We’re guessing what you really want from this (or any) article is an immediate, definitive answer to the question that led you here. So here are three compelling reasons to invest in effective digital asset management (DAM):
- It can reduce the time spent searching for assets by 724 hours each year.
- It can save £150,000 in marketers’ time per annum.
- It can boost brand consistency and, consequently, revenue by 23%.
That’s the spine of your digital asset management business case sorted. Let’s flesh out your argument.
You won’t need reminding that brands are evolving at speed or that the challenge of managing them has increased in complexity at the same rate. The sheer volume of graphics, images, videos, and other assets required to make a dent in today’s global market alone is enough to interrupt your circadian rhythm. However, that doesn’t mean your only option is to drown.
There’s a host of powerful tools designed to help with this endeavour. Trouble is, most companies are unaware of their potential and feel doubtful about the return on investment they’ll get from taking up a DAM. We’re about to give you the information you need to step out from that number and successfully convince your higher-ups to make that investment.
Suggested reading: Get a comprehensive overview and guide to maintaining brand consistency with our Brand Consistency Toolkit.
Digital asset management at a glance
We expect you’ll have some idea of what all this is about but, on the off chance you’re still confused about what digital asset management software actually involves, let’s go back to the first principles.
What are digital assets?
A digital asset is any file stored on a computer, mobile device, external hard drive or server. This covers everything from that selfie you saved to a scan of your passport. In brand management, the term refers to every image, video, graphic or document that is used in the delivery or promotion of your brand’s product or service.
You’re probably well-versed on the benefits of digital files but allow us to surmise: they’re infinitely more shareable, accessible, and manageable than their physical equivalents.
How is DAM related to brand management?
If we put aside the notion that a brand is a ‘feeling’, we’re left with the reality that it IS a collection of assets. Except, of course, for the fact those assets don’t mean a great deal in isolation. For that to change, they need to be combined, manipulated and propagated in such a way as to maximise exposure and interest. That requires the input of a raft of professionals.
DAM is related to brand management because it is:
- The tool that stores assets securely.
- The high-speed bridge between those elements and the people who bring a brand to life.
Let’s take a closer look at some benefits.
Optimised asset access
Enabling co-workers to access the files they need is a fundamental feature of any good DAM. However, that’s just the start. When implemented correctly, DAM is also about controlling and enhancing who can do what and with which assets.
- Multi-access: From external creatives to in-house legal, there is a veritable posse of professions that require access to an asset over its lifespan. DAM software makes that no problem at all. In a more advanced system like Brandworkz, brand leaders can ensure that certain people only see what they need to through permission-based access capabilities.
- Shareability: DAM can also transform how professionals interact with assets. When your setup is aligned with the complexities of the task, files are accessible in everything from your CMS to Photoshop. Fewer steps in content distribution and creation mean increased efficiency and reduced costs.
To be effective, decision makers need accurate information and brand leaders are no different. DAM, when implemented properly, provides total visibility over every asset in your arsenal.
- Reporting: DAM done right means you will know, at a glance, everything about your assets from how they’re performing to which are about to expire. You’ll be able to see who accessed what and when — useful if you ever need to do some sleuthing and ensure that you’re up-to-date and workflows are at their most efficient.
- Searches: We would forgive anyone who assumed that, when it comes to finding a file, all DAM solutions are created equal. That’s not true. In a rudimentary system, you might require the EXACT filename to locate it. In an advanced setup, you’ll be able to filter metadata so even a vague inkling of what you want should suffice.
👉 Want to know best practices for a creative and consistent brand? Check out our Brand Consistency Toolkit 👈
The capacity to enable everyone who uses it to perform better and achieve more should be at the heart of any business case for DAM. Here’s a brief look at how that’s possible:
- Centralised hub: Every asset, one location. This is how it should be — yet we still encounter businesses who operate across multiple, disparate systems. This makes finding files slow/impossible; inconsistency casts a shadow over every interaction. A DAM ensures that nothing gets lost and that all assets, and consequently workflows, are kept aligned.
- Save on resources: Streamlined processes save money. Period. Annotations can be made and tracked within the system so you can forgo unnecessary, time-consuming conversations. An advanced setup will even couple a DAM with capabilities like web-to-publish templates. This allows ANYONE to make minor alterations to approved assets without starting afresh.
Control over your workflows
Many companies persist with asset management and distribution systems that are at best rigid and at worst impossible to bend to your will. Someone say SharePoint? At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Suggested reading: Did you just gulp? Time to swot up on SharePoint digital asset management.
- Customised structure: Your DAM solution should work in whatever way suits best. From the file structure to the look and feel of the interface, everything can/should be configured. Companies that are serious about maintaining standards will see the value in ensuring the system responsible for managing the assets reflects the brand vision.
- Approvals: Someone smart once said you shouldn’t seek approval. We’re pretty sure they were referring to art but they could easily have been talking about brand management. You shouldn’t seek it. You should know, at a glance, who has signed-off on what and which assets are ready — and all without clicking away from the program.
Return on investment
We understand that DAM solutions and their more capable cousin brand management software (BMS) can appear expensive. There will always be a cost involved when setting up new systems but, as we’ve covered throughout this blog, this transition is an INVESTMENT, not an expense.
The benefits of DAM will be felt immediately — and in the bottom line. Some of the gains listed are marginal but they add up quickly when applied at scale. In a time of shrinking budgets, those savings can be offset against cuts.
Suggested reading: Feeling the squeeze? Check out this article on how to succeed in the face of reducing marketing budgets.
It also seems short-sighted to overlook the impact effective DAM can have on the day-to-day. A streamlined, optimised system is one less pain point — and that can help your organisation attract and retain the best talent.
Better branding is the end game
And that, at the end of the day, is what it’s all about. By optimising the way you handle assets, a DAM system can save you time and money — and they can both be invested back into keeping your brand at the forefront of customers’ minds.
There remains, however, a lot to consider. Should you, for example, push further into the territory of BMS? That is where we reside and we’d argue you should. In addition to ALL the benefits outlined above, you’ll get:
- Showcasing features that allow you to walk someone through your brand in seconds.
- Logo trees that ensure even the most junior employee makes the right decision EVERY time.
- Integrations with ALL the tools in your marketing stack.
- Total flexibility when it comes to file extensions.
If you feel compelled to talk this through with an enlightened someone (us), drop us a line. If you need to see all this in action, maybe it’s time you took our demo for a spin. No business case required.