Bandai Namco Levels Up Its Global Brand Consistency

A quality brand is something to believe in, something to trust and connect to, regardless of the product or location.

But delivering on a brand promise across four global regions – each with its own language requirements and cultural touchstones – poses a huge challenge. That’s what one of the largest gaming companies in the world, Bandai Namco, faced as they struggled to coordinate marketing campaigns and asset creation across multiple global offices and regions.

For important product launches like Pac-Man, Tekken, and Bandai’s biggest new release, Elden Ring, providing unified messaging that connected to customers was critical. But to do that, Bandai Namco needed to standardize processes, improve collaboration across global teams, coordinate activities, centralize asset management and ensure its governance and compliance measures didn’t impede asset creation and re–use.

Regional Siloes Nerf Consistency Efforts

To create a hub for asset creation and management, Bandai Namco needed the marketing teams to become a unified clan, bonding together to work as one and complement each other’s efforts, ensuring brand consistency and successful marketing programs. Teams in Japan, Asia, Europe, and North America all used different systems, and marketing assets went through a complex web of approvals: brand managers, licensors, and regional IP management teams. Planning campaigns and asset releases required a lot of communication and follow-ups, and it’s no wonder, because even one product launch could necessitate hundreds of assets being created – in dozens of languages.

Meanwhile, when assets were created, they weren’t easy to find, forcing marketing teams to forage through nearly two dozen tools used to share files. This would frustrate employees to the point where they would just create something  themselves, taking a hit to brand consistency in the process. It also created security risks because many of these tools were part of the shadow IT landscape, unregulated by any one department. Getting approvals required navigating a maze of departments and personnel. It became clear that Bandai Namco needed a centralized “source of truth” to create and find assets and manage campaigns and projects, ensuring brand consistency and bolstering the marketing department’s capabilities.

Assembling a Clan to Overpower Marketing Challenges

Bandai Namco chose Adobe Workfront, but it knew it would need an experienced partner to help extend and enhance the software. The journey began, and CapabilitySource emerged as the partner of choice due to their ability to work with both the Adobe Workfront instance and the digital asset management instance at Bandai Namco, among other things.

“CapabilitySource was the only partner that listened to what I wanted to accomplish and came with some ideas on how to achieve it.”

“Everyone else either gave me standard responses or didn’t think it was possible,” recalls Josiah Koons, Senior Creative Services Manager. “The CapabilitySource team was knowledgeable and not just sales oriented, and I really felt like they had my best interests in mind.”

CapabilitySource invented a solution that didn’t exist before, combining multiple technologies in creative ways to enable project managers to coordinate team activities across the globe. Initial project wins gave Koons the leadership alignment to expand the initiative.

  • Difficulty achieving global brand consistency across four major regions and numerous countries, each with their own language and cultural touchstones

  • Different regions and offices around the globe created their own version of assets, resulting in hundreds of thousands of projects per year

  • Diverse product portfolio, marketed worldwide

  • Thousands of assets for even one product launch or marketing campaign

  • Need for centralized “source of truth” to find assets and information quickly, be consistent, and create assets correctly and on time

Digital Marketing Solution
  • Custom creative operations tool

    – An interactive dashboard that allows marketers and project managers to streamline asset creation review, approval and publishing activities across global regions and localizations

  • Automations to significantly reduce the asset management burden

  • Custom user interface to simplify and regionalize user experience and workflow

  • Standardized rules and centralized control for asset governance and compliance

Adobe Workfront Provides a Strong Foundation

Bandai Namco leadership had its end goal in mind: a marketing department that could save time and money by sharing assets, streamlining processes, ensuring that approvals happened in a timely manner, and ultimately foster brand consistency regardless of where the team was located – they just needed to figure out how to make those ideas come to life. That’s where CapabilitySource’s team came on-site to brainstorm and refine. “Some of my favorite moments are taking the visualization in my head and turning it into something workable,” Koons says.

CapabilitySource worked with the team in Japan to conduct interviews and learn what would be useful in a tool, particularly for people who are not project managers. Any solution needed to be simple enough for the marketing team to want to use, but also scalable enough to generate thousands of projects and assets, keep them organized and easily accessible through the DAM, and ultimately ensure consistency across the brand.

In addition to Adobe Workfront, the technology solutions implemented include automations to reduce or eliminate highly manual tasks, which provides the company with the ability to handle large volumes, asset dependencies, and asset diversity. CapabilitySource also deeply integrated Adobe Workfront with the existing DAM technology to improve asset quality, accessibility, and asset exchange. But that was just Phase 1, leveraging Lean Six Sigma techniques to help the marketing team operate more efficiently, with an already-lean staff.

“CapabilitySource has great people, and great people make the best partners. I can’t speak highly enough about the character and integrity that the company has.”

Crafting the Creative Operations Tool Unifies Marketing, Ganks Inefficiencies

To truly level up in its brand consistency, end the lag for approvals, and remove the grinding required to create or find an asset, Bandai Namco looked to CapabilitySource to extend and enhance Adobe Workfront. Bandai Namco was prepared to create a stronger, more unified marketing organization that leveraged templatized projects and automations to create assets faster and improve overall efficiency, which meant an innovative approach that would improve upon out-of-the-box technology and create something customized for Bandai Namco’s needs.

The project team spent days brainstorming, whiteboarding ideas and evaluating the strategies to accomplish Bandai’s objectives. “For us, the genesis of it was, how do we get consistency in the way projects are created and the way the intake is happening, then refine it to the point where it is easy for the marketing team to conduct a project intake without exposing all the information in the project management system up front. If we expose too much information than what is needed, they’ll give up,” recalls Koons.

From that experience, the creative operations tool was born: a simple, elegant way to manage request intakes with guardrails in place to keep users from ragequitting the application. Essentially, this browser-based application deeply integrated with Adobe Workfront – which uses campaign and asset creation micro-services – allows the creative team to spool up projects faster. The custom tool can automatically generate dozens or hundreds of asset tasks by multiplying a Title’s required asset types, languages, game platforms, and packaging components, keeping staff focused on asset delivery and coordinated work. It has a custom user interface to simplify and regionalize user experience and workflow, and it allows for custom handling of digital files, including extremely large video assets, eliminating the need to spin up shadow IT file sharing tools.

“Adobe Workfront really shines as a project management tool for project managers,” says Koons. “For us, developing the creative operations tool made it also shine for global marketing users – not only giving us productivity and efficiency, but also giving us transparency so that the organization could move together as one unit, understand where we were in the process, and plan better.”

"The creative ops tool created by CapabilitySource not only gave us productivity and efficiency, but it also gave us transparency so the organization could move together as one unit."

Asset Re-Use, Improvement in Response Rate Demonstrates Brand Consistency

As a result of engaging CapabilitySource for process improvement, Adobe Workfront implementation, and development of the creative operations tool, Bandai Namco has seen asset re-use increase by up to 50 percent, depending on the asset, which includes logos, key art, and core product assets like trailers and beauty shots. The company saves approximately 10 percent per asset created and has achieved an improvement in response rate of 50-75 percent. Because of the creative operation tool’s ability to handle large video files, Bandai Namco has also eliminated most of its rogue file sharing tools, shoring up security holes.

The team itself has also improved its productivity and found a much easier way to get work done. For example, the head of channel and sales needed to put in 60 requests in one week. But it was one of the easiest processes she went through. What was once a grueling task is now a streamlined, time-saving process that combines assets on demand, a simple intake process, and a positive mentality on the team, according to Koons. “To have the intake process be really easy and simple is a huge win,” he says.

  • Up to a 50% increase in asset re-use, enabling brand consistency and improving efficiency

  • 63% decrease in cycle time from marketing work request to fulfill-ment plan response

  • 10% decrease in cost per asset

About Bandai Namco

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., part of BANDAI NAMCO Group, is a leading global publisher and developer of interactive entertainment for all major video game consoles, iOS, Android, and online platforms. The company is known for creating and publishing many of the industry’s top video game franchises including PAC-MAN®, GALAGA®, TEKKEN®, SOULCALIBUR®, and ACE COMBAT®. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. is the premier publisher in the Western hemisphere for anime-based video games including NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™, DRAGON BALL Z®, and ONE PIECE®.