An Intro to Digital Asset Management

Interested in working more efficiently? Has the remote office disrupted certain aspects of your business? Today we provide an intro to digital asset management (DAM) and explain how it can help you and your team save time and money no matter where you are.

In a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive business world, brands must connect with consumers through engaging digital marketing campaigns that effectively “Show Their Story.” To do this efficiently, they must ensure their processes and “upstream” workflows allow them to easily locate and utilize compelling visuals and other creative content.

One of the most important upstream workflows focuses on digital asset management. Whether they are photographs, videos, PDFs, or design files, these assets are invaluable to the creation of effective digital marketing collateral. The skillful management of these assets is critical to the success of the business as a whole. This post will define what Digital Asset Management is, the questions it addresses, and provide some examples of what it may look like for your organization.

Before we begin, it is important to define some of the terms used in the field:

  1. Digital Asset Management (DAM) – The tools, standards, and processes involved in the effective utilization of digital and creative assets.
  2. Assets – All digital files used in the core processes of the organization. Examples include design assets for creative content, product shots for the website, employee headshots, and more.
  3. DAM Platform – Software that allows for the management of a high volume of assets using simple or complex workflows
  4. Permissions – Defining who has the ability to access, edit, delete, share, and move files within a digital asset library.
  5. Metadata – Data about your data – keywords, captions, locations, photographer, and more

3 Questions Digital Asset Management Attempts to Answer

1. Where  Do Our Digital Assets Live?

You and your team must figure out the best way to store your files in order to make accessing and searching for them as simple for your organization as possible. Here are some things to consider:

  • Should my files be stored locally or on the cloud?
  • How should assets be organized within my library?
  • Is a DAM platform right for my organization?
  • If so, what are our required features for a DAM platform?
  • What is our budget for a DAM platform?
2. How Do I Find Our Digital Assets?

Once you have determined the location of your files, you’ll want to determine the process for easily searching them. Organizing your assets intuitively and educating your team on how to locate them is key to streamlining your workflow. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What kind of folder structure is right for our team?
  • How should our files be named?
  • What kind of metadata should we apply to our assets?
3. Who Has Access to Our Digital Assets?

The final major consideration in the digital asset management process is ensuring your files are secure. Deciding who can access, share, and edit your files is vital to maintaining the integrity of your brand. Below are the specific questions to answer to make sure your assets are safe:

  • Can contributors outside your organization have access to your library?
  • What is the process of sharing assets across or outside of your organization?
  • Should sections of your folder structure be password-protected?

What Does DAM Look Like in Practice?

Implementing Digital Asset Management can be overwhelming. Here are some ways Stacks has helped our clients:

Determining a File Naming Convention 

Having file names that make sense is one of the most effective ways to organize, search for, and locate your assets. A good file name can give your team a snapshot of the file’s origin, use, and relationship with other assets. For this reason, it is important to name all files in a standard way. See the following example for a solid standard for file naming:

Filenaming in Digital Asset Management

Applying Metadata to Assets

Once you have determined the type of metadata you need and how to organize it on your assets, you will want to develop a plan for applying that metadata to your assets. For example, the Stacks team applied metadata to digital assets for the Baltimore Ravens by first creating a Master Keyword List using the Ravens’ internal language and then applying those keywords to their assets:

Ravens Metadata

Creating a Folder Structure

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” This is the simple idea behind building an intuitive folder structure based on the workflow and language of your business. With this kind of organizational standard in place, your library becomes scalable, easy to navigate, and directs users to the assets they are looking for without using a search bar. Here is an example of a high-level folder structure built by Stacks:

DAM Folder Structure Example

Conclusion

Whether you are a national company with $10 million in revenue, or an international brand with thousands of employees, creating effective processes and standards for managing your digital assets is critical to the success of your business. To learn more about Digital Asset Management and all its specifics, check out our blog, or contact Stacks for a free meeting to discuss your workflow.

We hope this intro to digital asset management has helped answer some questions around assets, metadata, and more. Are you eager to learn more about DAM but still don’t understand how it can improve your business? Check out our resource highlighting the Benefits of DAM.

Ben Owen

Ben Owen

Ben helps to manage growth at Stacks by leading the implementation of strategies, workflows, and efficient processes. He enjoys working with others to find the most effective way to achieve goals and put people in the best position to succeed.

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