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DAM Best Practices

Ensuring Consistency and Efficiency by Creating DAM Standards

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | Sep 28, 2023


In today's digital age, managing an ever-expanding library of digital assets has become a Herculean task for organizations. The solution? Digital Asset Management (DAM) programs. These programs are instrumental in organizing, storing, retrieving, and distributing digital assets, ensuring that organizations can streamline their workflows, enhance productivity, and maintain brand consistency across the board.

The success of a DAM program hinges on one crucial element that is frequently overlooked: establishing and documenting DAM standards and workflows. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of defining and documenting DAM standards, as well as best practices for equipping your end-users and DAM team


Defining DAM Standards: The Foundation of Consistency

One of the primary goals of building and investing in a DAM program is scalability. New content channels, marketing methods, and strategic goals are emerging faster than ever in today’s world, and your DAM program needs to be agile enough to handle these changes. 

Not only is the external world changing quickly, but so is your organization. People come and go, taking with them valuable institutional knowledge. Without clearly documented DAM standards, these changes inevitably lead to chaos and stagnation for your DAM program and ultimately hinder your organization’s goals.

In the digital realm, this chaos can manifest as inconsistent branding, wasted time searching for assets, and a disjointed user experience. DAM standards ensure consistency by serving as the foundation of your digital asset management program. They establish the rules, naming conventionsmetadata structure, and asset categorization methods that your organization will adhere to, as well as the core workflows that will enable both users and assets to navigate the system smoothly and efficiently.


Benefits of Documenting DAM Standards

Consistency Across the Board: Documented DAM standards ensure everyone in your organization is on the same page. Whether it's members of your marketing team, designers, or external partners, everyone follows the same guidelines for asset naming, tagging, distribution, and usage. This consistency bolsters your organization’s brand identity and maintains professionalism in your DAM program.

Efficiency and Productivity: DAM standards save valuable time by eliminating the guesswork involved in finding and using digital assets. Teams can quickly locate the assets they need, leading to increased productivity and reducing frustration. 

Compliance and Security: DAM standards also play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with industry regulations and data security. You reduce the risk of unauthorized usage or data breaches by documenting who has access to specific assets and establishing and enforcing usage guidelines.


Getting Started: Establishing DAM Standards

Before you can document your DAM standards, you’ll need to establish them. Creating DAM standards is a strategic process that involves several key steps:

1. Identifying Key Stakeholders: Begin by identifying the key stakeholders in your organization who will be affected by DAM standards. These may include members of marketing teams, design and IT departments, and external agencies. You can learn more about DAM stakeholder groups in this article.

2. Defining Goals and Objectives: Determine what you want to achieve with your DAM standards. Are you looking to improve brand consistency, streamline workflows, or enhance security? How can you balance the goals and needs of all the teams and business units using the DAM program? Clearly defined goals and objectives will serve as a roadmap when developing your standards.

3. Developing Naming Conventions: Establish naming conventions for your digital assets. Ensure that filenames are descriptive, avoid special characters or spaces, and include relevant metadata to make identifying assets easy. You can learn more about the components of file naming conventions in this article.

4. Documenting Usage Guidelines: Define how each type of digital asset should be used, including any restrictions or permissions required for access. This step ensures that assets are used in a compliant and secure manner. You can learn more about permissions structures here.

5. Choosing Metadata Standards: Develop a metadata standard to accompany your assets. This metadata should provide context and make searching for and retrieving assets easier. You can learn more about what metadata is and how it serves as the foundation for your DAM workflows here.

6. Outlining Core DAM Workflows: Think about what the core purpose of your DAM program is. Does it primarily serve as a centralized repository? Is it used for asset creation and approval? Will external partners and agencies access the DAM program or have assets shared with them directly? Use these core purposes to identify the most important workflows for your end users. You can learn more about DAM workflows here.

7. Documenting Standards Clearly: Once your core standards have been created and approved, it’s time to ensure they'll be adhered to. The first step is to clearly document them in readily accessible and easy-to-understand materials that can be referenced when needed. In addition to these materials, document your standards and workflows in a centralized, editable document that your core stakeholder group can regularly review and update.

 8. Training Your Team: Ensure that all relevant teams are trained on your DAM standards and understand how to use the DAM system effectively. Walk them through your documentation, ensure they know where it’s stored, and provide resources to answer any questions they may have. You can learn more about training and onboarding users in this article.

9. Reviewing and Updating: DAM standards aren't set in stone. Regularly review and update them to accommodate evolving business needs and industry trends. You can learn more about long-term DAM program governance in this article.


Conclusion: Streamline Your Digital Asset Management with DAM Standards

Documenting your DAM standards and workflows ensures consistency and efficiency in your digital asset management endeavors. It brings order to your digital library, improves productivity, ensures compliance, and ultimately enhances your brand's reputation.

If you're ready to take control of your digital assets and unlock their full potential, contact Stacks today! Our expert team can help you define and document DAM standards tailored to your organization's unique needs, setting you on the path to digital asset management success. Don't let your digital assets become a disorganized mess—reach out to Stacks and discover the difference well-documented DAM standards and workflows can make.

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