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NHS Inc. Simplifies Global Licensing Review for Multiple Brand Families

NHS Fun Factory Ziflow

About NHS Inc.

Based in Santa Cruz, CA, NHS Inc. is a global skateboard company that has been turning out innovative, recognizable skateboard brands for over 40 years. The company’s brand family includes Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Truck Company, Creature Skateboards, OJ Wheels, Bronson Speed Co. and more, and NHS works with a wide variety of international licenses and partners to create and distribute its many brands all over the world.

NHS Fun Factory

The Challenge: Juggling Brand Consistency with Campaign Deadlines

With so many different product families and partners on board, NHS must maintain constant visibility and control over how its brands are used and promoted by the companies licensing its designs and products.

The scale of that internal review, however, can often conflict with partners’ product launch and marketing campaign timelines. When a licensee wants to publish asocial media campaign in a matter of days or needs approval for print or sales advertisements featuring NHS designs, those assets need to route quickly between Licensing, Branding, Marketing, and Apparel teams for approval. On any given day, NHS’ Licensing and Branding teams must approve everything from short social media posts to 200-page internal product catalogs.

The Licensing team had been using Excel spreadsheets to gather internal feedback on product launches and sending it back to its partners noting if assets were approved or not approved. With a 10-day turnaround for approval on new items in its product catalogs, physically tracking down reviewers’ comments, adding them to a spreadsheet, and sharing feedback between internal teams and partners became untenable, especially with a remote workforce and international partner network spread across multiple time zones.

We have so many brands and only so many hours in the day to make sure that everything gets seen by everyone. Doing that while staying on that deadline, I would say, is one of our bigger challenges.

Trill Santin, Licensing Coordinator at NHS

The Solution: On-Demand Proofing for Global Collaboration

Because NHS’ global distribution model requires collaboration with partners in many different countries using multiple languages, the company sought a review and approval system that internal and external collaborators could use with very little onboarding and training.

NHS considered using product management software to manage its brand review, but Ziflow’s intuitive interface and focus on creative content proofing was the right fit for NHS’ remote collaboration needs. NHS’ creative department now uses Ziflow for the creation of its product catalogs as well as the creation and review of new product designs for its international licensees. Ziflow’s Review Groups capability enables the entire creative team to add comments and feedback to new product designs throughout the design process.

It has been nice as we do have employees that work remotely, so they’re able to access this without actually having to be at headquarters. Because we are managing a large volume of proofs day to day, being able to send that reminder out to them to say, "Let’s get this moving along," has been super helpful.""

Trill Santin, Licensing Coordinator

Partners across countries and time zones can use the system to upload their product mock-ups for approval at any time of the day. The system automatically notifies NHS’ licensing department and apparel team, and workflows route content to the appropriate creative directors, brand manager, and marketing director depending on which brand the creative relates to.

With automatic notifications, tracked changes between versions, side- by-side comparison and comments, NHS’ branding and licensing teams can more accurately communicate the right use of brand guidelines to its partners throughout product and marketing campaign development.

“We go back and forth with our Marketing Directors to figure out a happy medium where they're able to use their creativity but also keep on brand with what we expect,” said Trill. “Having the actual visual of the image attached with the comments has made it a lot easier for our licensing partners to understand what we're talking about, what is approved, and what isn't approved.”

Product Proofing

NHS branding teams use Ziflow to communicate brand guidelines for apparel designs with its many licensees and distributors.

"We go back and forth with our Marketing Directors to figure out a happy medium where they’re able to use their creativity but also keep on brand with what we expect,” said Trill. “Having the actual visual of the image attached with the comments has made it a lot easier for our licensing partners to understand what we’re talking about, what is approved, and what isn’t approved.

Furthermore, relying on Ziflow’s attentive customer support has meant the team can get all of its international collaborators up and running using proofing and away from Excel and email without downtime for extensive training.

"For us, onboarding our licensees has been super easy. The directions and the help side of it have been awesome," said Santin. "It's made all of our lives a lot easier and it's definitely helped us streamline our review process. And I think everyone's been happy with it internally and externally. We love it."

Benefits

With Ziflow, NHS was able to:

  • Create a single environment that its many branding teams and dozens of brand licensees can use for creative and licensing approval.
  • Empower a remote workforce to work with and approve product and marketing content regardless of location.
  • Standardize review and approval procedures across time zones, countries, and languages.
  • Control branding compliance at a detailed level on all product designs and advertising campaigns.

 

It's made all of our lives a lot easier and it's definitely helped us streamline our review process. And I think everyone's been happy with it internally and externally. We love it.

Trill Santin, Licensing Coordinator

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