When the Bank of Korea is not printing money it carries out its own research. In one such investigation, it found that there were 5,500 companies across the world that are older than 200 years.
Although they couldn’t quite make the list, the family-owned retail and mail order company Orvis was founded while the Crimean War was coming to a close; the Second Opium War was heating up; in the years leading up to the civil war.
Having had to transform multiple times over its existence, Orvis found itself in a similar situation lately, as the 163-year-old company looked to reinvigorate its brand.
Of course, most companies are currently in some stage of transformation as 2020 forces all of us to adapt and change our behavior – on a personal and business level. The starting point for many is updating their own specific workflows. While for others change begins from the top down, carrying out replatforming. And another bunch of companies take their chances and never quite get round to changing anything of significance.
Fewer companies have been willing to dive completely into digital, invest a lot in tech, and transform their customer experience management. But that’s exactly what Orvis did.
Like a flashback to its foundations, its headquarters are hidden among 500 acres of forest and mountains in Vermont. An environment it caters for, providing quality clothing, fly-fishing gear, hunting gear… even dog beds. If you’re heading outside into the wild, you might think about first heading to Orvis.
You can hear the trickling of the water of streams from the windows of HQ, but inside the company a great transformation is occurring.
“If we stayed with our history of primarily offering products through a direct mail catalog, we would quickly become irrelevant,” said Paul Vaughn, the director of user experience at Orvis. “It sounds extreme, but we have a lot of competitors who see us as their prime target for stealing market share.”
Orvis is in the process of powering better customer experiences using Adobe Experience Cloud, which includes Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Target.
First of all, they combined aspects of IT, marketing, and creative into an integrated team.
“Every conversation now takes a much broader view spanning website, email, technology, and retail stores,” said Vaughn. “It’s exciting to watch the walls between groups crumble. Every silo gone, and we’re synchronizing every movement.”
They’ve had to find new ways of working, beyond their own way of doing things – a traditional catalog model. Today they deliver a whole new dynamic experience that stretches across direct mail, web, and email.
“We need to move faster and act with more intention and intelligence,” he added. “That could mean creating and delivering content to address an early warm spell in the southern US or a deep freeze in New England on a moment’s notice – and accomplishing it with ease rather than sheer grit.”
Already, the benefits have started to be reaped. “Our very first seasonal campaign was for Fathers’ Day. Fathers are typically pretty hard to buy for,” said Vaughn. “We put our creative ideas behind building out our fishing story and highlighting gifting collections for men. The campaign really resonated with people. It far exceeded anything we expected.”
So what about their tech stack?
To carry out the transformation, Orvis adopted Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
One of their biggest steps was creating consistency with the catalog, the stores, and the website, in regards to its messaging, photography, and product campaigns. All stored safely in a single DAM system, AEM Assets. Something which Orvis loves.
“Adobe Asset Link is miraculous,” said Vaughn. “The speed with which we’re able to find assets, determine usage rights, and deploy them is probably 100 times faster. In moments – rather than hours – I can see the new shoot coming in from Austin, for example, and use it right away.”
AEM is also allowing Orvis to reuse their marketing content for wherever they want to display the digital content, making marketing campaigns and other content displays faster and easier to roll out.
“We’re almost to the promised land, and it’s pretty incredible,” said Vaughn. “The transformation we’ve gone through in the past 18 months is going to pay us back for years and years.”