Lacked a global agile platform as a jumping-off point for local agencies
Struggled to decrease time to market
Content was difficult to scale quickly and efficiently
Content wasn't reusable or able to be translated across all teams
Content had to be manually localized
Work redundancies complicated globalization efforts
Structured content supports consistent messaging across global and local markets
Omnichannel capabilities support better experiences with Align’s mobile app
Governance and workflow features support assigning roles and responsibilities
Unified content hub streamlines collaboration between development and marketing
Localization tools support globalization
“Everyone on our team considers this a much better world than what we had before. Contentful is really helping us achieve our business goals all around the world.”
“Without Contentful, we wouldn’t be able to scale at a pace that we need to in order to meet expectations, and also ultimately thrive in an environment where we’re interacting with millions of global consumers and also thousands of doctors worldwide."
“It’s very difficult to find a tech solution that works for the developers on the team as well as the marketing team. And what we found with the Contentful platform is one that is meeting the needs of both the tech side as well as the marketing side.”
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 — which meant content also needed to be tweaked quickly in Align’s offices worldwide and 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. "Without Contentful, we wouldn’t be able to scale and thrive to meet customer expectations,” says Kamal Bhandal, VP of global brand and consumer marketing at Align.
Launching an app at record speed during a pandemic
2020 was anything but normal. 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+ 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, 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 quickly to create more value for users.
Simplicity and scale – A modular approach offers flexibility to incorporate new experiences and technical capabilities over time. Simple enough to repeat and reuse as you scale.