Growing a global sports brand.
ASICS consolidates digital asset management with Adobe Experience Manager.
Provide global marketing teams with consistent access to digital assets
Eliminate waste associated with recreating photo shoots globally
Make it faster and easier for teams to find and use digital assets
Deliver digital assets across all channels, including e-commerce sites and text
Accelerates access to digital assets with a centralized asset hub
Strengthens brand with the same product images used globally
Reduces risk of using out-dated digital assets with greater version controls
Shares internal assets including 3D models used in development
ASICS, known as the sports brand of Japan, is now making the leap to become a global brand. The company delivers shoes, apparel, sports equipment, and services to customers around the world. ASICS invests in research and development to support the performance of top athletes and encourage healthy bodies for all sports enthusiasts.
As business globalization accelerates, ASICS has undergone a major overhaul of its marketing structure. Part of this overhaul involves consolidating management of digital assets. Previously ASICS faced challenges around digital assets, such as people unable find the assets that they needed quickly, or different digital assets being used in different regions. By centralizing asset workflows, from photographing products to managing images, ASICS solved these asset management challenges, reduced waste, and strengthened the brand.
From left to right: Mr. Takahiro Mizumoto, Digital Supply Chain Department, Digital Division; Mr. Takeshi Ishizaki, Digital Supply Chain Department; and Mr. Tatsuya Ohashi, Digital Supply Chain Department, Digital Division.
Rethinking digital asset management in response to business globalization
The vision of ASICS Group is to “Create Quality Lifestyle through Intelligent Sport Technology.” The company's strategy is to become a "digital driven company," providing a variety of digital services in addition to shoes, apparel, and sporting goods.
For example, through digital channels such as mobile apps, ASICS can recommend training programs or suggest shoes and apparel depending on customers’ footprints or running styles. The company provides customers with a personalized sports experience.
These services rely on the strength of ASICS products. ASICS analyzes human movements and adopts proprietary materials and structural design technology to create products that provide optimum support for not only top athletes, but everyone who enjoys sports. ASICS is recognized for its high quality and its customer base has expanded beyond Japan to the world.
“Business in overseas markets has grown rapidly since the mid-2010s. Currently, about 70% of sales are overseas,” says Mr. Takahiro Mizumoto, Digital Supply Chain Department at ASICS.
With the globalization of business, ASICS undertook a major overhaul of its marketing system. The global market is now divided into Japan, North America, Europe, China, Oceania, South and Southeast Asia, and Other (which includes South America and South Korea). The global headquarters in Kobe, Japan serves as a command tower that analyzes and recommends marketing activities for each region.
With marketing optimized for the needs of global business, ASICS is also revising its digital asset management system.
"Digital assets, such as product images used for store posters, e-commerce sites, and web catalogs, are important assets for marketing, but they have not been managed well in the past,” says Mr. Tatsuya Ohashi, Digital Supply Chain Department at ASICS. “For example, there wasn’t a central storage location, and sometimes assets were stored on an individual’s desktop. A sales partner might ask for a product image, but no one knew who managed it or where it was stored. In addition, even if a product was sold worldwide, each region would have their own photo shoot, so the colors and the impact of the product may differ slightly. We felt this was an issue both in terms of management efficiency and brand integrity.”
“The company-wide integration of digital asset management has made it easier to share and utilize assets for a wide range of purposes, including marketing, design and development.”
Mr. Takahiro Mizumoto
Digital Supply Chain Department, ASICS
Introducing Adobe Experience Manager after strong performance in Japan
ASICS started looking at a global, integrated digital asset management system to address these challenges. The company decided that in this new system, the United States content team would handle photo shoots, photo editing, and integrated management of product images. Each region obtains product images through a global shared DAM (digital asset management) system. ASICS adopted Adobe Experience Manager Assets, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, as its DAM.
"Originally in Japan, we used Dynamic Media, which is now integrated with Adobe Experience Manager Assets, as the distribution platform for digital content,” says Mr. Takeshi Ishizaki, Digital Supply Chain Department at ASICS. “We thought highly of it due to its rich functionality and ease of use. We decided to use Adobe Experience Manager Assets because we thought it would be beneficial to have a DAM that is compatible with our distribution platform.”
Find and use digital assets quickly
"The company-wide integration of digital asset management has made it easier to share and utilize assets for a wide range of purposes, including marketing, design and development,” says Mr. Mizumoto.
ASICS spent about four years consolidating operations such as photography and digital asset management with Adobe Experience Manager Assets, taking into consideration the timing of migrating related systems. Currently, products that need to be photographed are sent from all over the world to studios in the United States, where the team carries out production work such as photography and editing. The digital assets are shared globally through Adobe Experience Manager Assets. Approximately 40,000 new digital assets were registered in Adobe Experience Manager Assets in one year, with a total of approximately 700,000 digital assets managed (see figure).
“By consolidating asset production into a specialized team, users such as marketing staff can immediately search for and obtain the assets they need through the brand portal, which is the hub for asset searches,” says Mr. Ishizaki. “The brand portal includes different options, such as the ability to access all assets needed for a campaign at once.”
This strategy allows ASICS to use digital assets efficiently. The company can control images, delivering the same images for the same products in all regions and strengthening the global brand. In the past, it was difficult to manage versions of product images, and there were occasionally errors where teams used an old product image. These errors can be avoided. “We no longer have the same product photographed many times across the group, which has allowed us to eliminate waste,” says Mr. Ohashi. “Overall, we have seen a 20% to 30% reduction in waste.”
The benefits of integrating digital asset management have spread to operations other than marketing. For example, in design and development work, developers create 3D digital models that can be rotated 360 degrees for overseas product planning staff, as this can help shorten the lead time for developing prototypes. Designers use this shared model to polish the design. “It's easier to share a 3D model than a real prototype,” says Mr. Mizumoto.
Balancing security and accessibility
ASICS has achieved numerous benefits through the integrated management of digital assets.
The future plan is to make even more effective use of Adobe Experience Manager Assets. ASICS is already automatically distributing digital assets by using APIs to integrate with e-commerce systems, but the company is also planning to integrate Adobe Experience Manager Assets with internal systems and other channels such as social media.
"Much like the 3D models used during development, we will likely start handling highly confidential data more frequently, especially for internal sharing purposes,” says Mr. Ishizaki. “We plan to strengthen security while making data accessible outside of the company. Those are conflicting goals, but we believe they can coexist. I look to Adobe for good suggestions.”
While continuing to take on the challenge of making more effective use of digital assets, ASICS intends to aim for further growth as a global sports brand originating in Japan.
* The information here is current as of August 2021.