Digital Asset Management: What, Who and Why
What is digital asset management?
Digital asset management (or DAM for short) is software that helps teams store, manage and find their digital files and assets in one centralized place. Think of photos, images, videos, audio, documents and other media content.
A DAM system can help teams across organizations of all sizes organize, share, protect and manage access for their content. A good DAM system makes this super easy to do and maintain.
But DAM isn’t just about file storage. Most DAM systems bring together several tools in one place, making it easier to create, distribute and collaborate on content.
Eventually, digital asset management is about making working with media files more efficient, while getting the most value out of each asset.
What does a digital asset management solution do?
Digital asset management solutions come in different flavors and sizes. But most DAMs come with features that let you manage, create, collaborate and deliver creative files:
Keep it all together
A digital asset management system gives you a home for your digital assets. It’s not just for files but also important info like licensing terms, usage details, credits, and all that in one spot. No more messy files and data spread across servers, computers, hard disks, applications, emails and spreadsheets!
Tidy up your library
A good DAM lets you organize your files in a way that works best for your teams and their needs. You’ll usually use a mix of folders, tags, keywords, metadata, and more to keep everything structured and avoid chaos.
Find things quickly
DAM software comes with super search powers so everyone can find what they need, when they need it. Search and filter by file name, file type, licensing expiry dates, campaigns and a whole lot more. (That’s where those tags, keywords and metadata really help!)
Control who gets access
DAMs make it easy to give or take away access to your assets. This way, you know your files are only in the hands of the right people.
Stay on top of usage rights
DAMs help you keep track of your licensed rights so you know when, where and how your assets can be used. Some even block assets from being used if the conditions aren't right.
Preview in your browser
With digital asset management systems, you can view all sorts of files, like videos, photos, artwork, audio tracks and docs right in your browser. No need for special software to open the files or wait for ages till things start playing or finish downloading.
Share and receive big files easily
A DAM solution lets you securely send huge files to anyone, whether they’re in your organization or not. Set expiration dates, passwords, and control who can download what. Plus, with many DAMs, you can request files from others with an upload link, so you’ll have your files right where you need them.
Review and approve work
Digital asset management systems let you leave feedback directly on files, so you don't have to send work back and forth between stakeholders. Some systems even make sure all approvals are in before moving forward.
Download and export files
DAMs let you resize, crop and convert files for different media and ad platforms, like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, TV, radio, print and digital. Added bonus if they can deliver those files for you and take care of the techy stuff like transcoding and quality checks.
Create content at scale
Some DAM solutions come with built-in templating systems, so your teams can create image and video ads and other marketing assets for different platforms really fast. It makes content creation easier and faster for everyone and keeps everything looking sharp and on-brand.
Connect with other tools and platforms
DAMs can play nice with other tools you're already using, making your whole workflow smooth and seamless. Why waste time moving files around manually?
What are the benefits of digital asset management?
Digital asset management helps organizations get more done faster with fewer people – saving time and costs (and everyone from losing their cool because of frustration). Sounds like good ROI! These are the top reasons your organization should care about DAM:
Bring everything and everyone together
DAM software gives you that one place everyone can turn to. It helps bring different departments together and break down those annoying silos. No more multiple versions of the same asset everywhere, and no more everyone doing things their own way. All the latest files and info should be in the DAM – if it’s not there, it doesn’t exist. Or as the pros say: the single source of truth.
With a DAM, you can relax knowing your assets are in the right hands. Share and grant access to teams, stakeholders and collaborators, while keeping files safe from unauthorized use. Less risk of licensing penalties or ruining your brand's rep!
Do it yourself
DAM lets teams work more independently and move faster. They’ve got all the files, info and tools they need to get work done right away. No more waiting for help or confirmation from other departments.
Automate manual work
Digital asset management systems can help you ditch those repetitive, tedious tasks so you can focus on more important things. From automating file conversions to content creation and moving files to other systems, it’s all just a few clicks away.
Your digital assets are valuable, so why not use them again? A DAM can help teams discover assets they can reuse instead of having new ones made from scratch. Give old assets or content from other campaigns a new life!
Scale with your growth
A solid digital asset management system doesn’t just tackle your current bottlenecks. It can also help prevent new ones as your business and the number of digital assets grows.
Who needs digital asset management?
From brands to agencies, any team dealing with loads of digital media files could use a digital asset management system. Here’s why:
Whether it’s product marketing, performance marketing or social media marketing – marketers need a ton of content and they need it fast. Think about a typical campaign: you’ll need ads for print, out-of-home, TV, social media, radio, digital and email. You’ll also need extra versions to target different groups: localizing, personalizing and retargeting. And you’ll want to test and tweak your content along the way, which means even more files.
A DAM can help you make collaboration and reviewing easier, share content with teams all over the world, publish on different platforms, and adapt content easily with dynamic templates. That means getting your content out there faster than your competitors.
Creative ops is there to make sure that creative and media production runs smoothly across the organization in the most time and cost-efficient way possible.
With digital asset management, you can enable teams to do lots of tasks themselves, like finding, creating, exporting and reviewing files and content. That takes the load off creative or marketing teams, and frees up resources for other campaigns.
Production & Post-Production
Whether they’re producing a video, animation, or photoshoot, producers are there to make sure everything happens on time, within budget, and meets the creative vision. All together with a team of editors and artists.
Digital asset management systems help production teams manage their video, audio and media files plus usage licenses in one spot. This way everyone can easily track every version, gather feedback from stakeholders and deliver files to clients or ad platforms.
Learn how 180 is streamlining video production with CubeRead more
Brand teams got to make sure everything’s on-brand. After all, they’re the guardians of the brand. With so much content out there and so many people working on it, there’s a risk someone might go off-brand.
A DAM can help provide brand guidelines and approved assets to everyone, so you know they’re using the right stuff. Some DAM systems even let you set up approval workflows for that extra peace of mind. And with video and image templates, brand managers can make sure that everyone creates brand-consistent video and image content.
Design & Creative
As a designer or creative, your job is all about crafting engaging campaigns and content that moves the needle.
DAM helps design and creative teams focus on what really matters instead of getting swamped with never-ending requests from other teams. Now, those teams can find the assets they need in any format, or create all the adapted ad versions they want using self-service templates while keeping everything looking sharp. And when they do need your help, no worries: gathering feedback, sharing and delivering work is now a breeze.
When should you start investing in digital asset management?
Digital asset management makes handling digital assets and files more efficient. And that’s key to growing your organization. Keep an eye out for these signs and you'll know when it's time for a DAM solution:
You're on a never-ending file hunt
If your team's files are all over the place – servers, drives, email attachments, desktops, chat messages – finding what you need can be a nightmare. That is, if you even find it at all. A digital asset management system can give your team a home for all files and assets, making organizing and searching a piece of cake.
You're locked out of your files
Not having the right files on hand causes delays. And when time’s running out, people will grab whatever outdated or pixelated files, or get creative trying to recreate something on their own. And if someone’s out of the office, sick, or has left the company – then what? DAM makes sure everyone can access what they need when they need it.
You're risking licensing violations
Just because you have access to a file doesn’t mean you can use it however you want. Your asset might contain creative works licensed for specific uses, places or times like photography, videos, music tracks, artwork or performances. DAM software can help clear things up and prevent illegal use, so nobody gets stuck with a fine for breaking license agreements.
You're moving files around for no real reason
Downloading files from one platform and re-uploading them to another is time-consuming and risky (tons of huge video files + bad internet = total mess). A DAM solution could replace tools like WeTransfer for file sharing, Frame.io and Filestage for review and collaboration, and cloud storage services by Google, Microsoft or Dropbox. If you really still need these separate systems, a DAM can at least link them up to make life easier.
You’re not getting the feedback you need in time
If you're sending files all over the place and getting unhelpful feedback from every direction, your review process itself might need some reviewing. A DAM system can keep everyone on the same page with review tools that let all stakeholders give clear feedback right on the files.
You're drowning in busywork that could be automated
Dealing with files shouldn't eat up your day. DAM tools can save you time and keep you sane by automating those mind-numbing tasks nobody likes. Plus, less chance for human mistakes to slip in. Let computers handle their thing, so you can rock yours.
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