Hanley Wood – a B2B publishing conglomerate focused on construction, remodeling and eco friendly design with 26 publications and 34 newsletters
Curation Desk & Email Newsletters
Managed the development of a third generation curation desk and platform. Built on a WordPress foundation by a technology partner, the project moved from inception to first production release in less than 2 months. Standardized email templates across the company and moved to a responsive design The curation desk has directly resulted in a 75% decrease in effort associated with the production of email newsletters and 25%+ increase in overall reader engagement.
Content Authoring System
Capitalizing on the success of the Curation Desk, Austra managed the expansion of the curation platform to become a more efficient content authority tool feeding the legacy CMS. Substantial effort is saved by using the newly expanded functionality to author web first content.
Enhancing a Challenging CMS
Austra worked with editorial stakeholders to determine critical shortfalls of the existing CMS and formulated actionable solutions. Once it was decided to improve the existing CMS, Austra converted the solution recommendations to a defined set of prioritized enhancements and shepherded them though the development and release process.. Additionally, to improve adoption of the legacy CMS, Austra developed a new online training site with videos. This substantially reduced the burden on the support team having to train new users as the company reorganized.
Find n Save/Wanderful Media
Challenge: The newspaper sector had been attempting to create an industry standard local shopping solution for the better part of two years. Despite commitments by multiple large newspaper companies, progress moving this initiative forward was slow and there were concerns that the opportunity had passed.
Solution: In June, 2011, key players in the effort set an aggressive deadline for joint venture formation and a product rollout in the top 50 US markets by November. To make these deadlines, the eight newspaper companies hired Austra in July to meet the agressive deadlines. In a reprise of the partners’ involvement in the formation of the Yahoo! Newspaper Consortium, Chris Tippie initially managed the formation of the Joint Venture (originally ShopCo Holdings) and Julie Brahler managed the effort to create and deploy a Phase I product in time for the holiday shopping season.
The Joint Venture was successfully formed and immediately acquired Travidia, a leading provider of interactive shopping technology to the newspaper industry in October 2011. Chris Tippie was named interim Chief Executive Officer of the combined entity and launched the new venture under the brand Find n Save. Julie Brahler, acting as interim Vice President, managed the successful deployment of the Phase I product in 40 of the top US markets in the fourth quarter of 2011 and managed the rollout of an additional 85 markets in the first four months of 2012.
Austra partners continued in their role as the interim management team until a permanent CEO, Ben T. Smith IV, was hired in May. Austra worked with the incoming management team to ensure a smooth transition. The venture has since been renamed Wanderful Media and is continuing its rapid expansion.