What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

The management, organization, and distribution of digital assets –
like videos, images and creative files – from a central content hub.


Connect your content across the entire asset lifecycle

With the right Digital Asset Management system, you can extend the reach of your digital assets — also referred to as visual content   from creation through preservation. Then watch the agility and productivity of your marketing and creative teams grow.

Visual Content Creation in a DAM Marketing Hub Create
DAM Marketing Hub Visual Content Management Manage
DAM Visual Content Marketing & Distribution Distribute
DAM Visual Content Archival Preserve

Creation

Digital asset management can help you create assets during any of the following four stages: definition, idea generation, planning and development.

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A digital asset is often part of a greater call to action, such as a new brand, product launch, promotion, campaign or event. You might need brand assets like logos, photos, graphics, video clips, presentations, documents and more.

Once you’ve selected the type of digital assets you’ll need, it’s time to get into the details of design which includes generating ideas, planning, and making decisions about how you want the asset to look and feel as part of the experience. During the creation phase, you spend time developing a concept along brand guidelines and an idea takes shape. Timelines are also established, and the logistics are planned out. All of this can be shared, reviewed and commented on, in a good DAM system.

Once this framework is in place, creation happens! Graphic designers get to work and the videographer begins the filming process. Quality digital assets take the time and effort of multiple people. Input and approvals are required at many junctures. That’s where a DAM system, like the Widen Media Collective, can really kick in and begin to streamline your process.

Media Collective is a cloud-based digital asset management system that enables multiple users to view, download and manage digital assets.

Give creativity a boost with digital asset management

A good DAM system can foster creativity and idea generation by allowing users to quickly access assets used in the past.

Viewing old campaigns and digital assets gives a comprehensive view of what has been done before. If your DAM system provides analytics data, you can easily track successful content and gain insights for future creation. The Media Collective tracks analytics data at the asset level, and site level, which can provide you with all the details needed to decide a best future course of action.

Download the white paper: Understanding the Digital Asset Lifecycle: Defining and Connecting the Four Stages

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Management

Now that you’ve created a bunch of digital assets, it’s time to focus on the basics of managing them.

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With the excitement of creation behind you, it’s time for the nuts and bolts of managing your visual content and metadata. Approvals, organization, versioning — as well as roles and permissions — are a few of the topics you’re likely to encounter.

Using a DAM system at this stage organizes content, makes it easily searchable and provides access to users at different levels so each user sees only what you want them to see.

A digital asset management system can increase efficiency in the following areas of your brand management processes:

  • Streamlining of the approval process. A manager can follow a link to approve or comment on digital assets. Once approved, the asset remains in the same location.
  • Simplification of logistics, so you can find what you need. Tagging or using collections allows efficient access to digital assets even without file naming conventions or metadata.
  • Versioning made easy. Keep all iterations of an asset, with notes and comments, in the same place. Digital assets can be linked to websites and blog posts, and will automatically update when a new version is approved.

A DAM system provides access levels to different types of users based on their needs – for example viewing rights, upload abilities, or approval.

A good system allows roles and permissions to be assigned to users so that they see only what you want them to see. That means a project manager has access to approve the files for their campaign, a designer can upload new versions, and a marketing specialist can download the digital assets they need for the task at hand.

Providing the right kind of access

Deciding who gets access to what content is a big part of managing digital assets. Widen offers products that meet the simplest and most complicated access needs.

For companies with many affiliates and a large marketing department, the Media Collective provides a scalable structure for efficient use. For simple, easily downloadable asset groups, the stylized collection feature allows you to create clearly-branded asset collections for viewing or download.

If you have lighter digital asset management needs, our Smartimage solution may be a better fit for you.

Learn more by downloading the white paper: Understanding the Digital Asset Lifecycle: Defining and Connecting the Four Stages

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Distribution

Since you’d like team members, and sometimes end users, to utilize the digital assets you’ve worked so hard to create, it’s critical that they’re easily accessible to the “right” people when they’re needed.

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Much like DAM management, efficient distribution of digital assets relies heavily on roles and permissions. Distribution hinges on providing users easy access to the digital assets they need. In a DAM system, users have access to the appropriate images, illustrations, videos and documents in various file formats, resolutions and dimensions. A collection might include the necessary files for a complete campaign (such as high-resolution, poster-ready photos), images optimized for social media, and easy-use website headers.

Much like management, efficient distribution relies on roles and permissions. In a DAM system, users have access to appropriate images, illustrations, videos, and documents. Beyond providing the right level of access, DAM systems can deliver assets in various file formats, resolutions, and dimensions. A collection might include the necessary files for a complete campaign, such as high-resolution poster-ready photos, social media optimized images, and easy-use website headers.

A savvy DAM system goes beyond the basics of simple downloading. It also provides links and embed codes that enable digital assets to be published directly to websites, blogs, email, social media and other marketing experience tools.

Saving time, money and sanity

Many companies have experienced a slow creep in file distribution, only to discover at some point they have one or more people who spend almost all of their time emailing files to partners.

The Yankee Candle Company found themselves caught in a cycle where it took 8-15 days for a distributor to get the digital assets they needed in the right format and file size. According to Lisa Gauvin, Yankee Candle’s Associate Marketing Manager, after implementation of the Widen Media Collective, the company vastly improved asset delivery time with self-serve access that freed up staff to work on new projects.

Download the white paper: Understanding the Digital Asset Lifecycle: Defining and Connecting the Four Stages

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Preservation

Digital assets have a lifetime, so when they’re no longer in use you should archive and preserve them.

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How long an asset remains in distribution depends on the asset itself. One video may only be relevant during a short marketing campaign, while another describing a key aspect of your company can have a much longer lifetime. Preservation, or archiving, digital assets and their related documents and versions, is a key part of the lifecycle.

Keeping files organized and easily available saves time and money. A digital asset management system can provide a cost-efficient, archive-level environment, where using management tools like tagging helps users access related files in seconds.

Some DAM solutions, like the Media Collective, take it a step further by offering low-cost archive storage. Cloud-based DAM storage offers a preservation system that’s great for raw video, discarded photos from a shoot, and other types of data. These are the kinds of files you don’t need at your fingertips, so it’s OK if it takes a little longer to download from the archive.

Tracking asset performance

Gone are the days when you created an illustration or video and sent it out for use, relying on sporadic feedback about the success of the asset. With optimization analytics, digital asset management systems like the Media Collective can provide data about:

  • Which digital assets are performing best
  • Which assets are underutilized
  • Which types of assets are more in demand by users
  • Which types of digital assets are not needed by users
  • Who your power users are
  • What your users are (and are not) searching for
  • Where digital assets are being used

Analytic information provides much-needed marketing data about how and where assets are being used, and can help inform future asset creation.

Download the white paper: Understanding the Digital Asset Lifecycle: Defining and Connecting the Four Stages

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DAM is an important tool in your marketing mix, but why?

With Digital Asset Management at the heart of your marketing strategy, the tools in your digital ecosystem can work together.

And together, they make  your visual content more powerful across all customer touchpoints.

  • Increased brand control and global brand consistency 
  • Better review, approval and collaboration
  • Reduced errors and accelerated time to market 
  • Improved productivity when finding and sharing content
  • Repurposed brand assets
  • Self-serve access to marketing content

The uses of DAM are driven by two key things:

What is Digital Asset Management
1
A global need to access a large variety of marketing and creative content that supports the brand
2
An ever increasing amount of high quality digital assets and visual content being created and shared
Digital Asset Management User Ottawa University
 
“Automatically generating jpgs and tiffs within the DAM
system is incredible. We spent so much time doing that and
now we don’t have to. The brand ROI is immense.”

What can DAM software do for your business?

 
The benefits of a digital asset management system impact the productivity of your marketing and creative teams and your bottom line. 
You get greater visibility of your assets, streamlined review and approval, faster distribution of content, and global consistency of your brand.
 

Calculate your DAM ROI

The ROI of DAM is all about marketing success. What’s it really costing your team NOT to have a DAM solution?

ROI #1: Money spent searching for assets
people
hours per week
$/per hour
20,800

spent per year searching for assets

ROI #2: Money spent on content distribution
hours per month
$/per hour
$/per month
6,000

spent per year distributing content

If your organization is investing in Digital Asset Management software, make sure it meets the top 10 characteristics of DAM

When it comes to choosing the right Digital Asset Management solution, make sure you do your homework.
Lots of solutions out there say they do DAM. But according to the DAM Foundation, a true DAM system should… 

  1. Ingest digital assets and manage them and their metadata individually or in mass.

  2. Secure assets they contain, by defining access control lists and roles for users accessing the system.

  3. Store digital assets as both binaries and metadata. A DAM system should store multiple file types  and allow you to customize metadata fields as well as the metadata attached to the stored files.

  4. Transform digital assets into new forms, such as thumbnails or proxy files. The new forms generated on asset ingest should all be stored as asset parts of the original file uploaded.

  5. Enrich assets through the extension of metadata and metrics regarding the use and reuse of the asset throughout its lifecycle. 

  6. Relate assets by tracking the relationships between an original asset and versions of the original. Versioning and version control tools are central to an asset’s life in a DAM system. 

  7. Regulate the management, creation and review of assets with workflow tools. DAM systems allow for a decentralized workforce to collaborate together in a centralized system.

  8. Allow users to find and retrieve assets via metadata, collections, workflows and access control tools. By increasing the discovery of assets, a DAM system helps workers leverage existing content for maximum work potential.

  9. Preview assets before downloading or opening a file. By allowing users to review assets quickly in search, without downloading them, DAM systems reduce the amount of time users spend in search.

  10. Produce/publish content via sharing, linking to or otherwise distributing outside the system. This may be as simple as generating a URL or as complex as building collections of digital assets for sharing.

Give your brand story a home base

A Digital Asset Management solution centralizes and organizes the visual assets that make up your content. But it's more than just a media library. 
It’s a way to share data about your content and make better use of the stories and images that get buried on CDs, servers and drives. 

 

Extend Visual Content with DAM Software

Extend

Power your brand assets to reach other systems, processes and people.
Cloud-based DAM Visual Content Sharing

Connect

Share your brand story clearly and consistently.
DAM Marketing Content Hub Security

Protect

Protect your brand and serve it up to different people easily and securely.

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