How the start-up CI HUB makes crea­ti­ve teams’ dai­ly workload that easier with its auto­ma­ti­on software

Update mar­ke­ting mate­ri­als with a sin­gle click and use them cen­tral­ly: how the start-up CI HUB makes crea­ti­ve teams’ dai­ly workload that easier with its auto­ma­ti­on software.

How easy is it to auto­ma­te mar­ke­ting pro­ces­ses? Apart from crea­ti­ve claims and cam­paign ide­as, every mar­ke­ting depart­ment is respon­si­ble for deli­ve­ring logos, fly­ers, visu­als and pre­sen­ta­ti­ons in a uni­form cor­po­ra­te look. The cor­po­ra­te iden­ti­ty is visua­li­sed in many small-sca­le ele­ments, yet still repre­sent a uni­form cor­po­ra­te image to the out­side world. To do this, the look is based on clear gui­de­lines which are usual­ly enshri­ned in regu­la­ti­ons. Such cor­po­ra­te iden­ti­ty gui­des can run to seve­ral hundred pages. Lar­ge com­pa­nies like Apple have a who­le team moni­to­ring com­pli­ance with the cor­po­ra­te iden­ti­ty at all levels. The time spent doing this and the degree of coor­di­na­ti­on are cor­re­spon­din­gly high. What if the mar­ke­ting exe­cu­ti­ves and their agen­ci­es did­n’t have to check and enter ever­y­thing by hand, but could adapt the mate­ri­als used in their dai­ly pro­gram­mes with a sin­gle CI-com­pa­ti­ble click? And do all of this auto­ma­ti­cal­ly? That’s just what Andre­as Mich­al­ski, Jörg Seid­ler and Jas­per Ull­rich of the Pots­dam-based start-up CI Hub thought.

All of the three foun­ders have many years of expe­ri­ence with brand manage­ment soft­ware and know the dai­ly requi­re­ments of com­plex mar­ke­ting pro­ces­ses. “What we real­ly should do is find an appli­ca­ti­on that goes to the user - that puts the user’s pro­blem at the cent­re”, says Jörg Seid­ler about the initi­al idea. While the­re are many appli­ca­ti­ons that mana­ge auto­ma­ti­on here and the­re, it’s real­ly all about having the cor­rect deploy­ment. Many teams use their mate­ri­als in seve­ral pro­gram­mes and tools. CI HUB the­r­e­fo­re work­ed on a cloud-based plat­form with plug-ins that can be used across sys­tems in cur­rent pro­gram­mes of Ado­be and Micro­soft. The tool is inte­gra­ted into the tar­get pro­gram­mes. Thus, the soft­ware can sup­port vir­tual­ly all of the media that play a role in mar­ke­ting. CI HUB does not store the data its­elf, but con­nects the end user with the data sources via its own platform.

The mass of data used by lar­ge com­pa­nies for their mar­ke­ting pro­ces­ses is enorm­ous. The­re is cus­to­mer data from CRM (Cus­to­mer Rela­ti­onship Manage­ment) sys­tems, image data from a DAM (Digi­tal Asset Manage­ment) or pro­duct data in a PIM (Pro­duct Infor­ma­ti­on Manage­ment). In addi­ti­on, the­re is the con­tent from pho­to agen­ci­es such as Get­ty Images and other stock libra­ry ser­vices or clouds such as Drop­box and Goog­le Dri­ve. With CI HUB, all this con­tent can be easi­ly fil­te­red, acces­sed and used in the appli­ca­ti­ons via Drag and Drop.

Com­plex coor­di­na­ti­on pro­ces­ses are no lon­ger neces­sa­ry if a com­pa­ny, for exam­p­le, is working with agen­ci­es around the glo­be on an inter­na­tio­nal cus­to­mer. Every employee in each coun­try has direct access to CI-com­pli­ant docu­ments through CI HUB. Ever­yo­ne the is working with the same data source. If someone opens a docu­ment with an out­da­ted lay­out or logo, the CI HUB plug­in will make them awa­re of this and exch­an­ge it at the touch of a button.

The par­ti­cu­lar fea­ture here is that the ori­gi­nal image is stored cen­tral­ly only once in one size, but can be made available in a hig­her or lower reso­lu­ti­on for dif­fe­rent needs. CI HUB also gene­ra­tes a pre­view image - regard­less of whe­ther other pro­gram­mes are nor­mal­ly pro­vi­ding it. The user can then quick­ly see whe­ther they are acces­sing the right file. This way means that teams are always working across all pro­gram­mes with the most up-to-date and appro­ved con­tent. If the com­pa­ny has a Pro­duct Infor­ma­ti­on Manage­ment sys­tem, the asso­cia­ted texts or pro­duct descrip­ti­ons can be dis­play­ed direct­ly as data along­side the images and then inser­ted into the layout.

The infor­ma­ti­on is poo­led and bund­led in one place and impor­ted to whe­re the users need it. What works for lar­ge com­pa­nies also works for small teams or freelancers.

At the moment, the start-up is in pha­se one. Fur­ther data sources are to be inte­gra­ted in the future. This would lead to an acce­le­ra­ti­on of auto­ma­ti­on pro­ces­ses par­ti­cu­lar­ly for e-com­mer­ce plat­forms and websites.

CI HUB has sin­ce beco­me one of the latest suc­cess sto­ries ope­ra­ting from the Media­Tech Hub. It was only this Febru­ary that the start-up announ­ced that it had clo­sed a seven-digit finan­cing round with lea­ding VCs. In 2019, CI HUB recrui­ted Drop­box as a part­ner and is now acti­ve in the mar­ket with 13 major part­ners (inclu­ding Byn­der, Celum, Apri­mo, Ado­be Stock and Gettyimages).

The three foun­ders ori­gi­nal­ly come from Hes­se, but Bran­den­burg was the one who offe­red the most exci­ting envi­ron­ment and the ide­al fun­ding land­scape for their busi­ness idea back in 2018. So they were initi­al­ly loca­ted in the Start-up Space at Pots­dam Trans­fer and then accept­ed on to the Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor pro­gram­me. The pro­duct launch in autumn 2019 at Ado­be Max in Los Ange­les was well recei­ved and ope­ned up the inter­na­tio­nal market.

CI HUB and the core team are now based at the Media­Tech Hub Lab whe­re they often meet with other foun­ders to exch­an­ge ide­as and have a beer tog­e­ther after work.

A web­i­nar will be held on Thurs­day, June 4 about “Stream­li­ning Ado­be CC Con­tent from your DAM to Acce­le­ra­te Work­flow”. Fol­low here for registration.

By Chris­ti­ne Lentz

More blog artic­les here.

About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.