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In the beginning, there was the idea of community. Founded in 1965, ACE (Auto Club Europa) was originally exclusively intended for trade union members. Three decades later, it opened up to all motorists. With 630,000 members, Germany's second-largest car club has nevertheless remained true to its social commitment: ensuring mobility for all is the Stuttgart-based club’s unofficial leitmotif. And this goes for all shapes and sizes: originally aimed at motorists, the ACE service today not only includes every family member, but also everything on wheels – from campers to bicycles. This development is set to continue. ACE’s goal is now to be a mobility companion for all mobile people, regardless of the means of transport they use.
The mobility revolution and digitalisation pose challenges for the traditional club – and it has found some pretty smart answers: the meaningful linking of vehicles and teams.
In addition to the website and the social media presence, the member magazine ACE LENKRAD, which is published six times a year, informs its approximately 670,000 readers about tyre tests, new cars and topics related to road safety, electromobility, consumer protection and new forms of mobility. Originally, each of the three teams – ACE LENKRAD's web, social media and print editors – worked on their own. This means that each team not only had its own publishing system, but also its own asset management. "Our goal is to speak with one voice," says Anja Smetanin, Head of Marketing and Sales and Editor-in-Chief of ACE LENKRAD at ACE. “However, the data silos between the teams stood in the way of a consistent visual and textual language.”
That’s why, ACE enlisted the help of Adobe Experience Manager Assets to unify workflows and create a central data pool of images and graphics to ensure consistent imagery. This also saves the editorial offices valuable time. “Before, images were scattered all over the server: in folders for articles, for events – or even in staff folders,” reports Anja Smetanin. “Now we have a clear structure in which we can quickly get our bearings.” A welcome side effect: with a complete overview for the first time, the editorial teams were able to identify gaps in their stock of images.
In addition to the central organisation, the automated image adjustment in particular is a great support for the teams. Social media platforms, the website and the magazine each have specific image format requirements. The Auto Crop feature in Adobe Experience Manager Assets automatically adjusts images to the requirements of the respective platform – providing a huge increase in efficiency.
In future, Adobe Experience Manager Assets will function as a unified text database in which all three teams’ articles and pieces are stored and accessible. This would mean, for example, that a text originally published in ACE LENKRAD could be very easily picked up by the website editors, adapted to the specifications of the website and published quickly. The first step has already been taken: Adobe Experience Manager Assets is connected to the Simple Workspace editorial tool via the flexible API, which enables seamless integration with various third-party systems. The editors of ACE LENKRAD use this tool to create the magazine. The texts can simply be dragged & dropped from Adobe Experience Manager Assets into the appropriate template in the editorial system – and the article is automatically formatted with the desired layout.
At the moment, this is only a one-way street, since the texts edited in the editorial tool are not automatically reflected back into Adobe Experience Manager Assets. But the website’s move to Adobe Experience Manager Sites also makes this possible – and provides further improvements in efficiency. “Stability and security were decisive factors for us when choosing Adobe Experience Manager,” so Anja Smetanin. “So, we got all our applications from a single source and can rely on the solutions working together seamlessly. At the same time, the API allows us to continue working with our usual editorial system. It was clear to us that we needed a future-proof, cloud-based solution that would grow with our requirements.”
Anja Smetanin and her team were aware that they are editors, not IT experts. That's why they chose Comwrap Reply as their technology partner. “I was particularly impressed by the intensive exchange of information at eye level as well as the project support. No matter how many questions we had – we always got detailed and understandable answers,” so Anja Smetanin. “Implementing a new solution ecosystem of this scale is a big project. The close support and stage-based structure gave us a good feeling that we were assuredly moving through the process step by step.”
Many large companies rely on Adobe solutions. Medium-sized companies in particular are sometimes intimidated by this. The common prejudice is that it’s too expensive and too complex. However, the flexible scalability of the solutions used, as well as the cloud-native architecture and comprehensive, AI-supported automation functions, mean that it’s medium-sized companies who benefit above all. There is, after all, no need for huge IT and marketing resources or to hire highly specialised staff.
The first stage is now complete, but the ACE already has its sights firmly set on the next goals. The Auto Club Europa wants to focus increasingly on the personalisation of its content in future. With the help of Adobe Analytics, ACE wants to better understand the interests and needs of its members and respond with appropriate content. Adobe Target will then ensure that members receive relevant content at the right time on their preferred channel.
This also includes ACE LENKRAD: “Currently, all members receive the same magazine,” says Anja Smetanin. “Soon, we want to create a more interactive format alongside the classic paper magazine. Anyone interested in campers can then find tips online about destinations or equipment, for example; electric car drivers can find out about the latest models.” In addition, the app and self-service area are to set to be further expanded, in order to give members more autonomy here.
Clear focus, assured help, reliable solutions: ACE Auto Club Europa has been taking care of mobile people since 1965, regardless of the means of transport they use. With around 630,000 members, the car club’s core topics include classic accident and roadside assistance as well as road safety, electromobility, new forms of mobility and consumer protection.
Comwrap Reply specialises in the implementation of cloud-native digital experience and e-commerce platforms based on Adobe Experience Cloud and Ibexa DXP. Comwrap Reply differentiates itself from internet agencies and IT consultancies through a "cloud-native strategy": the standards-based integration in the cloud leads to short project lead times and lower overall project costs. Comwrap Reply's services include consulting, experience design and system integration.