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Damming the Content Current

In Focus
NAME:Bob Hickey
LOCATION:Amsterdam, Netherlands
In our digital world, content is king but can quickly descend into chaos if not carefully managed and distributed. That’s where Bynder, spearheaded by CEO Bob Hickey, comes in, with its AI-powered Digital Asset Management platform that creates a connected content ecosystem for brands to drive market success.

The state of modern content has become akin to maintaining a lawn. Let it go and soon it’s out of control; keep it managed and it’s a fantastic addition not just to your home, but the entire street.

With so many ways to produce content and avenues for its release, it’s easy for it to take on a life of its own. Therefore, in this world of content chaos, with increasing numbers of people online and ever-increasing ways to reach them when they’re there, it pays to understand your content’s strategic value and how you can deliver it to the right person, in the right format and at the right time.

“We’re using AI in a highly responsible way.”

Those who do will emerge as winners, says digital asset management (DAM) industry leader Bynder.

Founded in Amsterdam, Bynder is on a mission to empower its customers to conquer the complexity and chaos of proliferating content.

This is done through a Software as a Service (SaaS)-based DAM platform, which is powered by AI and sits at the center of a network of integrated platforms and technologies to enable seamless creation, management and distribution of content. It’s one system of record that Bynder CEO Bob Hickey likes to call “a single source of truth”.

A Great Fit

Bynder’s growth has been impressive, and has included a combination of partnerships and acquisitions. And it was via one of these acquisitions – of American DAM firm Webdam – that Hickey was brought into the Bynder fold.

“It was a great merger of two of the leading SaaS companies,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “And what made it such a great fit was the cultural aspect – Webdam was 90 percent United States-based, while Bynder had 60 percent of their business in Europe.”

While the two companies had been fierce competitors, there was a powerful mutual respect at play. When they came together, Hickey found himself at the helm as an agent of unity.

“On average, we’ve been growing north of 25 percent over the last three years,” he says. “And for us, it’s really about our customers.”

Bynder employs more than 550 people (affectionately known as ‘Byndies’), and these constitute the world’s most extensive pool of DAM expertise, all of which are then made available to customers.

Today, Hickey says, the company has close to 4,000 customers, among them, the likes of Five Guys, Spotify, Lacoste, Mazda and Puma.

“Helping their digital strategies evolve is probably the biggest growth area that we see,” he explains.

Embracing Technology

Wrestling content control back from content chaos is no mean feat, and behind Bynder’s DAM is a host of cutting edge technology that helps customers create, manage and distribute their content. The company has incorporated AI and automation to improve user experience and help deliver content at scale.

“Trust is the ultimate competitive differentiator.”

Hickey explains how Bynder has been ahead of the curve, integrating machine learning and automation into its DAM, particularly when it comes to completing repetitive or time-consuming remedial jobs.

“Studies show there are 30 percent of tasks that can be replaced with AI – think of what you could do with an additional 30 percent to be more productive,” he says.

For instance, AI can automatically tag images uploaded to the DAM to enable quick searches through its centralized repository, freeing up content creators to concentrate on more creative endeavors. And AI search experience functionality enables identification of similar assets and text in images, as well as the ability to search using images and identify duplicate assets.

The roll out of generative AI models has given the platform new capabilities, including the creation of drafts of structured text and editorial content within seconds, as well as the ability to shorten or lengthen text, change tone and translate.

There’s no doubt AI is a game changer, Hickey explains. But what is key is how it is harnessed.

“We’re using AI in a highly responsible way,” he says, adding that the company has incorporated capabilities to ensure clients control the narrative, decide which steps involve AI assistance and identify any stage where AI copy has been written.

Best in Class

Ultimately, Hickey believes that Bynder’s people are what sets the company apart.

“We feel like we have a good product and strong technology, but trust is the ultimate competitive differentiator,” he says.

“When organizations and iconic brands trust Bynder with their digital strategy, we take that as a big compliment, but also a big responsibility. And so I try to make sure our team remains humble and hungry. A lot of people have created their own story at Bynder.”

“A lot of people have created their own story at Bynder.”

The journey into a bleeding-edge future that can provide new avenues for the company’s clients is, he adds, less about Bynder and more about its people, inside and out.

“Our customers are going to evolve and compete, and we believe content is extremely important in helping them do so,” he says.

“We invest significant amounts on R&D, so we like to think that no-one’s going to out-innovate us. We also strive for a plus-one mentality, so no-one’s going to deliver a better customer experience than Bynder. People talk about being best in class, but we like to go out there and live it, day in and day out.”

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