A lot can be done in four weeks. For example, spending your monthly wage. Or even better, carrying out a complete digital transformation.
That’s exactly what Align Technology did, a manufacturer HQ’d in California of 3D digital scanners and clear aligners It carries out its work across Mexico, China, and Israel.
If you’re unclear about what clear aligners are, don’t worry about it because they’re easy to miss. Clear aligners are, in most direct English, clear braces used to straighten and strengthen teeth.
Since its birth in 1997, the company created the digital technology to “manufacture smiles”. Their aligners have been used to help around 9 million people around the world.
However, back in 2020 the pandemic hit and ushered in a heightened level of demand for all things digital and to deliver at pace, Align knew that how it communicated to the world had to change.
It swapped its content management system and chose Contentful to lead the line for digital experiences. What Contentful provides is scalability; what it provides is an agile platform connected more intimately to business goals. What Contentful offers are digital answers for complex business issues, among which removes those dastardly silos that emerge from other separate platforms.
Since the pandemic
Once lockdowns came into force, in-person doctor visits were mostly replaced by online consultations. Such an important switch meant getting out the message about how things are going to be changing through its communications by email, its website, and its mobile app. And this had to be done with careful consistency across all of its channels and across all of its local markets.
The scalable solutions of Contentful allowed Align to reconstruct its digital experience fit for the Pandemic period. “Without Contentful,” said Kamal Bhandal, the VP of global brand and consumer marketing, “we wouldn’t be able to scale and thrive to meet customer expectations.”
Building an app
Patients were not able to go and visit their doctor in person. So technology had to be deployed to fill in the vital gap between patient and doctor. It set about building its own app, My Invisalign, and suppressed the time it took to get to market by a whopping 90%.
In the app, face recognition was built to further reduce the need for in-person contacts during last year, along with the app providing information regarding location, key advice and up-to-date guidance. In addition, the app holds an “Aligner Timer” which actually tracks the daily wear time and reminds the user to change their aligner, and also holds a built-in calendar for appointments and schedules, as well as the ability for social media sharing of content.
A new platform
Both the marketing and development teams were able to launch the new platform within just two months. The teams had to make space for an integrated team approach considering the Covid restrictions and meeting around the virtual table. With a collective effort they highlighted the key issues and missing opportunities after scanning their digital presence.
For Align, this transformation was huge, and everything happened within just eight weeks. Considering what was involved – having to learn a whole new content management system platform, expanding their market outlook, having to upgrade its technology foundations, and ultimately managing 140 websites internationally.
And things that would have taken quite a while – such as translations – is now reduced which has enabled their teams to create, preview and publish content with greater agility.
A digital-first strategy
In Align’s pre-Contentful days, each of their region’s constructed their own individual content that was anchored to that region’s needs rather than holding all their content in a central hub.
Today, Align can provide highly consistent content across its local markets around the world thanks to them using one centralized template in which they can spring into localizing and translating it for each market they operate in.
It took just one month to build their new digital presence and their new platform got the green light for migrating its content from its old content management system over to Contentful. Today they can scale at pace whereas before they were pinned down by operating separate local communications.
Moving forwards into the Covid-free world, Align is looking to shift all of its other websites over to Contentful – like its doctor websites and professional websites – so that everything can be more easily managed.
Because scalability is built into what Contentful is about, it lets the company develop more time on enhancing the digital customer experience. As with life, our needs change, shopping behavior shifts, and fresh trends emere.
“There’s nothing worse than having insights and trends at your fingertips,” said Kamal, “and not being able to mobilize and not act on those trends and behaviors. So what I’m really looking forward to is now that we’ve got this infrastructure in place and we’ve been using it for quite some time.
“I’m really looking forward to having our marketing teams be able to adapt to those new trends and behaviors, quickly make changes, as quickly as we possibly can, to ensure that the experience we’re ultimately delivering in the marketplace is meeting the ever-changing expectations of consumers everywhere.”