, right before I came to Toro, we figured out a solution that was exactly what we needed here. So I already knew what to do.’” And who to call: Aldis.
“We actually didn’t have a system in place,”... so if somebody needed an asset, they had to remember where they edited it, and then go track it down.”~ Joan Kinsley | Toro Company
The Aldis team came on board to establish The Toro Company’s CatDV system, focused first on video. But as a global company with customers and channel partners all over the world, Toro soon recognized the value of a centralized MAM system for all media, and the new platform quickly found new users.
“We have something we call the ‘Visual Library,’ an external-facing media repository for our global dealers and distributors to get photo assets, whatever they need for promotions or marketing campaigns,” said Joan.
Ben Zamora-Weiss, a Librarian at Aldis, explained it like this: "Previously, the Toro media production team would receive media requests and they'd need to find and upload the assets for internal clients to come back and download. It was pretty labor-intensive, so we built a connection that feeds all assets approved for external use from the internal CatDV MAM to another platform named Akomi (which Toro calls the Visual Library)."
That integration between these two systems created a more sustainable, efficient workflow – one that allows dealers and distributors all over the world to have direct access to a brand-approved subset of media, 24/7/365, all without needing to put in a request for assets.
“Aldis maximized on what we initially put in place,” said Joan, “and now it really has become an enterprise solution. Everybody uses it.”
That company-wide adoption brought a familiar question: why don’t we manage this internally?
Joan’s response to that question is two-fold. “First of all, who’s going to put in the hours? Who's going to upload and catalog all this footage? Who's going to keep the system current?”
But secondly, and more importantly: “We’re not media management experts, and we couldn’t bring the expertise Aldis brings,” said Joan. “These people are, like, masters in this area.”
Everyone who works on the Toro account holds a Master in Library and Information Science degree (MLIS), which might sound fancy-schmancy, but it’s worth mentioning because it translates directly into smarter systems, and better solutions for clients.
“We all went to school and learned how to do this,” said Ellen Henningsgaard, another librarian at Aldis. “We got training on how to deal with metadata, and all the things that allow us to do what really matters: make it easy for somebody to find what they're looking for.”
“It’s so easy to be focused on the software, but without people who know what they’re doing, it’s just software,” said Joan. “Aldis combines the software with technical know-how and a high level of client service. They’re a true partner, and really an extension of our team.”
“We've got a really strong working connection and friendship with the Toro people,” said Ben. “And now we've been working day-to-day together, for years.”
The system was already in place when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and it allowed Joan’s team – and anyone at Toro who works with digital media – to adjust to the new normal without skipping a beat.
“I talked to my peers across the industry, and almost all of them said they had to do things like load up drives with media from some server that no one could access, and physically send them off to people at home,” said Joan. “We didn’t have any issues like that at all.”
The pandemic revealed something Joan had known to be true all along: you need a system, and you need a partner to make sure you get the most out of that system.
“I’m part of professional organizations where I’m in touch with other people who do the same thing that I do in corporations all over the country and beyond, and I don't know anyone else who has a better solution than what we have with Aldis,” said Joan. “We're coming up on eight years with the Aldis partnership, and it just honestly gets better every year.”