Global marketing campaigns coordinated through Huddle
Established in 1950, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Around 80 percent of all almonds consumed around the world are Californian, making almonds California’s leading agricultural export in terms of value. One of Almond Board of California’s goals is to market almonds in order to create continued demand for growers. It also uses research to demonstrate that almonds are being grown, farmed, produced and marketed in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way.
With a target market that includes most countries around the world, the Almond Board of California has a global presence to support its outreach. The company has staff in Shanghai, London, India, Seattle and Washington, D.C. as well as its main U.S. office in California. In addition to its own workforce, the organization uses external advertising and marketing agencies in countries around the world. Consequently, there are almost 100 people across a variety of global locations that must collaborate to achieve the Almond Board’s marketing goals.
To ensure that everyone could work together effectively, regardless of their geographic location and time zone, an effective collaboration tool was required. The Almond Board of California initially began working with a traditional ICT system, using it as both an intranet and extranet but early experiences were not good, with the file access and sharing element proving to be a particular disappointment.
“Inefficient file access and sharing put a massive strain on the marketing team,” said Melissa Mautz, Associate Director, Marketing Services, Almond Board of California. “People outside of our main office had real trouble logging into the system, downloading and uploading files, and editing documents. We would also all get messages saying ‘you need to clear out your inbox’ when trying to share content, which was especially troublesome for people that worked outside of our main office.
There were also issues with document version control on the old system. Users complained that it was not intuitive and there were a number of instances where teams across the organization were working on and updating the incorrect version of a document. To resolve these problems and provide a central location for workers around the world to collaborate easily and securely, the Almond Board decided to look for a new system.
The Almond Board of California’s public relations agency in the UK is a committed Huddle user and recommended that the Almond Board try the enterprise content collaboration platform. A small group of test users trialled Huddle for a few weeks and were quickly won over by its ease-of-use, effective file sharing and collaboration features such as discussions and the ability to comment on files and content. Huddle was soon rolled-out across the Almond Board and all of its external advertising and PR agencies.
“We now use Huddle every single day of the week and it is part of the very fabric of the way we operate,” Melissa continues. “It is used to manage every single marketing project we work on, big or small, internal or external. The version control is perfect for our document approval. Notifications for document approval within Huddle are a sure-fire way of making sure that document get approved promptly by the correct individuals so that they can be finalized. Because Huddle is embedded in the way we work, members of our extended team know that we prefer not to review materials that come to us via email; they become members of our Huddle workspaces and work with us there.”
Huddle’s effectiveness for global collaboration was highlighted for the Almond Board during a 2011 project that involved the branding of one of the famous London taxi cabs. Recognized across the world as an iconic vehicle, the Almond Board of California wrapped a London taxi with Almond Board branding, ensuring high visibility across London for the duration of the campaign. The project involved people working in five different locations in two different time zones. Branding had to be accurate, deadlines had to be met and using Huddle ensured that the entire process was smooth and ran to schedule.
As the Almond Board of California’s global team is constantly growing, workers will often find themselves collaborating with colleagues across several different time zones. Scheduling calls between teams to discuss content and plans is a logistical challenge, so the ability to easily access information as and when it is required has been a real asset to the organization.
“The work we do in promoting California almonds to increase demand is very important to the almond growers and processors that we support. Huddle plays a huge role in helping us achieve success around the world and what I appreciate most about it is the constant improvements. It is a great product anyway but the Huddle team is always striving to improve it and I like that it gets better and better,” Melissa concludes.