In a world full of screens, digital content, and advertisements, genuine human connection is at a premium. People have been quarantined during the pandemic and have taken in more digital content than ever before. While the digital landscape and market are here to stay, brands have to find a way to connect with potential consumers in ways that catch their attention. One of the best means to do this is through brand storytelling.
Brand storytelling is communicating what a brand is, why it exists, and why it matters, through stories that create an emotional connection with prospective customers. . According to Celine Da Costa’s article on Forbes.com, “Brand storytelling is no longer a nice to have. It is a need to have, and what will ultimately maximize your business’s visibility, profit, and impact. Treat it as a compass for your marketing strategy, and the result will be a brand that is as profitable as it is captivating.”
Because of the growth of digital marketing channels, your brand probably shows its story more than tells it. In other words, the visual and audio digital assets you use in your brand storytelling efforts are the primary way you connect with your audience. Without the right photo, video, or audio file, your story may not have the desired effect. The best storytellers paint a picture for their audience. Are you able to use your digital assets to do this? Is the perfect asset at the fingertips of your marketing and creative teams at a moment’s notice? Does your internal team know what your story is? Is it ingrained in your workflows and the organization of your assets?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you have some work to do. In this article, we’ll help you turn the answer to all these questions into a resounding yes.
Telling and Showing Your Story Internally
When it comes to telling and showing your brand’s story effectively, start internally. Does every employee know your story? Can they communicate it consistently? If not, then your target audience is probably receiving mixed messages. To effectively present a uniform, clear, and compelling story, it must first be defined, documented, and shared across your organization. Your workflows, processes, core values, and high-level business decisions should all be born out of your brand’s story.
Since all the content used by your creative and marketing teams lives within your digital asset management (DAM) system, it’s important to review it. Determine whether or not the way assets are organized allows users to quickly tell and show your brand’s story. If so, this makes it easy to ensure that the story about your brand that goes out to the world is the right one.
Creating a DAM to Tell Your Story
If your digital assets are not organized in a way that aligns with your brand’s story, you’ll need to make some changes to your current DAM program. Here are some of the tools you’ll need to accomplish this:
1. Organizational Language & Taxonomy
As you create your brand’s story, you’ll notice certain words, phrases, and ideas reoccur. These words may be specific to your business or industry. While you don’t want technical jargon cluttering your brand’s story, take special notice of these words and phrases. This is how your organization talks. It’s how you refer to and speak about yourself. Highlight these words, as well as any others that seem applicable, and lock them in as your organizational language.
Once you’ve defined and documented your organizational language, you can begin building your metadata keyword lists, taxonomy, and search terms. A great first step is to find out what search terms people on the marketing or creative teams use when looking for an asset. Be sure to incorporate these words into your keyword and other lists. This will enable users to find the best assets for their projects quickly.
2. File Names
If your DAM system, whether on servers, hard drives, or a DAM platform, failed tomorrow and all your folders vanished, could your team find what they need? If your assets aren’t named, it’s likely they would be a jumbled mess. Random dates, descriptions, or sequence numbers assigned by a digital camera would determine their organization.
While this occurrence would cause headaches even in a system with named files, it highlights the importance of using defined file naming conventions for all assets. Most DAM systems, even those more low-tech ones, order files in each folder by file name. Given this, methodically naming your files helps organize them in a way that tells a story. For example, if your team catalogs a folder containing all the assets from a certain event in order of how the event progressed, it allows the user to easily find an asset from the end of the event.
Using sequence numbers in filenames is typically the easiest way to achieve this, following a structure like this: EventName_Location_001.ext.
3. Folder Hierarchy
Your folder hierarchy should also align with your brand’s story. What major categories do your assets fall into? When an employee looks for an asset, do the folder names naturally lead them to where they want to go, or is there guesswork involved?
Eliminate confusion and the time it takes to find assets by grouping them in a way that makes sense to you and your team, given your organizational language and workflow needs. Your folder structure is the first thing people encounter when they access your DAM system, and it says a lot about what is important to your organization and how you use your assets.
Within your folder structure, you may have the ability to assign certain assets as thumbnails for folders, allowing users to get a glimpse of what’s in each folder before clicking into it. If you have this feature, take advantage of it! Thumbnails should be the most relevant snapshot of the overall story each folder is telling.
Thumbnails make searching for assets and understanding and navigating your DAM system much easier for end-users. Even with very little experience, and equipped with only basic knowledge of what they’re looking for, your creative and marketing teams can quickly find the perfect asset to tell your brand’s story to the world and drive growth.
If you need help defining your brand’s story, vision, and goals, or utilizing the tools outlined above, contact Stacks today! We work with a diverse array of brands to help them show and tell their story to the world in the most effective way using digital asset management. We’d be happy to help!