A deeper dive into the essential system that can be home for your digital assets.
The digital age has transformed every aspect of the consumer experience. Everyday, photos, videos, interactive ads, animations, games, and other digital media convince us to learn, purchase, create, and scroll more. In 2019, US adults spent an average of 12 hours a day with digital media. With stats like that, how a company connects with potential clients from a marketing point of view has to be meticulously thought out, properly executed, and expertly managed.
Are you finding that social media like Instagram is your main lead? Do your consumers look forward to your daily email push? Is your quarterly e-book your most sought after piece of content? No matter what channel is most pertinent to your brand, to keep up in this modern landscape, small business and enterprise brands alike must invest in certain, if not all, digital outlets to stand a chance at being seen.
From a company’s internal stance, the high volume of digital assets being produced can be an organizational nightmare. Whether a digital asset is being used on its own, or many assets are being combined to create a more complex product, each must be distributed in a variety of formats to properly fit its intended channel. That means, various forms of the same asset can be downloaded, circulated, and saved all at the discretion of the user. If you have a large team, all with access to your digital files, this unmanned, free-for-all can get messy very quickly. Without a proper digital asset management (DAM) system in place, servers will become clogged, time will be wasted, and valuable content will be lost.
To avoid consequences like these in your company, a DAM is the ultimate resource for the management of media throughout its lifetime of use.
WHAT IS DAM?
Simply put, DAM is where all of your digital assets could live, but it’s way more than just a home.
Whether you are using a server or cloud based technology, DAM gives your brand the control, flexibility, and access to all of your owned digital assets in one central location. DAM increases the security and organization of your files, but the most powerful aspects of your DAM is searchability and data driven-tracking.
Although implementing a DAM into your company’s workflow is a great start to getting your assets organized, to fully utilize the system, you need to invoke the potential of metadata.
Metadata is textual data that summarizes basic information about a digital file. This key component is the heart of what makes your assets searchable and trackable. Metadata that is added to digital files can look different from company to company, or even from department to department in a single enterprise. Metadata can include simple fields such as title, creator name, and/or an event date or could include complex information fields such as copyright, consumer target-ready keywords, and/or a complete description of the asset. Each file is more than just a file when it contains metadata, it becomes a powerful asset whose value can now be realized.
WHAT DAM CAN BE
When you have found the perfect platform for your DAM, there’s no one way it can or should be operated. When implementing a DAM into your brand for the first time, you have the unique opportunity to completely customize the structure of your DAM so that it is perfectly tailored to your team culture. We recommend using this time to think through several questions:
- Who will be using the DAM?
- What is their department structure within the company?
- What folders, filenames, and keywords would fit seamlessly into their workflow?
We’ve explained the importance of company language here [insert link to other blog] to get the ball rolling. Once that has been set up and you’re feeling good about the state of your DAM, you also have the power to customize who has access to each asset or collection of assets. This is a vital resource when sharing with clients, third party vendors, or internally should certain assets be available to certain seniority levels.
When digital assets sit on a local server in miscellaneous folders with unidentifiable filenames, content is lost, time is squandered, vital information such as usage rights are forgotten, and a brand’s identity wavers.
With the use of a cloud-based DAM, your content will never be lost or re-created again. Backed by metadata, your team will know what digital assets are currently available and where each is at all times. When a staff member finds the perfect asset for an upcoming campaign, it can be downloaded locally to any size, while the original file remains safely within the DAM. On the flip side, your team will also be able to identify any assets your company might not already own, and invest in the creation or purchasing of those that are needed.
Often times, if an asset has been purchased through a third party, copyright laws will apply. If your team uses an image that goes against the terms of the agreement, your brand could be in real trouble. Adding crucial information such as usage rights to files within your DAM can help your team avoid the misuse of digital files and the consequences that could result. Because your DAM can be so easily customized, important information such as copyright can be added to metadata, assets with certain restrictions can clearly be labeled using descriptive filenames, or files can be placed in folders that become available when the asset is approved for use.
Your DAM can also be used to make sure your marketing materials always portray your brand in the most updated way. Company photos, logos, and color schemes all allow your brand to be recognized by consumers and if an outdated version is distributed, it could be confusing and disengaging to current and potential clients. If your brand has recently been refreshed, we suggest archiving any off-brand assets into folders that have restricted access; that way your team always has the latest, approved versions at their fingertips.
NOW IS THE TIME
On average, how long does it take your team to find a particular asset that is the perfect fit for a new marketing campaign? Days? Hours?
With a proper DAM in place, finding that perfect asset within minutes is not out of the question.
Your staff is talented and hours spent of their scrolling through digital files does a great disservice to your brand, their abilities, and to your clients. Taking the time to organize your files now will lead valuable time being saved down the road.
We often see this, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” kind of mentality in our first conversations with clients. Brands have been accepting digital files and working with their owned media in disarray for so long, their staff have almost adapted to the, “this is just how we do it” kind of standard. And sure, if your staff is accustomed to a certain workflow and it’s efficient for them, the question of whether or not to change that up is valid; however, the time is now to begin changing those standards. That “efficient workflow” might work for some, but we know you’re a powerhouse, and with the help of DAM, you’ll exceed client expectations and your team can get back to the tasks they in which they thrive.