Shard Media was looking to radically overhaul its digital presence as it was very much of a rigid and non-responsive format, and in need of a significant shift forward to provide improved services for the readers, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and across the board for Shard publications and events.
At the same time, there was a big need to pull together the back office into one centralised suite. This is because Shard Media runs a lot of events, and a great deal of time is spent managing the event logistics - ranging from the websites, signups, award entries, delegates, speakers, sponsors and related admin activities. Shard really wanted a one-stop-service that allowed them to manage all the tasks themselves on a simple end-to-end platform.
The goal was to create centralised brand hubs with the main magazine content, all the associated events, sponsor directory, and focused B2B community. Crucially these would all share the same underlying CRM so that delegates, speakers, judges, sponsors, etc. could all self-manage and be profiled against a single customer record across all the brands. It was also crucial that in creating sites, be they for events or publications, the process would be an easy and quick replicable task that could be managed by the in-house digital team.
Early on, a new priority arose, which was to launch a new Shard Media Group brand site. This needed to be a single page site, but effectively have the equivalent content of a regular brand site with contacts, brands, careers and all the usual core brand site elements. There was a very short turn-around time for this so the responsive design, build and content population had to happen very quickly.
Shard Media is both building on a solid legacy business, and looking to quickly innovate to bring great new services and brands to market across the financial services sector. To maximise the effectiveness of the brand building, and to identify how best to leverage the digital platform and presence, Affino ran a series of interviews with all the key Shard Media teams - to identify where it was possible to have the highest impact, and how best to phase the digital rollouts both on the management and promotional sides of the business.
Affino has also supported the Shard team-building within Shard Media, by assisting with the creation of job specifications, sitting in on interviews and advising on the strengths and experience that best map on to the digital roles.
Affino has throughout the process worked with Shard Media to bring a mobile first focus to the enterprise, in terms of design, publishing workflows and strategy. To drive things forward, Affino put in an extensive training, consultative and support package whereby the Affino team is working with, and training Shard Media across the board, with a particular focus on the digital, CRM and project teams.
Shard are looking to roll out multiple brands, and do an extensive level of profiling along with targeted sales and marketing automation. It means that at the heart of their new digital way of working is the Affino Marketplace SaaS Service, with a multi-site service level agreement and dedicated data service. This allows Shard to roll out multiple brand hubs as needed, and ensures that the audience data is captured, preserved and quickly available as required.
Affino has extended the events aspects of the Affino platform considerably to deliver on Shard’s requirements including the new advanced events which greatly speed up event micro-site rollouts, the new awards platform which allows them to clone and adapt any previous award programme they have run (on Affino), and a suite of new event management capabilities for managing judging, delegates, presenters and sponsors.
The second major phase was to roll out the new Credit Strategy site, which is the brand hub for both the newly re-branded magazine and credit community, and is also the events hub for all the credit related Shard Media events brands. The major challenge here has been to create a great new contemporary finance brand, with easy to manage content, which can be simply navigated, and looks great across all devices. Affino worked closely with the Shard Media team to ensure that we brought together all the best ideas across the board and leveraged the most effective content presentations in each case across the different parts of the brand hub.
Following the launch of the major hub site, Affino is now supporting the Shard Media team to create the next and subsequent brand hubs using the in-house digital team and related team resources.
Affino is also supporting the move for the sales and marketing teams to migrate the core Sales and Audience CRMs and digital marketing campaigns all to the core Affino SaaS platform.
We are also wrapping up the major new events platform capabilities that Shard will be leveraging. These revolve around two areas: Event Sponsor management and the entire end-to-end Awards platform for Shard.
We have just launched the second of three key Event related Affino releases which will be crucial to Shard. It is focused on quickly creating slick awards programmes with easy purchasing, sign-up, entry, judging and management. The next phase is all about the new sponsor management workflows for all events.
Once all the phases are rolled out, and the first phase was completed six months ago, then Shard Media Group will be at the forefront of how it can quickly roll out events and remain confident that all the tools are single-sourced, updated in real-time and all the data is available online, including on-site.