How to manage an efficient digital asset workflow

Bek Agius — 30th July 2019

Management of digital assets is an issue that organisations of every size must face at some stage of operation. Everything from logos, fonts, photography, stock imagery document files and more must be thoughtfully stored with permissions managed appropriately so that the right parts of the business are matched to the best resources for their application. 

As digital asset management is such a global issue for organisations across so many industries, the volume of choice for a technology solution can be overwhelming. Once the value of an efficient digital asset workflow is realised for an organisation, the effort behind selecting the right platform and establishing a strong process behind how it's used will feel very worthwhile. 

Benefits of Digital Asset Management

To highlight the very real impact of Digital Asset Management software, let's imagine 2 scenarios:

    • Scenario 1: All designers in an organisation save all of their files on their local drive. All designers catch a wildly contagious illness and are bedridden for a week. Collateral must be updated in their absence but all local computers are password locked and every designer has their own unique filing convention. Deadlines are missed, panic ensues. 
    • Scenario 2: A standard set of filing and naming conventions are set organisation-wide within a cloud-based asset library. Every time a photo shoot is completed and edited or a document is updated, all of the assets are uploaded to the asset library. All designers catch a wildly contagious illness and are bedridden for a week. Collateral must be updated in their absence which is fine because the Marketing Manager can access and update the files. Life goes on. 

You see where I'm going with this. 

There are a few more in-depth benefits to Digital Asset Management including things like security of intellectual property and sensitive imagery or files and better granular controls, all of which are crucial to helping your organisation function efficiently with materials that are accurate and up to date. 

Maintains Brand Consistency

Here at Outfit, it's no secret how much we obsess over brand consistency. Without a great Digital Asset Management system (DAM), managing brand consistency can be a real challenge, especially if your organisation has geographically disparate stakeholders. 

A great DAM that is well structured will allow different areas of the business to access only assets that are most relevant to their activity. It will also allow for version control to ensure that only the most up to date imagery and documentation is available to be used by stakeholders, reducing the risk of outdated material in circulation to customers. 

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Accelerates Creativity and Production

There is something so comforting about a central place to find all your files and assets and knowing where to find everything within it. 

The amount of time and energy that is saved in just the search for assets across different areas of the business is immense. All of this can be achieved by simply implementing a globally accessible system with a rigid filing structure. The time saved in liaising with designers and coworkers to find the right image or document can, instead be spent investing more creative time in the larger task itself. 

Improves Marketing Intelligence

The analytics available within many modern DAM systems also provides valuable insights into how assets are being used. 

Data is certainly at the top of the criteria food chain for just about any system an organisation adopts in 2019. Experts from Digital Asset Management News suggest that the best questions to ask of the analytics in our DAM platform include:

    • Where are assets being used outside the DAM?
    • Who uses these assets?
    • How many times are assets downloaded, viewed, shared and repurposed? In other words, how do they perform?

Analytics that help us answer questions like these allow us to design more effectively for our audience and track the interaction of current assets with stakeholders and customers, pivoting the content strategy to one that is actually informed by what customers think and respond to.

Choosing Digital Asset Management Software

Selecting a DAM that is designed to service your entire organisation is a large undertaking, so don't be worried if it takes a little time to get it right. We've got a couple of pointers to help set you up for success in adopting new DAM software to keep you on track. Much of the advice involves liaising and gaining insights from key stakeholders and technical personnel and prioritising your wish list of key features.

Usability 

This point seems very obvious, however the concept of simple and user friendly UI can very subjective depending on the type of software your organisation is used to interacting with on a daily basis. 

The ideal platform should be simple and easy enough to be straightforward in adoption and should also save users time in their daily activity, not add steps to their existing processes. The easiest way to assess viability of a DAM based on usability is to get a trial period for a test team and allow the opportunity for open and honest feedback over a set timeframe. 

The sentiment within the network for local marketing is so much more positive now. The ease of use and immediacy of creating their own artwork for our franchisees is very powerful. Outfit has changed the way franchisees approach local marketing.

Elise Cittadini — Local Marketing ManagerBakers Delight
Automation

A great indicator of a DAM that will continue to grow and evolve with the needs of your organisation is an emphasis on automation. There are a few features you can look for in your research and discovery that will be indicators of time-saving smart automation:

    • Auto-tagging: This is most powerful when a combination of your own company-specific tags are employed and automation is used to suggest or apply these to other similar assets. The use of AI to automate tagging within a DAM containing thousands of assets will both make administrative life simpler and also increase usability of the system. 
    • Integrations: The ability to easily connect a DAM system to other marketing or communications platforms will take your DAM from a 'cloud-based folder structure we use to get files' to an integral part of the tech stack used in everyday life. DAM's integrated into Outfit, for example, mean that users can take advantage of the permissions and filing structures in their regular DAM to pull images into templates with the click of a button! 
    • Recognition: By using technology that many of us have grown to love in search engines like Google, a system that has the ability to recognise simple objects like chairs, colours, faces and groups will make searching for the perfect image or file much simpler for the end user. 
Distribution

Last, but certainly not least, is a DAM's ability to allow your organisation to safely share assets with internal and external stakeholders. From sensitive contract information for the Sales team to a brochure for a customer or a set of digital ad files for the creative agency, your DAM should be the place where you manage all permissions and distribute all artwork from. 

The value here is unquestionably security, with most DAM systems allowing permission to be provided and revoked easily as relationships and collateral, change and evolve. 

The humble Digital Asset Management System, if chosen correctly, has the ability to heavily impact the direction that an organisation proceeds in from a technological and security perspective. Managed and maintained well, the right DAM can seriously increase stakeholder efficiency and consistency of material in front of the customer which ultimately represents the strength of a brand in the customer's eyes. 

 

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