Smartsheet Control Center helps Redbox cut brand creative costs by 20% while promoting more products
With Smartsheet, Redbox can efficiently manage hundreds of projects with thousands of assets while cutting costs and developing new entertainment offerings.
year over year cost savings without reducing staff or projects.
“I was able to bring our creative costs down by 20%. We didn’t reduce the number of projects, any of our team, or any of the work coming through, but because we became so efficient and the processes started running so smoothly, it almost felt like it was on autopilot.”
Senior Director, Brand, Creative Services and Content Management, Redbox
The Redbox kiosk is a familiar sight at more than 40,000 U.S. retail locations, where customers can rent or buy affordable entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Over the past two years, Redbox has added streaming, free ad-supported and free live TV offerings. As the company grew, it needed a better way to manage its creative marketing content. Smartsheet enables Redbox to manage and track thousands of campaign assets to support its innovative product expansion.
“Whenever we consider launching a new product or service, the question ‘How does this address and resolve customer pain points?’ is top of mind,” says Durriya Gunja, senior director of brand, creative services and content management at Redbox.
“Smartsheet empowers us to create solutions that differentiate our brand and serves as the vehicle that allows us to efficiently and successfully deliver those in-demand services our customers want.”
The entertainment marketplace is increasingly competitive, with major media streaming companies and DVD rental businesses vying for customers’ loyalty. Redbox has built a unique brand that combines modern online streaming options with billions of physical discs that customers have rented since its founding. When Gunja joined Redbox in 2017, she was a one-person brand and creative services team faced with advancing the company’s growth by developing and executing hundreds of creative marketing projects — with no formalized process.
Gunja needed a platform that could capture creative content and project status in a single place. It also had to be easy for her busy colleagues and potential new hires to learn and use. She had previously used Smartsheet for event management, and knew she could quickly implement solutions to organize and streamline her work.
“My experience with Smartsheet in the past had been limited, so I wasn’t aware of its full capabilities,” Gunja says. “Other solutions seemed cumbersome, with long lead times to implementation — anywhere from six months to a year. I simply didn’t have that time. So I made the decision to start using Smartsheet just to start digitizing our projects. Little did I know it was going to grow into so much more for us.”
Making projects flow smoothly with automation
Today Gunja leads a 10-person team that uses Smartsheet Control Center to power a standardized project request and execution process. Projects are requested through an online form that automatically generates a creative brief and prompts a project manager to schedule a kickoff.
The project templates populate a timeline with built-in process workflows and notifications scheduled over two or four weeks, with a separate tailored brief for urgent projects needed in five days or less. Templates are secured, preventing accidental errors, and can be globally updated via Control Center in most cases. They also enable project setup in a fraction of the 5-10 minutes required for manual project creation.
The team currently manages between 70 and 100 projects, including creation of 1,000 assets such as email copy, stickers, banners, live videos or animations, and more every month. Smartsheet makes it simple to track the status of a whole project as well as each asset within it.
“Prior to Control Center we were doing things manually,” Gunja says. “The creative brief had to be manually put together from the business information, which was taking up a lot of time, both on the client side and on the project manager side. Having Control Center automate the creation of the creative brief and send those notifications to the stakeholders has been a huge time savings. It’s eliminated work for the stakeholders as well. I feel like we’re kind of on autopilot when it comes to process.”
Detailed reporting drives strategic decision-making
While the ability to manage hundreds of projects at a time is valuable, Gunja says a crucial benefit of Smartsheet is the reporting she can generate. Project information feeds into dashboards that display project status and forecasting by cost and budget, share of voice, line of business, channels, and more. She can see how many projects have been completed in a month or a year, and which assets are used in specific channels. The data helps her gauge the team’s bandwidth and plan for additional support during busy periods, which can be predicted based on past work.
This detailed information helps Redbox leadership make strategic decisions about business priorities. As the company builds out its new product offerings and brand differentiation, the data helps Gunja and her team clearly make the case for additional resources or new initiatives. Gunja says Redbox is committed to continual improvement and using research data to try new ideas and take risks; Smartsheet adds to the information that informs this decision-making and ideation.
“Smartsheet has allowed us to put our time where it’s needed most,” Gunja says.
“We’re able to track whether we are spending the right amount of time per line of business or per share of voice, where the returns are. We’re able to align our returns with the effort we’re putting in. I share this report on a monthly basis to inform the leadership team on where our time is being spent and how much work is coming through. It’s been very important to make decisions on whether we need to add resources or cut down projects.”
Redbox also uses Smartsheet proofing and the platform’s integration with Adobe to streamline reviews of a variety of content. Team members can create PDFs, share them for review through Smartsheet, and capture all feedback in a single place, without ever leaving the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Cutting costs, but not staff or projects
Smartsheet has enabled Redbox to save significant time and money on its creative marketing projects. Over the past year, Gunja’s team was able to cut costs for creative projects by 20% — without reducing staff or cutting back on the number of projects being carried out. The automation and communication that Smartsheet enables has sped up the team’s work and eliminated the obstacles that can cause delays or extra expense.
By working more efficiently, Gunja and her team can enlarge their focus from simple project execution to strategic ideation and planning. The data they capture provides a detailed view of what’s working and how; the time they save can be used to build on that knowledge to create new ways to raise brand awareness, evolve Redbox product offerings, and continually improve the customer experience.
“In my first year at Redbox, I was always running around trying to understand where the projects were,” Gunja says. “Having all of that automated, all I have to do is go to my reporting; if there’s ever a question, all I have to do is click a button and see where it’s at, who it’s with. That has allowed me to be a part of all the strategic conversations with the clients.”
One reason Smartsheet has produced such dramatic results is that it’s easy to learn and use. Gunja says the platform has near-total adoption at Redbox, with no pushback; the user experience is simple, so new users can learn quickly without being overwhelmed. It helps that she’s built in training every step of the way.
“Smartsheet has done so much more for us than I imagined when I first signed the contract,” Gunja says. “Bigger platforms require so much more work and you end up being consumed in them, spending hours and hours just trying to use them. Smartsheet has saved us from that. The more we started using it and the more we understood it, the more we were able to build out. Even today, there is so much more that I want to do. Everyone should try it; they’re never going to know the difference until they try.”