HIPZONE Case Study

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From the moment HIPZONE, Inc. opened its doors in 2008 in Los Angeles, TWIST has been a silent partner, helping the company achieve its goals of providing content in print, digital or in mobile form. It lets HIPZONE streamline operations to deliver media at the lowest possible cost for customers on virtually any platform.

“TWIST underscores our ability to deliver and please the customer,” says Joe Cha, president of HIPZONE, an integrated media production house delivering advertising and marketing solutions to top retailers, marketers, and publishers. “It is so immersed in our workflow, it has become a seamless part of our operation. We’ve been on TWIST so long we don’t know any other way.”

Staying ahead of the curve is modus operandi for HIPZONE, which started the firm with heavy DNA in the print and on-line world. “If you want it in print, great, we’ve been doing that for years. But we can also deliver it digitally on the web in mobile. About 1/3 of our work is done in print, while 2/3 is digital. Print is not going to die, but will resettle into a new phase as part of a larger marketing orchestra to deliver messages to prospective customers.”

HIPZONE’s philosophy is to implement a production workflow that is both hybrid—using in-house or outsourced, domestic or overseas staff—and integrated, combing print, on-line, and other outputs to present the customer’s platform. HIPZONE also points to the help of its reseller, Bay Digital. “Danny is great and we value his support immeasurably,” says Cha. The company’s approach has hit a nerve—in two short years it has grown to over 50 employees working in the U.S., China and India.

The company uses TWIST as a premedia tool to create content in whatever file format is necessary for the project, including those tailored to new media. The ads are created within InDesign, files are made into PDFs, then resized and optimized for the right format for video, print, or the iPhone and iPad. Digital file formats typically do not work with InDesign. HIPZONE’s proprietary mobile solution leverages InDesign, which allows them to use TWIST.

“TWIST’s so flexible and dynamic—it’s really a workflow tool as opposed to a print tool,” says Cha. “We don’t just use it for print applications, we took TWIST and leveraged it, writing a proprietary layer ourselves, to use for mobile media production. That part is HIPZONE’s secret sauce.”

New projects HIPZONE is receiving demonstrate the interest in multi-platform media. In December 2009, a major U.S. publisher tapped HIPZONE to deliver magazine content optimized specifically for mobile phones, done so within the TWIST workflow. HIPZONE also built the iPad version of this magazine using DALIM SOFTWARE solutions.

HIPZONE is getting great value from TWIST’s flexibility and consistency. “We deal with a lot of new media, and in new media the software solutions we work with are often really buggy, because people are always trying to release them fast — and then they fix it in a follow up version,” says Cha. “Because of DALIM SOFTWARE’s history coming from print, quality and consistency are more important than speed. We love that TWIST is bug free.”

Cha’s relationship with DALIM SOFTWARE predates HIPZONE; he first became familiar with the technology while working for Colorscope, the company his father, Andrew Cha, founded. “We chose DALIM SOFTWARE because of the company’s experience as a print workflow tool, and we like Carol Werlé, DALIM SOFTWARE’s CEO; he is in many ways why we chose TWIST over other workflow solutions. Both my father and I have a deep personal respect for him as a business leader.”

Adds Cha, “The luck part of it is Carol kept his product robust and flexible so it is able to support on-line and mobile production.”

HIPZONE continues to push its new approach to media production, depending on TWIST to accomplish this multi-channel effort, which demands that a lot of groups work together seamlessly. In the future, Cha intends to integrate DALIM SOFTWARE’s ES. “The beginning of job tracking is exciting and ES has a pipeline of features driving the management of workflow, rather than processing alone. TWIST is processing; ES tracks how it gets done. That’s been a huge pain point for my customers.” explains Cha.

“The initial costs of implementing TWIST seem small, once you get the change management, the cost of training people and the new way of working smoothed out,” advises Cha. “You will be cognizant of the benefits, and how they give back month after month. The question I ask myself is would I go back to doing our work without TWIST? The answer: Not a chance!”