Having your thunder lightning stolen
Imagine your company’s worst nightmare. You’re ready to launch a new partnership with one of your dream brands. You’ve sworn your employees to secrecy for several months. And, just as you’re about to announce it to the public, someone beats you to the punch.
Awful, right? Well that’s exactly what happened to Lightning eMotors.
After securing an exciting new partnership to retrofit some of DHL’s commercial vehicles in New York with their electric powertrains, Dan Bennett, Lightning eMotors’ Marketing Manager, was about to launch their press release. Using WordPress as their CMS, Dan had everything ready to go live the following morning, including a picture of a DHL van to accompany the announcement.
But some super sleuth beat them to it.
WordPress’s media library isn’t secure, so someone was able to scrape the image and figure out Lightning eMotor’s big announcement, posting about it on social media before the announcement had gone live.
Dan was already working on getting the budget for a DAM, and this just added to his case.
“I said ‘well that’s just how WordPress works’! If we’d been using a DAM, it’d be another story, and senior management were like okay - we’re subscribing!”
Now Lightning eMotors use Dash’s embedded links feature to insert an image into articles and announcements straight from their Dash. Their new, secure DAM means those images can’t be scraped until the post itself goes live.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Turning commercial fleets zero-emission
Located in Loveland, Colorado, Lightning eMotors helps commercial fleets across the United States switch to zero-emission battery-electric vans, trucks and buses. Their mission is to “transform the commercial fleet industry to zero-emissions one vehicle at a time”.
As Dan says:
"We’re the biggest commercial electric vehicle vendor in the US. We’re also growing rapidly, we’re now over 260 people.”
They retrofit commercial vehicles from the likes of Ford and General Motors, stripping out their engines and replacing them with Lightning eMotors’ own ‘powertrains’ - which, as Dan patiently explained to us, consist of the electric motor, batteries, brackets, cables, hoses and all the other supporting components which make the vehicles run.
They also work directly with freight and courier companies like DHL to clean up their fleet emissions, ditching those petrol-guzzling engines for clean, green, electric motors.
Leaving Dropbox in the dust
Dan is Lightning’s creative lead - a photographer, video producer, graphic designer and brand manager. He calls himself a “one-man, in-house creative agency”. If you’re like Dan juggling all of those activities across your working day, you need tools that help you work efficiently - rather than ones which end up slowing you down.
Before Dash, Lightning eMotors were using Dropbox to manage all their creative assets. And it was starting to slow them down.
“I’d just download images from Dropbox, attach them to an email, and send them. There wasn’t an easy way to share a collection unless there was a Dropbox folder that matched what you wanted to share.”
When you’re maintaining a consistent brand, sometimes it’s easier to just start afresh.
“There was a lot of content on our Dropbox that wasn’t curated, so if I tried sharing a folder there was a lot of noise relative to good content. One of the reasons I wanted to go to Dash was to have a clean slate and put up images I really do want people to use internally or externally.”
How to pick a DAM that’s right for you
Dan was already fed up with Dropbox and he was working on a case to move Lightning eMotors onto a digital asset management (DAM) platform. The leaked image only accelerated his plans. It underlined the importance of having a secure library full of well-curated brand content.
“I had been feeling for a while that we needed a DAM. I wrote a justification and did a lot of research on which ones might be good candidates. So I was quietly pushing for this in the days where we didn’t have much money so there was some push back. But after the WordPress incident - well, we signed up for Dash immediately after that.”
Dan did rigorous research to make sure Lightning eMotors got the DAM best suited to their needs, for a budget the company could afford. His tips?
“First, identify what price point you’re comfortable with. Then, build a spreadsheet with a matrix of things you’d really like your DAM to do.”
It’s sound advice. Researching a DAM can feel overwhelming, especially when you need buy-in from senior stakeholders who want to know you won’t end up paying through the nose for features you and your team will never use.
Luckily for us, Dan’s comprehensive spreadsheet pointed to one DAM in particular - Dash!
“Dash had the features I wanted. Plus I was so impressed with the responsiveness of the Dash team; and having features I requested added before I’d even signed up was amazing! It really illustrated the responsiveness and flexibility of the company as a whole.”
How Lightning eMotors supercharge their marketing with Dash
Dash is now the home of all of Lightning eMotors’ brand and marketing content. It’s curated by Dan and others so they can make sure only images and videos they’ve approved beforehand are being used.
They’ve used a combination of folders and attributes to best organise their marketing content. Each folder title has the initials of the person responsible for it. So, for instance, say you’re working in Lightning eMotors and want to see the photos Dan has taken recently - you’d just search for his initials on Dash and up they come.
Within that, Dan’s also set up attributes to filter by vehicle type. Users of their Dash account can now search by vehicle type - like commercial or passenger - to quickly find the asset they need.
As well as storage, Dan has found being able to share assets from Dash is saving him a lot of time.
“If I’ve got assets already in Dash, then it definitely speeds things up - it’s so easy to build a collection, send a link and off you go. For example, I use Dash collections for the images, brochures and logos I provide in the press kit on our website.”
Since signing up to Dash, Lightning eMotors have gone public. They have ambitious growth plans, and part of that involves working with a marketing agency to take their brand to the next level. Dash is an integral part of that.
“We asked the marketing agency to do a brand playbook for us and Dash was an important part of that. We set up collections that third parties can use for brand assets.”
More recently, Lightning eMotors wanted to provide marketing content to their dealers and partners. Some of this content is common to everyone, and some is specific to each partner, such as co-branded marketing materials. They were talking to a web programming company about implementing this functionality on their WordPress website, which would have been complex to set up and maintain. Then they discovered Dash’s Portals feature. “Dash’s Portals handle this complexity so easily - all we have to do is create common and partner-specific folders and away you go.”
One thing that Dan especially appreciates is the pricing flexibility.
“Although there are four main subscription levels offered, I’ve been so pleased that the people at Dash can enable a particular feature for a small incremental price, rather than bumping me up a whole level. This pick-and-mix approach is so valuable - you get what you need and no more.”
And the million-dollar question - would Dan recommend Dash to other start-ups and growing brands?
“Dash is an engaged and responsive organisation, and that's been one of the biggest values of working with you. I’d totally recommend Dash. For small to medium organisations Dash has the flexibility you need.”
"I’d totally recommend Dash. For small to medium organisations Dash has the flexibility."
Dan Bennett, Marketing Manager at Lightning eMotors