The Collective Anthology: Highlights from the 2015 Widen Summit Webinar Series

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Widen Summit Highlights DAM Software & Visual Content

We recently rolled out a webinar series based on information presented at the 2015 Widen Summit. The response has been so positive we decided to put together an easy-to-digest anthology of the major topics we covered in the webinars, including:

  • Brand = User experience (UX)
  • Taking digital asset management (DAM) beyond the library to connect with audiences
  • Real-time, comprehensive content analytics and Collective insights with DAM
  • The future of DAM is integration and interoperability
  • Tidying up your DAM system

Brand = User Experience

Your brand and the UX you provide to customers and potential customers are closely entwined. A successful, seamless implementation of these two concepts is critical to your visual content marketing efforts and plays a role in making your DAM system awesome.

The concepts of brand and UX extend beyond DAM, but as we’ll see, a DAM system can contribute to successful execution.

What is a brand?
Not just a logo or name, a brand is the culmination of all the experiences a person has with your organization.

Some of the key touchpoints that contribute to that culmination of experiences include: 

Digital Asset Management & Your Brand

Your brand lives in the experience of others. Every individual exposed to your brand forms a perception of your product, service, and people — it’s something they may feel, or an image that comes to mind when they think of you. Although you can’t control someone’s perception, you can guide and influence the experience a person has at each of the touchpoints in the image above.

Harley Davidson is an example of a brand that delivers a great experience. To many people, Harley is more than an American motorcycle manufacturer. It’s a way of life. The company devotes all of its energy and resources getting consumers to rally around that feeling as a lifestyle choice.


The UX
UX is the overall experience a person has with a product, such as a website or computer application, in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.

Some key touchpoints that contribute to the overall UX include: 

User Experience (UX) & Your DAM System

Ultimately, people want and expect a simple, intuitive user experience — one that makes them feel good and makes them want to experience it again.

An excellent example of a good UX comes from Libby Maurer, Widen product manager and co-presenter of the UX/Brands webinar.

Libby hated tax season because it caused her anxiety. She wasn’t adept at taxes and doesn’t like the idea of paying someone to do them for her. So, she decided to begrudgingly try TurboTax.

To her delight, she simply loved it! Easy to understand help text, definitions, friendly language, relatable icons, and relevant process prompts made it “so easy my cat could do it!”

Libby’s UX was so good that it transformed how she perceived tax season. Powerful stuff.

The Zero Moment of Truth
Your brand story and UX heavily influence the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), a term Google coined. It refers to the online decision-making moment where a consumer knows what they want to buy, but needs to do more research in order to choose the right product or service.

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)

This flow chart, compliments of Google, maps the process most buyers go through today when making a purchase. Much of the decision making process (around 70%) takes place before a buyer has a one on one with your product or service. They’re finding information on social, online reviews, e-books, videos, etc., before they call you, send you an email, or ask for a demo.

What’s your DAM system got to do with it?
Digital asset management gives you a platform to share and distribute your brand story, and helps you create a solid UX.

Any tools or technology you use to showcase or connect people to content is a brand touchpoint, so your DAM software is another extension of your brand. You should treat it like you would any other touchpoint and aim to give users the best experience possible so they walk away with a positive feeling about the brand.

Check out the entire webinar to learn more about brand and the UX.

Taking DAM beyond the library to connect with audiences

At Widen, we like to refer to taking DAM “beyond the library.” And if you have any experience working in a DAM system, you know exactly what we mean.

For those of you who haven’t worked in DAM yet, here’s a quick explanation. Your DAM system is the the central place where you can organize, manage, store, search, find, and download assets — which is why many DAM admins refer to it as their digital asset library. But your DAM software is capable of so much more.

Digital asset management provides greater vision and visibility into your entire digital asset library, as well as into global distribution and access, which is necessary given the volume of data, content, and people involved with DAM today.

A DAM system houses your content and allows you to connect it across the content lifecycle that creates your brand’s market experience.

This brings us to the three main takeaways that this webinar shared:

  1.     Content creation
  2.     Sharing content
  3.     Tracking content

Content creation

This step involves creating and capturing new content that builds your brand. A robust DAM system, like the Widen Media Collective, allows you to connect your tools to streamline processes while creating content with InDesign and capture more content with popular tools you already use.

The Experience Era

These days, conversation around DAM and content marketing is evolving to include talk about the experience.

We’ve undoubtedly entered what’s been coined “the experience era” of visual content marketing, where well-crafted content experiences share the essence or your brand AND evoke an emotional connection in the process. This is important because in order to make customers feel immersed in the experience, we need to connect with their emotions.

Since people consume and absorb information in a variety of ways, we need to deliver our content experiences in multiple forms across multiple channels. This is typically referred to as repurposing, and it’s all made possible with the help of a DAM system.

Digital Asset Management and the Experience Era

At Widen, we’ve come to love this awesome quote from Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer at DDB Worldwide: “A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.”

Sharing content
Digital asset management also makes it possible for your team to effectively and consistently share and distribute visual content to connect with your audiences.

The Media Collective offers many ways to link, embed, publish, and integrate assets with other systems AND the people that use, share, and connect your content with your customers. In fact, there are a number of applications for using and sharing image embed links — especially when an asset is reused elsewhere online.

Tracking content
Tracking and analyzing your content gives you insights as to what’s working and what needs to change. This is valuable information that makes you smarter and more effective when it comes to creating and promoting future content. Once again, embed codes come in handy here, as they help you track and analyze your content.

Check out the entire webinar to learn more about connecting content across the marketing experience.

Real-time, comprehensive content analytics and Collective insights

While we’re on the subject of tracking content and analytics, let’s dive into how our DAM software puts all of these analytics at your fingertips, making it possible to see what’s going on with your assets and your visual content marketing initiatives in real time.

According to a recent survey, almost two-thirds of our customers believe they’ll make more new content this year than they did in 2015. Only 46% tracked what their most effective assets were, and 50% of our clients measure asset engagement — like how much people view, download, or share an asset.

DAM Software Insights & Analytics

Our goal is to up these percentages for our customers so they have a better idea of what’s happening with their assets, and how they can better leverage their visual content to improve ROI.

This is why we created Insights.

Insights: The data powerhouse of your Media Collective site
One of the coolest things about digital assets is they can be tracked and measured! Data that’s collected in Insights is easy to review, which means our customers can stop guessing about content and start measuring it effectively.

Analyzing the Visual Content in Your DAM System

Having access to analytic information in Insights takes your DAM beyond the home base for your brand story – it can help show return on investment (ROI) of rich media, creative work, and the DAM system itself. With Insights, you’ll get even more value out of your DAM system because you’ll measuring your investment, too.

With measurement comes clarity, which makes future decisions more accurate and profitable.

Insights Dashboards
Within the Media Collective live several Insights dashboards that contain crucial information. They include:

  • Asset Engagement: tells the story of how assets are being used
  • ROI: tells you how the site is performing
  • Site Metrics: gives a quick snapshot of today’s activity

Learnings gained from dashboard data include:

  • Identification of high-performing assets
  • Understanding of what asset types get used the most
  • Better understanding how to best engage audiences
  • Understanding of interest/demand by user role and top users
  • Awareness of where assets are being used online
  • Confirmation that the right kind of content is being created
  • Information for future planning, production, and budgeting

With Insights, you can track the data that’s relevant to you and your organization.

Check out the entire webinar to learn more about Insights.

The future of DAM is integration

When it comes to DAM and integrations, it’s all about what we call “interoperability.” This term is defined as the ability of a system to work with or use the parts of another system — in other words, syncing data across systems for greater efficiency.

Since the Media Collective seamlessly handles interoperability within its workflow, we wanted to highlight how the process works and why these DAM integrations are so useful.

The Media Collective has many integrations built right in, including WordPress, Drupal, and Zapier. Salesforce and Sitecore integration are coming soon. But these “out of the box” integrations are only part of the story.

The following are a handful of major ways integrations help run your visual content strategy campaigns.

Limitless connection possibilities
With the Media Collective, you can:

  • Make an e-commerce site display product pictures and product metadata
  • Enable a Content Management System (CMS) to populate a website
  • Have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system create visually rich email campaigns
  • Use a Product Information Management (PIM) system to organize company data
  • Use any web application as a connection point where you can implement DAM assets and metadata
Digital Asset Management Software Integrations

Connecting with an application programming interface
Application programming interfaces, or API’s, are more common in your everyday online experiences than you might know. The ability to comment on a blog post via your Facebook account or post to social media from an image editor is made possible by an API. Connectors like API’s usually operate seamlessly behind the scenes.

The same technology can be used to connect your digital assets external sites, sales apps, catalogue production software, and project management programs. With how easily applications can now connect in the cloud, customers are realizing the potential of what can be done with the Media Collective’s API and how you can leverage your content across your marketing technology stack.

In essence, an API allows other web applications and software programs to search and access the digital assets and other information in the Media Collective for repurposing in other places.

Why you want to use embed codes
Embed codes make it possible to display digital assets in the Media Collective on your external website, in html emails and more. This means you no longer need to upload and download digital assets. Instead, you just embed them from the source in your DAM system. Another perk is when you need to update an asset, you only need to make the update in your DAM, and it automatically updates everywhere else!

In addition, embed codes never expire and they collect information about how the embedded asset is used — so they can be analyzed.

Customer use cases
The following real-world example is based on a company called SubZero and their use of the Media Collective in conjunction with their marketing website.

  • SubZero use Sitecore CMS and the Media Collective API, and queries are made through the API on a periodic basis.
  • SubZero mirrors collections of assets in the Media Collective down to their servers, which makes assets available in Sitecore for their creative team.
  • As changes occur and/or versions are made, all assets are managed and updated in the Media Collective.
  • In addition, once a new asset has been uploaded in the Media Collective, or if an asset is updated or deleted, after the sync, it automatically appears (or is removed) in Sitecore. This means there’s never a chance someone is working on an old or deleted asset.
  • If the asset in question is embedded on the SubZero website, it’s automatically updated to the latest version.

This is only one example of how interoperability works – there are lots of ways to connect the rich media in your DAM to other programs and systems.

Check out the entire website to learn more about interoperability and integrations.

Tidying up your DAM

Is your DAM system messy? Or, perhaps you’ve inherited a DAM system that needs to be reorganized and neatened up?

If either of these are the situation you’re in, then take a look at our DAM dozen — 12 ways to tidy up your DAM system.

DAM System Clean-up & Maintenance

The DAM Dozen

  • Step 1: Admit there’s a problem. My name is ________, and I have a DAM clean-up problem.
  • Step 2: Allocate enough staff time. You can’t rely on magic.
  • Step 3: Make it official. Set a deadline and inform users.
  • Step 4: Interview users and identify their pain points.
  • Step 5: Create a solid structure that contains categories (levels and quantity) and metadata (types and quantity). This results in users quickly finding what they need.
  • Step 6: Divide and conquer. This involves targeting assets to archive or delete, determining a clear overall plan of action, prioritizing assets to clean up first, and creating a clean collection.
  • Step 7: Clean up permissions. Aim for consolidation and identify restricted assets.
  • Step 8: Customize your site. Make it personal by updating the look and feel, creating system messages and spotlights, and re-launching the new experience to get everyone excited.
  • Step 9: Create a governance doc. This includes outlining the rules of your DAM system and setting a maintenance schedule.
  • Step 10: Train, and then train some more! Train in groups, one-on-one, formal, and impromptu. While doing so, focus on user benefits and recruit DAM ambassadors to help you train.
  • Step 11: Evaluate. After the changes are implemented, follow up with users to get feedback. Continue to make improvements, as necessary. Use Insights to track effectiveness.
  • Step 12: Celebrate! You’ve completed a DAM system clean up. And if your DAM ever gets messy again, you’ll know exactly how to clean it up!

We hope these DAM software clean-up tips prove helpful.

Check out the full webinar for more on tidying up your DAM system.

Based on the success of the 2015 Widen Summit webinar series and the Widen University web workshops, we’ve already planned some great sessions for this year. There’s an entire series on Insights that goes from a high-level overview of analytic capabilities to the details of setting up your data dashboards and a four-part DAM 101 program that covers the basics of digital asset management, finding a DAM system, administration duties, and implementation.

For more info and registration links, see the blog post “11 upcoming webinars that will increase your DAM skills.”

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