If you hold any marketing position, we know that you wear plenty of hats. You can switch from a social media manager to a branded content expert in seconds and don’t even get us started on your 180 to SEO whiz. Another trick to keep in your marketer handbook? Digital asset management.
In the digital age, this is a no-brainer. But if you’re unsure of the basics and why your brand needs to give a DAM, we’re here to help.
What is Digital Asset Management?
Before we dive into the management part, let’s outline what a digital asset is. A digital asset is any video, photo, document, or other media that contains the right to use them (what makes them an asset).
When your brand has access to these files, storage can be a big issue––sometimes leading to a lack of consistency and efficiency. Recent statistics show that 25% of marketing teams are storing over 10,000 images and 47% have between 1,000 and 10,000 images. Not to mention, 51% have “scattered storage––with files in more than four separate locations.”
If this sounds like your marketing team, don’t worry. Digital asset management (DAM) helps you manage and organize these files so that you can bring your brand fully into the digital age.
The benefits of DAM for your brand
Digital content is a breakthrough for branding, but it’s also challenging to track. With so many files, systems, and people in the mix, it can be almost impossible to stay organized. DAM “solves one of the biggest problems most companies have today––an overabundance of digital content.” By storing content centrally for your brand’s departments, you can access materials quickly. More than that, DAM allows you to manage each asset individually, as well as the entire campaign or piece of marketing that’s needed. Giving you more control over your brand messaging. But that’s just the beginning of the benefits of DAM. Others include:
Maintaining brand consistency
Brand consistency is important for a streamlined, trusted brand. One of the ways to achieve this consistency is to have a cohesive brand image, which is “largely supported by your brand’s content and visual assets.” DAM benefits this goal by organizing your library of imagery and other brand assets. It also allows you to “implement control systems that safeguard your brand.”
Making your brand dynamic
Your brand’s flexibility is everything in the marketing world. A flexible brand is a dynamic one and stays fresh in the consumer’s mind. When you have a DAM system in place, your brand can more quickly react to a new product launch, a rebrand, or a way to bring your assets to market. The microsites within your DAM are known as “brand blueprints” and help to keep your marketing creative, flexible, and dynamic.
DAM’s efficiency is two-fold. On a basic level, it stores and organizes your digital assets allowing you to go more quickly to market or achieve a marketing goal. DAM systems also utilize content analytics, so “you can invest in the content you know performs.”
Growing your brand
Another major benefit of utilizing digital asset management is brand growth. Your investment into a DAM system comes back to your business––with increased efficiency and consistency. “New products, geographic markets, sales channels, formats, and marketing strategies are increasing the demand for digital assets.” So staying on top of them with DAM will help your brand keep up.
Getting started with DAM
When you’re ready to get started with digital asset management, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier.
Outline your brand’s needs
Every marketing department or team should do a brand audit. When auditing your brand before implementing DAM, you are outlining your brand’s specific needs. Ask yourself these questions: What types of digital assets do you need to manage above all others? How many digital assets do you own? How many ways does your brand use a single asset?
Figure out use cases
DAM systems are only as useful as their use cases. If you’ve outlined your brand’s needs, you likely have a good idea of this already. It’s worth considering “how you plan on using different functionalities and possible integrations.” As well as value reporting data and insights on how you use your assets. Specific examples of use cases include client use of brand assets and graphic designers’ ability to attach creative briefs. Plus, your brand managers’ ability to control access.
Work with your department
This step is similar to the above two, but crucial before implementing a DAM system––speaking to your department. Figure out the use cases for your marketing team and your entire brand and what type of implementation is best for you. Listening to your team “will help to build trust and support” and will also make the system more efficient and widely understood once you implement it.
Implement in phases
When you’re ready to begin DAM, try breaking down the process into three phases. Phase one allows your marketing team to distribute new brand materials. Phase two expands DAM to other departments. And phase three is “auditing and organizing all remaining marketing assets.”
Who can implement a DAM system
Digital asset management benefits a wide variety of industries and professionals. For this blog, we focus on marketing departments who can “house all logos, fonts, guidelines, and campaign assets.” Other industries that benefit are agencies, fashion and apparel, non-profits, colleges, and healthcare.
Now to the good stuff. To implement digital asset management, you need DAM software. The software itself is what allows you to “upload, store, organize, manage, share, and track all your digital assets in one place, from one single source.” There are four main categories of DAM software: Brand asset management systems (marketing and sales), library asset management systems (storage and retrieval of changing media), production asset management systems (control for frequently changing media), and digital supply chain services (distributing to digital retailers).
Some of the more popular software systems are Bynder, Brandfolder, Libris DAM, Asset Bank, and Cloudinary, among others. As for the benefits of this software, those are pretty extensive. Besides organizing your assets centrally, they enhance workflows, locate files, manage press kits and automate watermarking. As well as manage permissions, utilize the Cloud, and tag images automatically. And, of course, they “give you easy, complete control and management over the full lifecycle of your digital assets, from creation to archive.”
Successful brand examples
Although not as sexy (or as obvious) as other examples, DAM in action can make a world of difference for a brand’s efficiency, usage, and experience.
Airlines often have a complex structure with frequent reorganization and changing partnerships. To help keep a consistent brand, airlines are “stepping up their marketing efforts by developing their digital channels with a singular focus on the customer.”
Airlines (like China Southern Airlines) are incorporating DAM solutions into business operations to be the “control center” for their content and brand assets. The benefits of this are improving their partnerships, organizing for tourism boards, remaining consistent through acquisitions and mergers, and building trust with customers.
DAM is also helping the retail industry to create a better experience for shoppers. Kao, a global brand conglomerate, began using DAM to share templates and develop web pages for translation. For e-commerce sites with thousands of products, DAM can help cut down on the “rate of errors, lost or missing files, and frustrated customers seeing broken links or outdated assets.”
Real estate industry
The real estate industry can use DAM to organize their many assets in one library “while supplying sales content to all employees across the organization.” With so many files, including newer 3D models of homes or buildings, the organization of these assets is crucial.
Manufacturing involves a lot of collaboration and communication. DAM helps to make this communication more effective and to keep all assets updated. It can also help manufacturers organize their systems by product IDs, SKU, and “to empower their distribution channels and strengthen their brand.”
The future of DAM
As software and technologies improve, digital asset management will as well. A look into the future of DAM might show it spreading to other industries, becoming a more integrated content hub, and incorporating data and AI. For now, DAM is a savvy tool for marketers (and other industry professionals) to organize and control their digital assets and make their brands more efficient. Think it’s time to start giving a DAM?