In a world where data and fashion seem to be at odds, one visual content and technology provider intuitively understands the importance of leveraging technology to help retail brands exceed their goals. Splashlight has been creating high-quality content and transforming production systems for nearly 15 years, developing world-class technology with an insatiable mission to deliver creative intelligence at every turn.
With its integrated platform called SPL2, Splashlight has created a unique customizable solution that provides clients with efficient workflows and crystal clear visibility into the production process. Ultimately, clients are able to more efficiently plan and organize their creative assets and generate more relevant and accurate photography output. SPL2, in conjunction with platforms like DALIM ES, enables brands that manage enormous amounts of merchandise to not only track their assets in incredible detail, but create their own, personalized system of accountability.
According to Peter Gunther, Senior Director of Strategic Technology at Splashlight, “Brands come to us with a desire to create beautiful images that help sell products. But they don’t always know that the technology we offer can also help them better track their merchandise, deliver results on set more efficiently and support their bottom line by planning, creating and routing assets that go to the right place, at the right time to drive conversion.”
To find out more, we spoke with Benoit Lagarde – Splashlight’s Co-Founder – about how SPL2 is making a crucial difference for retail clients like Victoria’s Secret, David Yurman and Target, among others.
What is SPL2 and how does it work?
SPL2 is a creative production tool that allows Splashlight to work with clients more transparently when managing merchandise, increasing photo asset quality and customizing the production process to fit specific needs. By tracking workflow and production, it offers insight and clarity into the creative production process.
We’re proud of the fact that SPL2 is not your average digital asset management tool. The system serves as a central nervous system, aligning everyone involved (merchandise teams, photographers, post-production, the client, etc.) on the production schedule to support faster delivery of assets and allow for realtime adjustments to marketing strategies.
What should companies know about the SPL2 and the flexibility it provides?
At the heart of the technology is Splashlight’s customer service ethos. We are constantly adjusting how it works so that we can exceed client expectations on workflow, transparency, accuracy, planning and feedback.
SPL2 does many things, but its ability to transform and integrate into existing systems allows us to improve collaboration with every use and every client. It provides a substantial value to our clients in that they do not need to invest in new systems to work with us. We make SPL2 work for them. And, if brands don’t know exactly what they need, the Splashlight team of developers, production experts and best-in-class creatives work closely with them to extract the most value from the technology.
SPL2 is web-based, but we also offer further technology from our desktop application called Slingshot, which allows us to connect other applications to SPL2. This integration offers us the ability to push and pull information between capture and SPL2 utilizing the SPL2 DALIM ES API – something no one else is able to do within our field.
By using the SPL2 platform, our clients get the benefit of inputting their own processes with minimal change. We can apply numerous inventory flags to SPL2’s merchandise data and provide unlimited visibility into their own processes, creating a dynamic workflow prioritization. This is our way of alleviating any stress a client may have about how new technologies work with theirs – we created SPL2 to play well with everyone, not just Splashlight’s products.
What are the different ways brands can customize SPL2?
We can customize virtually any element of the process that the client desires from how we inventory merchandise and establish workflow to how we markup, create ‘selects’ and package assets.
For example, we can provide (or limit) real-time access according to client needs to ensure quality control and streamlined processes on both sides of the partnership. We can also adjust the delivery method of the files, ensuring they are sent directly to the location of the client’s choosing – whether that is to the art director, the photographer or another client representative in the format required.
SPL2 allows teams to attach metadata to imagery, giving our clients the ability to call out unique identifiers that make categorizing specific images, such as by holiday, color and types of clothing an almost immediate process for current or future use.
What do clients love about SPL2?
Every client seems to have something just a little different that they appreciate about SPL2. But the most resounding feedback is that SPL2 allows them to focus on what they do best: generating the best work and getting their product quickly to market.
They no longer have to expend precious time and resources dealing with the workflow issues that have traditionally been necessary evils. Instead, our clients can presenting the best and most relevant content to generate better marketing results, which means more engagement and more revenue.
To me, there’s no greater feeling of success than when a client tells us that SPL2 has liberated them from the things they have to do, to doing the things they are most passionate about – and that their business is growing because of it.
How long has SPL2 been in the works?
When we first started developing a creative production tool back in 2003, it was clear that the technology just wasn’t there to support our ideas. The software available was not to the standards we demanded to deliver on our vision to provide faster, heightened levels of customized service. Now, 13 years later, with the addition of DALIM ES as one of the integrated platforms, I can confidently say SPL2 helps us and our clients deliver outstanding visual content more rapidly than ever before. It is pushing creative intelligence forward for both Splashlight and the brand teams with whom we work.
Splashlight focuses heavily on creative intelligence. What does that mean to you?
Creative has traditionally been a mystery and something that is very hard to explain to others. We see creative intelligence as a future-casting tool that links the technology we offer to the creative that resonates with consumers. At its heart, creative intelligence uses data to make smart creative choices – rooted in rigorous observation, measurement and analysis to complement creative judgment and instincts. The easier we make it for data to be infused into all parts of the production process, the more productive and successful our clients will be. SPL2 is just one of the tools we employ to help clients do this.
What is the future of retail and technology?
Plain and simple – it is personalization. We are hard at work to evolve the technology behind one-to-one digital marketing; to present giving consumers with imagery based on their demographic, location, purchase history and behaviors. It starts with having the right content and the right integration tools to share relevant, inspiring, motivational images with consumers.