Align launches digital transformation in 4 weeks during global pandemic

Company Size

8,000

Year Founded

1997

Headquarters

San Jose, CA

49

new markets reached in 2020

90%

reduction in time to market

8

weeks to launch in 49 markets
Plan Type
Enterprise
Share Case Study
Main Challenges
  • One global agile platform as jumping-off point for local agencies

  • Decrease time to market 

  • Simplify content long term to scale more quickly and efficiently 

  • Reusable and flexible translated content available across all teams

  • Localized versions available after global approves

  • Reduce work redundancies by streamlining local marketing needs with global platform

Solutions
  • Highlighted commonalities of structure and message between global and local markets

  • Doctors and consumers reported better experiences using Align’s mobile app

  • Effectively aligned roles & responsibilities to teams when building the new platform

  • Streamlined collaboration between development and marketing teams

  • Featured local flavor in each global agency

Project Story

Align Technology, the creator of Invisalign, believes a better smile has the power to create a better future, so in 1997 the company set out to create the digital technology necessary to create better smiles — millions of them. When the 2020 global pandemic ushered in a heightened demand for digital experiences, and businesses needed teams to work together to build, iterate and scale digital products faster than ever before, Align sought out Contentful’s scalable, agile content platform to achieve its business goals in a highly complex global market by removing the silos from its existing digital processes. 

Smiling through the storm

When Covid hit in March 2020, protocol for in-person doctor visits shifted as the medical field responded to the pandemic, and that meant content also needed to be tweaked quickly in Align’s offices worldwide, as well as on the My Invisalign app. Align’s brand needed to show up consistently in a very local way and a very global way — regardless of location or language spoken. Contentful’s scalable solution allowed Align’s digital experiences to survive the “new normal,” according to Kamal Bhandal, VP of global brand and consumer marketing at Align. “Without Contentful, we wouldn’t be able to scale and thrive to meet customer expectations.”

Launching an app at record speed during a pandemic

The year 2020 was not a normal time. With people unable to connect with their doctors like they were used to, technology had to step up and fill in those connections. Align’s development team first launched the My Invisalign app globally, with a reduced time to market of 90%, allowing Align to contact the clients immediately regarding any updated pandemic restrictions. Interactive face recognition further reduced the need for in-person contacts during 2020, and the app provided location information, advice and guidance, an “Aligner Timer” that tracks the daily wear time and reminds the user to change their aligner set, a built-in calendar for appointments and aligner schedule, as well as social sharing to share smiles with family and friends.

Teamwork launched the new platform in eight weeks

Align’s development and marketing teams were able to launch the new platform in two months because of teamwork. The previous individual teams had to make way for an integrated team approach, and considering Covid restrictions, it meant meeting around a virtual table instead. But by working together, they identified core issues and opportunities faster with more sets of eyes looking at the core problem set from every angle.

The transformation was massive, and happened in eight weeks because the teams had shared goals: they learned the new platform, expanded their growth mindset, upgraded the tech base and managed 130-140 websites globally, all while migrating Align’s content to Contentful’s new content platform. Time spent on translations was even reduced, allowing the teams to implement, preview and publish with more flexibility. 

Moving Align into a digital-first future

Before Contentful, each region’s market had been building their own content based on local needs instead of keeping the content centrally regulated to make sure it followed a certain process. In 2019, based on the regions it covered, Align migrated everything into one global platform and revamped its website, a process that used to take 2-3 months but now takes a few sprints for translations and validations.

Today, Align’s branding is the same across the globe and any redundancy across agencies has been eliminated by using one central template as the jumping-off point to localize and translate in every region, preserving the local flavor, of course. The initial build took 3-4 weeks, with some variations in different markets, but even with those tweaks, the new platform was ready for content migration from their old CMS. The Contentful platform unleashed the abilities of the tech side and marketing teams to scale at a pace they needed to meet the ever-changing demands of Align’s customers.

Looking past the pandemic and into the future

Align plans on moving the rest of its professional sites, its doctors’ sites and even its smaller, less-used websites in regional and global markets to Contentful so that all content can be more easily managed. As Align accelerates its ability to scale even further and build on the infrastructure to move even faster, agility is still important for meeting the needs of customers and consumers. And as needs change — new trends, new behaviors — Align is now better positioned to lean into those exchanges and monetize opportunities more than ever before.

“There’s nothing worse than having insights and trends at your fingertips and not being able to mobilize and not act on those trends and behaviors,” Bhandal says. “So what I’m really looking forward to is now that we’ve got this infrastructure in place and we’ve been using it for quite some time, I’m really looking forward to having our marketing teams be able to adapt to those new trends and behaviors, quickly make changes, as quickly as we possibly can, to ensure that the experience we’re ultimately delivering in the marketplace is meeting the ever-changing expectations of consumers everywhere.”

Key goals for a successful digital strategy according to Align’s leadership team: 

  • Agility – organizations need to have unified content, people and process to increase business agility and resilience.

  • Velocity – launch, test, iterate and improve — creating more value for users and doing so faster.

  • Simplicity & Scale – a modular approach allows the flexibility to incorporate new experiences and technical capabilities over time. Simple enough to repeat and reuse as you scale.

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