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An Integrated Network of 55 Sites through a Composable Framework

  • Headquarters: Lawrence, KS, USA
  • Technology Stack: Storyblok, Cloudinary, NetForum, ShuffleExchange, CatalystFire, Higher Logic, FUSE Search
55 Chapter Pages
managed in Storyblok
10% ↑
SEO Lighthouse

Founded in 1989, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network is a networking business organization of more than 14,000 members in 80+ major global markets and is dedicated to advancing the success of women in commercial real estate. Membership offers unparalleled business connections, leadership development opportunities, and access to CREW members in each market.

The organization needed a new, flexible digital solution with long-term brand and content integrity in mind. Storyblok’s Certified Partner Reason One helped them achieve their goal.
With them and Storyblok, CREW Network underwent a significant digital transformation, including the redesign and re-platforming of their main website and 55 integrated chapter sites. The site saw an immediate increase in engagement of 10% and 90%+ Lighthouse scores in SEO and page accessibility.

  • Quote from Megan Cottrell, Director, Digital Strategy at CREW Network

    Storyblok allows our team to easily create, edit, and launch new content for our website, which serves an international audience. The governance and workflows help keep our team organized and ensure our content reaches the right audiences through various channels.

    Megan Cottrell
    Megan Cottrell
    Director, Digital Strategy at CREW Network

Section titled Addressing the need for CREW’s digital transformation

CREW Network was looking to achieve a major digital transformation. It included updating and moving their main website and 55 chapter sites to a new platform. Being a big association with a small team and many chapters, they wanted a flexible solution that would maintain their brand and content quality for a long time.

Together with Reason One, CREW Network embarked on an evaluation journey where they identified the challenges the organization was facing concerning managing memberships and their community, as well as their digital strategy. Here is what they set to overcome:

  • Moving away from an all-in-one platform: CREW Network was using an all-in-one .NET platform called Kentico Xperience. Although the platform’s performance was satisfactory, it lacked flexibility.
  • Paying for unnecessary features: The organization was stuck paying for features they did not need. Moreover, they were unable to incorporate additional platforms and services needed to achieve the desired business transformation.
  • Lengthy software updates: With the self-hosting setup in place, software updates could take weeks to be completed.

All in all, CREW Network’s digital strategy was ambitious and their all-in-one platform was unable to satisfy those ambitions. So, a decision was made to move to a composable architecture with greater flexibility.

Section titled The flexibility of composable architecture for CREW Network

CREW Network wanted tech flexibility, which led to composable architecture. When testing and evaluating platforms, the goal was finding the right choices. After analyzing needs and the market, a composable DX platform was assembled. The platform has modular services for the web channel and includes:

This modular approach enables greater digital agility. It lets CREW Network integrate platforms that align well with their needs. Also, they can replace parts, not the entire platform, as needs evolve. CREW Network now have the tools necessary to protect their brand integrity across all 56 sites.

CREW Network's Website Jan 2024

CREW Network's Website Jan 2024

Section titled Storyblok for the win

When choosing the right CMS, Reason One and CREW Network looked at 8 small-to-medium and enterprise-sized platforms. After shortlisting it to Storyblok, Contentstack, and, Storyblok’s capabilities and features prevailed:

  • Content Governance: With Storyblok, content editors and marketers can access one or multiple sites in one single space.
  • Folder Structure: With the help of the CMS, all 55 chapters are grouped in folders in one space - allowing for easy access and management of each site.
  • Reusable Bloks & Shared Model: Storyblok’s blok approach to page building has made the process of creating 55 chapter pages a breeze. By creating a Chapter Builder in the CMS, editors can now create new sites by simply copy-pasting. Since all chapter sites have a designated theme, editors can easily select those themes and add the attributes that define each chapter when needed.
  • Lower Cost: Being able to group all 55 chapter pages in one single space with the main page saves CREW Network a lot of money. They don’t need to subscribe to 56 spaces, but just 1.
  • Role Permissions: With Storyblok’s roles and permissions, the core team can have admin capabilities. However, to avoid confusion and mistakes, each chapter lead can have their own role permissions, allowing them to manage their own chapter sites only.
  • Visual Editor & Preview Option: Being Storyblok’s signature feature, the Visual Editor is CREW Network’s favorite attribute. Being able to see content changes and updates in real time makes the content management process easy and fun.
  • SaaS: With Storyblok, they don’t need to manage software updates but can focus on channel consumers instead.
  • Quote from Megan Cottrell, Director, Digital Strategy at CREW Network

    The composable nature of Storyblok has allowed us to assemble a best-in-class MarTech stack. One that supports the entire organization's goals—not just marketing.

    Megan Cottrell
    Megan Cottrell
    Director, Digital Strategy at CREW Network

Section titled New website - new possibilities

CREW Network’s new website was launched in September 2023 during the organization’s Annual Convention. The freshly launched site offers CREW Network:

  • Improved speed
  • Enhanced accessibility for all users
  • A simplified event registration process
  • Filters to find CREW events and programs globally across 80+ markets
  • Customizable landing pages to meet chapter needs
  • Lead generation email forms on every site
CREW Network's Website Jan 2024

CREW Network's Website Jan 2024

One CMS, endless possibilities