Get on the DAM Train

As online marketing activities continue to expand, digital asset management (DAM) has become a more common practice among leading brands. I see companies of all sizes centralizing and managing images, mixed media, video and other files through systems like Workgroups DaVinci.

But there are still many companies who have not yet adopted an asset management system, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some general insight into DAM. Hopefully, it might inspire those of you who haven't jumped on the DAM train to do so.

Why DAM is Essential to Productivity

Digital asset management is the practice of storing, cataloguing, retrieving and distributing files through a centralized library or set of libraries. Usage rights and access permissions enable managers to control which team members may "handle" a particular asset, so the system allows users from various teams to easily share files through a managed environment.

A DAM system is an important tool to productivity management in three ways:

  1. It provides a shared creative environment where graphic designers, writers and other creative developers can move an asset through the design phase.
  2. It adds a simple mechanism to control finished assets ready for production in marketing campaigns
  3. It allows team leaders to control and monitor processes so they can stay on top of development and production.

Without an effective DAM system, companies can suffer from inconsistent asset management and creative development practices, communication voids and other disruptions.

Types of Asset Systems

There are several types of asset management systems. The most commonly-used systems are:

  • Production asset management systems, which control assets as they are being created for digital media production. A key benefit is that campaign, project and customer data is applied to the assets for faster retrieval. (These systems also typically include workflow and project management features along with the storage, organization and revision control of frequently-updated assets.)
  • Brand asset management systems, which facilitate the recycling of sales and marketing content such as product imagery, logos, special markups or fonts, and other assets.
  • Library asset management systems, which facilitate the storage and retrieval of large numbers of infrequently changing media assets; for instance video or photo archives.
  • Digital supply chain asset management systems, which are used to push out content to digital retailers, such as music, videos and game files.

How to Develop Effective Asset Governance

While a DAM system can be an effective tool, it takes solid governance to take advantage of its capabilities. From enterprise leadership to directors to team leaders, the true efficiency of a DAM system can't be realized until you put ground rules in place.

Start by developing a standardized access and usage rights policy. Then create workflow processes that can be managed using the system. Finally, develop asset policies for file re-use, archiving, and other tasks; it's important that file management standards are established before implementing a new system.

When you're developing governance policies, think through each step in creative development, production, distribution and other phases of asset management. For example, file naming protocols and meta tags should be used to create ordered syntax across different working groups. This way, you minimize confusion and enhance asset searchability.

Why DAM is Key to Brand Management

Asset management influences brand management. How, you might ask? The operational efficiency that can be achieved through a robust DAM system enables marketing directors to be more agile. For example, if a storm of negative publicity erupts, such as following a consumer database security breach, you can quickly develop a response campaign by using assets that are easily searched, move quickly through the development and approval phase, and are able to be published in front of the right audiences faster.

Because an asset management system stores all existing marketing and sales-related content, marketing managers can quickly assemble a targeted campaign and direct their teams toward a rapid response.

Whether you've just launched a startup or manage a marketing team within an established brand, there are plenty of reasons to adopt a digital asset management system. In the end, the system will only work at optimal efficiency if all potential users are on board and informed. But if you're competing in the digital marketplace, you've got to get on the DAM train! (Start here)