It's a Small World After All

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Tennant and Company
Sells environmental cleaning equipment
Vendor: BASE-10 Content Management
Business Problem: Building a consistent message and branding on the company website across worldwide markets without breaking the bank. For some companies, technology can help unify content silos in a worldwide market.

When Daniel Platt, associate emarketing manager at Tennant and Co., came on board in 2005, his company had a global market presence, but each country operated its own website leaving the company without a consistent brand or website look and feel throughout the world. Platt was charged with creating a single worldwide vision, no easy task when individual countries had been used to producing content alone.

Tennant and Co. is a 137-year-old firm that produces commercial cleaning machines. Platt explains his company builds large machines that clean streets and parking lots all the way down to vacuum cleaners used in malls, airports, and other large commercial spaces. He says the company doesn’t sell to the home market.

When Platt arrived, the existing CMS, at least in the U.S., was home-grown and had lots of problems. First of all, it wasn’t scalable, and global partners weren’t able to contribute content. In fact, Platt reports that when he came on board, the company’s public website hadn’t been regularly updated—global partners were all using separate content management solutions. He knew he wanted to pull partners spread out across the world under a single content management umbrella, but he wasn’t sure which company offered the correct solution.

“We needed to assess a content management tool that would allow all of our global partners in Japan, China, Australia, and Europe to be able to maintain and manage [their] own websites with [their] own local products and unique marketing messages, but at the same time we wanted to have some level of consistency with branding and look and feel and we wanted to leverage one system and not have every country trying to manage their own,” Platt explains.

After communicating with his worldwide partners, assessing their needs, and talking to IT, Platt began looking at a list of vendors. In the executive committee, there wasn’t a great understanding of content management, and he knew he could not sell an expensive option that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end, he narrowed his list down to three vendors and ended up choosing BASE-10 because he liked the price and the flexibility.

Although Tennant and Co. hosts the solution on its own servers, the CMS is web-based, which makes it very accessible to end users. Platt says he also liked that you could extract content from the BASE-10 system into Excel spreadsheets, a product his users were comfortable using, and which also enabled them to use a preferred translation vendor or let the in-country partner hire a translator, depending on cost considerations. Finally, Platt was impressed by the unlimited seat license BASE-10 offered, which gave him a lot of flexibility to add additional users when bringing on new worldwide partners.

Platt has been pleased with the results, and he has been able to bring different languages on board over time, something that would have been nearly impossible with the old system. “We have been able to go into markets we weren’t able to go into before. When you think about who our products appeal to and our markets, they are people who are professional cleaners all over the world. Oftentimes they are not familiar with English and want to go to the website and see it in their own language,” Platt says. By finding a solution that met the needs of his worldwide community, Platt was able to use technology to solve a worldwide content dilemma and have a meaningful effect on the bottom line.

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