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Digital Asset Management for Agencies Webinar: The complete transcript featuring experiences, tips and advice from Leo Burnett and MEplusYOU

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We hosted a fantastic webinar last week titled  “Using Digital Asset Management to Give Creative Agencies a Competitive Edge”, which featured experiences, tips and advice from Frank Chagoya of Leo Burnett and Jake Lambert of MEplusYOU. You can read more background info in this earlier post.

Digital Asset Management for Agencies Webinar Transcript
  • Nina Brakel-Schutt, Brand Strategist for Widen Enterprises
  • Frank Chagoya – Executive Production Manager, Asset Management, Leo Burnett Chicago
  • Jake Lambert – Executive Producer, MEplusYOU
DAM for Agencies Webinar: The Complete Transcript. (48 minutes)
Nina: Hello everyone, thanks for joining us today for our webinar, Using Digital Asset Management to Give Agencies the Competitive Edge.  We are going to move forward with our great guests that we have today.  Jake Lambert, who is the Executive Producer at MEplusYOU Agency in Dallas, TX.  And we also have Frank Chagoya, who's from Leo Burnett in the Chicago location.  And Frank will be a little late joining us, so I'm gonna get started just having Jake introduce himself.
But real quickly, I'm Nina Brakel-Schutt.  I'm the Brand Strategist at Widen, and I'll be your host.  So Jake, maybe you could give everybody a little background on yourself and your connection to Digital Asset Management.
Jake: Absolutely.  So as Nina mentioned, I'm Executive Producer at an agency in Dallas, TX called MEplusYOU, but I come from a long line of large agencies.  I've worked with some of the biggest agencies in the world as a producer, senior producer and technical content director.  I made a conscious choice a couple years ago to a smaller agency.  When I say smaller, we have three offices and about 180 employees or so.
So if anybody who is in the audience knows, who worked at a small to mid size agency, you tend to wear a lot more hats.  So when I came here I took over a group called Studio.  We are part of the creative team, but we are responsible for not only video production, but also print and interactive media production.  And business affairs also falls under my, under my category within the agency.
And so that's really how I got involved in Digital Asset Management.  Business affairs is responsible for licensing all assets and contracts and all sorts of things that help keep the agency running and on the up and up.
And when I arrived here there wasn't really a good system in place for managing all of that stuff.  We had a place to store everything, but it wasn't really searchable.  It didn't give us any sort of alerts when things were expiring or anything like that.  
And it became apparently that we need something that was a little more formal.  And so that's how we started the search, and ended up going with Widen after looking at a lot of different, a lot of different really good options out there, but Widen had the thing that we needed the most.
Nina: If you have questions, we have Jake Athey, our Marketing Manager, who's gonna be fielding them throughout the webinar.  So you can ask in the questions window down the side panel of your screen and we'll answer them all together at the end.
Jake and Frank have also generously shared their email addresses, so you can followup with them directly after the webinar if you want.  And we're recording it and we'll share that recording with you in the next day or so.
So when you registered for the webinar we asked you a couple of questions and one was what would you like to learn during the webinar?  People had a wide range of things they were interested it, so we really tailored the conversation into today's webinar to things that you wanted to know.
And one of those things was you know, who is Widen?  Can you tell us a little bit more about the company?
Widen is a digital media solutions company.  We have two core services--digital asset management and pre-media.  And innovations in these two groups of business have given us a really nice comprehensive understanding of the asset lifecycle, pretty much from beginning to end or from creation through optimization.  So that's our niche in the digital landscape.
Our presentation today is going to have three different sections.  The first section is gonna be just sharing an agency snapshot with you.  The second is going to be Jake and hopefully Frank talking about best practices in DAM, and then just some tips and advice that Frank and Jake have as far as personal observations with Digital Asset Management.
Digital Asset Management is a technology solution and it's about providing efficiencies throughout a business' asset lifetime.  So for agencies and their clients, this means efficiencies that can help you stay competitive.
So we know that the benefits and pain points around Digital Asset Management are not always clear, so we thought it would be helpful if started off with this sort of common scenario that says you may need DAM.
So let's say it's 10 o'clock in the morning and the lead art director for one of your accounts is out of town, completely unreachable.  But in the absence of the art director the client reaches out and says can you send us the hero shot from the fall promo?  So the backup art director says um, sure, and then frantically starts looking for images on all of your servers.
Can't find it anywhere, so he asks the creative team does anyone know who worked on the fall promo, and someone says yeah, it was Steve, he's out of town until next week.  And in the meantime the client has called back twice saying we need that shot today.
So I'm sure some of you are smiling because this is probably a familiar scenario for you, but couple that with how you're gonna deliver the hero shot once you actually do find it, are you emailing them an FTP link?  Are you using your outbox or YouSendIt or WeTransfer?  There's just a number of systems out there and you just don't know how things are going to link up or what's compatible.  
So there is a better option with Digital Asset Management. 
People also wanted to know about how Digital Asset Management can benefit agencies.  And there's a number of ways, but these are pretty much the top, I'd say five ways:
- as a central repository to house, organize and share your creative can be very power.
- it's a great window to your assets, so they're visible to the right people at the right time and they're not buried on your servers.
- it's also a great method to track usage of your assets and control who accesses them.
- and then as a way to repurpose your assets globally for brand consistency, that's so important.
- but maybe the most important is just as a time-saving mechanism, so you don't have to waste billable hours anymore, having your people search and try to distribute files to people.
The last thing we're gonna talk about from an agency snapshot perspective are three approaches that agencies should consider when they're exploring Digital Asset Management.  And I think these three options will become clear as Jake and Frank start talking through their own stories.
But real quickly, the first approach is 
That the DAM system is created for your agency.  So this is how MEplusYOU is using it.  The system is branded for them, so it has their logo on it, and their assets in it and they are the admin, which means they manage the site.
The second option is that the system is created for your client, but you as the agency are the admin.  So the system has the client's logo on it and the client's assets, but you manage it for them.
And then the third approach is your client says to you can you just help me find a Digital Asset Management, we don't have time to.  So the system is branded for your client with their logo and their assets, but the client is also the admin and the agency is just a user of the system.
So I think these will become clearer as we get into the best practices section with Frank and Jake.
I'm gonna start with Jake.  MEplusYOU is a Widen customer, to be clear.  Leo Burnett is not a customer.  And Jake's company is using a cloud-based solution, whereas Leo Burnett uses an installed solution for their own agency.  So Jake, it would be great if you could talk about the thought process that you went through to choose a cloud-based solution and then talk about how you're using DAM with your customers and yourself right now.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely.  So the reason we ended up going with a cloud-based solution is because we simply didn't want to do all of the backend maintenance.  We wanted to leave that for someone else to do and we like the redundancy that Widen provided, knowing that there was always a--if something catastrophic should happen, you know, that's not the end of all of the assets we've worked so hard to acquire and manage to organize.
So that was, that was the primary reason for cloud-based for us.  And it's also a subscription service, so there wasn't a giant upfront commitment requiring us to purchase new servers and all sorts of things that go along with it.  We simply pay our monthly subscription fee and then the initial setup costs for stuff that we're involved.  
So what we don't put in there is like our final PSDs or the raw video from our shoots and those sorts of things.  
You know, part of the way our subscription works is you know, we pay a fee based on how much space we're using, and you can eat up a lot of space quickly when you start adding those giant high res files.  So we have another way that we archive those things.
But most people don't need to access those high res files on a regular basis.  They simply want to get access to you know, to a finished video that they can download for, for a presentation or something.
So we have a compressed video fault format that we upload that makes all of our work available for videos.  For images, we do upload the final image, the high res image, but we won't upload the PSD that it's included in.
So we tend to categorize all of our stuff, whether there's video, or stills or whatever it might be by client, that's how we--once we started taking a look at the security that we needed on our site, that seemed to make the most sense.
We have several pharmaceutical clients and if anyone in the audience works in pharmaceutical companies, they can be very picky about who has...
Nina: Hey, Jake, we can't hear you.
Frank: Would you like me to jump in?
Nina: Sure, Frank, that would be great.  I mean I know that Jake is still talking about things that are specific to what they do and I'll just really quickly wrap up what Jake was saying.
He was talking about you know, simple search and repurposing their assets has really helped them from a timesaving standpoint and benefit standpoint.  This is a snapshot of what their Digital Asset Management system looks like with Widen.
So this is an interior page and it shows you down the lefthand side how they categorize things.  You get an idea of how the assets are kind of organized in here.  And I think Jake was going to share how searching and doing a simple search for secrets, which [inaudible 10:33] is one of their clients, gives you very simple access to the things that you're looking for when you need them. 
And this is also an example of the workflow that they're using at MEplusYOU.  I think workflow is a really important thing to talk about because Jake was gonna let you know that it's very different to have a workflow through the Digital Asset Management system than without one.
And it is kind of a challenge to get people on board with it initially, but the payoff from getting people onboard is infinite. 
You can see they have a very different way of interacting with the project manager and the creative team, and the business affairs role that they've created.  So business affairs really kind of controls the way that things are uploaded into the DAM system and approved before project managers and creative can actually access and download the images.
So they have a slightly different workflow mapped out for a new asset versus existing assets in the system.  If it's an existing asset, it's a much less you know, I get serious process to go through and a more serious process if it's a new asset, but both are designed to help them really control how assets are used from a licensing perspective and to make sure that no expired assets ever go out there and get used.
So we have Frank on with us now from Leo Burnett and as I mentioned, Frank is not a customer, but he speaks about Digital Asset Management at several industry events for Digital Asset Management.  So Frank, why don't you tell us a little bit about the way Leo Burnett uses Digital Asset Management because I know it's pretty much by client-driven needs.
Frank: Yes, we have a variety of DAMs that we've implemented for our clients and it basically depends on the client needs themselves, so that we have a variety of different methods for internal usage, [inaudible 12:27] usage and then where we actually manage the system...and the client uses the DAM system to access the assets and distribute them as they see fit.
We've implemented DMAs for the last 10 years.  And like I said, we have a variety and we continue to keep more applications for our clients to take advantage of through the DAM systems.
Nina: Okay, so you had mentioned that streamlining of distribution of global creative was one of the initial pain points your clients had asked you about.  Can you talk a little bit about that as far as a more economical delivery method for them and managing the expectations of what people were seeing online versus what they were getting when it was delivered?
Frank: Yes, it used to be when we were facing a system, the sneaker[?] method of accessing assets via job numbers and file names that suited to the convention of the studio, where the actual markets new the asset names by different asset names themselves.
And that kind of lead to a few problems, but the main thing that we wanted to do was get delivery to the markets in a quicker turnaround and at less cost to the client.
What we did was we implemented a system that's worked very efficiently using the internet for 24/7 access to the assets and locating these assets is what you see is what you get type of search so that you can actually order the image that you're looking at on a system and be assured that you're gonna be getting that file downloaded to your own desktop once you place your order.
The more conventional system also consisted of the handling the asset through the studio, getting them transferred to disk and then sending them via UPS or whatever method that would go to a different country.  And at times we [inaudible 14:55] the country through customs and caused a delay in the shipment, so [inaudible] directly to desktop [inaudible] ordering the asset.  So either way we found that because the cost had dropped [inaudible] handling in the studio, but also any additional their delivery.
Nina: Thanks Frank.  I'm gonna move into your workflow for Leo Burnett.  So for you getting answers in the DAM system it's a little more conventional than what they're doing at MEplusYou agency.  And can you just talk through the workflow that we've mapped out here real quickly as far as your traditional development on the creative side and how you ingest assets into the DAM.
Frank: Sure.  What we do is we maintain a conventional workflow for the asset itself.  Say the asset is purchased through our art buyer and ingested into the workflow itself, which is conventional.  We go through the art and creative processes that we normally go through.
And once the asset is approved it can be delivered to the Digital Asset Management system.  The actual--after the actual approved development of this file there is a process that we have implemented for file preparation according to specifications that we would implement for the actual site itself.
This would be comprised of file collection, file compression, file regaining and organization, so that we can get these assets direction to the market without any confusion as to what the asset is or consists of.  
There's also points along the way where we either do a workflow where a spreadsheet may follow along with this asset through with lifecycles so that we get information applied at specific touch points to that asset's lifecycle.  And also we have a way of getting these assets tagged by the specific art buyer, let's say, during their process. 
And then we actually have a specific naming convention that we use for the assets in the system. 
Once that asset is ingested, the naming convention is actually part of the system's requirements so that we can streamline the relationship between various kinds of assets.  So for example, we have the high resolution asset as opposed to the low resolution asset that we provide, which are married through the actual file name itself.
And these make it more simple to find the files as well as to order the high or low res image.
Nina: Okay, excellent, thank you, Frank.  Frank speaks a lot about how you shouldn't look at your DAM system in isolation, as an isolated element.  It's really a core part of all of your systems and if you leverage it the right way they can integrate to be pretty powerful.
So I'm gonna let Frank talk to you a little bit about this is the next couple of slides.
Frank: Yes, I always, my biggest thing is to actually keep an eye on the future of DAM itself, what capabilities are on the forefront of DAM implementations and what we can do to integrate the systems into the business that runs the DAM.
So what I have here on the slide is an EDI, which is an Electronic Data Interface interchange and what this does is it allows for interactivity or interoperability where the clients themselves, the business internet sites, partner sites, vendor/suppliers, these are all able to connect vis an EDI system so that the business itself can gather information, collect that information or distribute information, depending on the requirements for the business and the interaction between the different sites.
So say your client has information on the specific order that they want to do and the vendors have information according to the order, how that order will be implemented, but this, moving forward into the next slide, that would add on top of an actual DAM to these other applications.
Now the biggest thing with the future of DAMs is going to be the interoperability of applications, third party applications.  It's gonna be imperative that the system will be able to talk to other applications so that you can take better advantage of what the DAM has to offer and provide better functionality...such as like publishing apps.
The assets that go into the DAM would then be able to be published directly to vendor sites, client sites, social networking sites, that kind of thing, with information that comes directly from the DAM.
You would also be able to have something of a data mining application that would be in compliance or in marketing for information that applies directly to the assets.  And again,  the digital dashboard application would be used by the executive organization to the user base for information that they would be basing decisions on the future of the business and its development.
Nina: Okay, that is a great perspective to share because this kind of holistic approach to looking at your system is really important, as you just mentioned, to staying competitive for agencies or any kind of business.
So, Jake, are you back on with us?  Jake Lambert?
Jake: I am.
Nina: Okay, I'm gonna jump over to you for some setup.  Why don't you talk about what people can expect when it comes to you know, an implementation.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely.  You know, so there are specific bullet points on this page and they have to do with timing.  You know, it's important that you take your time to figure out exactly what you need, you know, plan for growth and future needs of your agency because the last thing you want to do is build something that is irrelevant in a couple years.
So this is the time to really ask the hard questions about what you need and how your agency operates and how it should be operating than how it operates now.  
You know, we mention here security levels.  I talked a little bit about that earlier, figuring out exactly how people are going to be accessing this and what they should have access to is really, really key.
The second big bullet point is it's gonna take longer than you think because I guarantee you, we went through this when we were doing will be forced to think about things that you've never thought about before and you'll answer questions that have never been asked.  It's just, it's a discovery process.
And you should be prepared to spend a little time to see it through because that's what's gonna give you a nice long term result from your DAM system and all the hardware you need for it.
Nina: You think it's wise to put a little cushion in your timeline then?
Jake: Yeah, absolutely.  You know, I think we had planned if I remember right, when we started the process we thought we were gonna be done in about three months.  And as we really dug into I think it ended up taking four or five months for us to actually launch our site.
The truth is it's probably going to expand to whatever you, however much time you want to give it, you'll find a way to fulfill it, but don't cut that time short because it's very important to figure out what your needs are and understand everything that a DAM system can do for you to get the value out of it.
Nina: That's such a great point and it's a really nice segue into the setup and timing at Widen.  So we wanted to share you know, kind of an overview of what happens during system setup and launch.  And you can look at this in more detail later if you'd like, but you can see we can have you up and running in about 6-8 weeks at Widen, and that's pretty standard for the industry.
But as Jake just pointed out, a lot of it depends on you know, how much you've got going on on your end and how organized you are, then how much you need to have done in each one of these areas.
So we go through a kickoff, a site survey and configuration.  There's asset upload and training and testing and launching.  But like I said, you can look at this in more detail later, but this gives you kind of an overview of what happens from a timing perspective.
So Frank, I'm gonna send it all back to you.  What should people think about as far as their role in getting the system up and running?
Frank: As far as the DAM champion?  
Nina: Yeah, so you know, about a DAM champion and then a soft launch vs. a live launch.
Frank: Ah, there you go.  The DAM champion I think is an integral part of the system development.  You need to have someone who's a very good forward thinker, has business and people skills because you're gonna need to meet with a variety of different people throughout the lifetime of an asset...and understand what the basic user and the power users are gonna be doing to use the system itself.
They have to be able to understand technology and organization because they're gonna do the project management on this launch and the development, you know, post launch. 
I think that this person is gonna have to have excellent people skills as well.
And as far as going with the soft launch and a live launch, you know, that's something that I think is incredibly important because the soft launch is gonna be something that's gonna be applied or utilized and tested by say the soft user or the power users...they're gonna be the ones that are doing the testing for you.
And once they get a good handle on how the system is working, getting some bugs out, you know, they're the ones that'll actually discover the bugs if you have any in the system when it's launching.
And then the final live launch which is going out to all the power users, all the soft users that will be interacting with the system itself.  
Nina: Okay.  Sorry, go ahead, Frank.
Frank: No, I think it's very important to have both launches because what you do is you solve the problems that you may not anticipate with the soft launch.  And then it may seem much easier for adoption when you get the live launch going.
Nina: Yeah, that's a great point.  I totally agree.  I'm gonna go backwards for just a minute to Jake Lambert and to Frank, but Jake first.  What kind of assets do you actually keep in your system right now?  Do you have a variety of audio, video and static or what do you have in there now?
Jake: Yeah, it's a mix of everything.  So our primary purpose is for licensed assets, so stock music and stock photography, things that have a license that will expire because Widen and most Digital Asset Management systems have great alert systems to let you know when things are about to expire, so you can be proactive with your clients.  This step is very important for us.
We also upload our final videos in a compressed format that people might want to download for presentations and those sorts of things.  Widen, I think this is fairly unique to Widen based on the research that we did, but you can actually convert videos on the fly.
So we upload into and H264 MOBs format and the people can download and it will convert the videos on the fly WMVs or something that's more compatible with an iPad or an iPhone, whatever they want, whatever their specific needs are.
All of our high resolution items like raw video files and final PSDs that will be going out for print or whatever, those get archived in a different fashion so we're not taking up all of our cloud space with those items.
Nina: And I'm sorry to interrupt you, but is that how you deal with rights management too or is that a different animal?
Jake: Rights management, yeah, rights management all goes to the DAM system, so anything that's rights managed is logged in the system and we, we actually have a system where everything gets uploaded as part of an asset.
So let's say we go and buy five photos from Getty.  Along with that is a license as well as a PDF of the, you know, the purchase document, the purchase order for purchasing.  And those all get tagged together with a unique identifier that we create.  So if you search for anything, you're able to get a result.
And let's say I search for you know, one of our client names, one of our clients is Secret deodorant.  So I'm gonna search for Secret.  I get everything that's tagged with Secret.  I find the image that I want.  I can click on it.  I can actually see that unique identifier, and then by searching for that unique ID it shows me everything was purchased in that group.  It shows me the purchase order, shows me the license, absolutely everything that's tagged with it.
And then I also mentioned a second ago, the alert, everything has an expiration date it has to it, unless it's royalty free, those are usually pretty good to go.  But anything that's rights managed has an expiration date attached to it and I believe 60 days before the asset expires we start getting alerts.  And then 30 days before, and 15 and 5 and whatever...and that gives us time to go back and talk to our client.  Find out if they want to renew those licenses or if they wish to let them expire and move onto you know, something else.
Nina: Okay, that's awesome.  We're going to get into the tips and advice section, but real quick I wanted to ask both of you--is there anything that you had to do during you know, systems setup to really sell the client on the importance of the DAM system or has it always been the client asking you to implement the DAM.
You know, so for example, if there's extra cost you're going to have to incur, how do you justify that?
Jake: For MEplusYOU it really had nothing to do with our clients.  This is something that we felt we needed to do as a responsible business partner to our clients.  So our clients don't really have access to the DAM system.  In many cases our system is redundant to one they already have in house, but what we discovered is clients aren't always great at letting you know when assets are about to expire
So we felt it was important for us to track that on our own and take that information back to the client and say what would you like us to do.  
I think the last thing you want to do is have a conversation about well you've got to cease and desist letter or you're having to pay a fine for using something that's no longer licensed.
Nina: Yeah, no, that's a great thing to be able to share, thank you.  And Frank, I know you get a little bit more from the client side, so is there any ways that you're justifying the additional cost to your clients?
Frank: Yes, well actually the initial part that was a great convincer was the cost reduction in delivery, the immediate access to the assets themselves and then the actual delivery method was gonna be more adaptable to all the markets at the same time, where they have access with whatever time zone they're in, whatever the asset that they need, they find it immediately and can download it for...I'm sorry, what was the rest of the question?
Nina: No, I was just trying to see if there's any way you're justifying it to your clients, but I think as we get into tips and advice we're going to be able to elaborate a little bit more, so
Frank: I'm sorry, if I could just throw in one more thing.  
Nina: Of course.
Frank: One of the greatest things we could ad for the client itself was the fact that we had metadata applied to these assets that would be more suitable to what they needed.  You know, information regarding the expiration, information regarding the actual art buyers, you know....were the assets used for outdoor, indoor?  Was it used for specific markets and for how long?
That kind of information was critical to the client to have at their fingertips with these assets, so that was another great selling point.
Nina: That's super helpful, thank you.  And everybody who's listening, we're gonna kind of breeze through the tips and advice because some of it we've covered, but I'm gonna start with Jake.  Jake, could you just share a little bit about your thoughts on the importance of knowing the added value of DAM?
Jake: Absolutely, so you know, I think we tend to think of ROI as dollars.  And in terms of the DAM that's not necessarily the case.  You know, time not spent searching or not searching for things, the lack of frustration in finding the assets that you need, those are invaluable to your staff.
And then of course I mentioned this a second ago, but avoiding those penalties for use of unlicensed assets, that is definitely a value to the client. 
And we both kind of talked about you know, the thorough record keeping of their assets and being able to be proactive and go to them before something gets to be eleventh hour...and then just tracking all those things, you need a critical brand ambassador for your clients.
It's very, very important for relationship building if nothing else.
Nina: Awesome, thank you.  And Frank, can you speak a little bit about getting buy-in and how you bring things onboard as far as key people from the organization and utilizing training and things like that.
Frank: Right, well basically you start with the influencers and decision makers.  They're the ones that understand what the client's needs are, but from a perspective of the end user you would need to get a hold of the people who are gonna be the power users.  They're the ones that are handling these assets on a regular basis, understand what kind of information should flow with it.
Obviously, you take inso consideration the information or metadata that the client wants to be able to apply to the assets, but the end user will be the ones that are gonna be applying the information you know, in the long run.
So getting their involvement from the perspective of the complexity of the system, you know, the ease of use and ease of application of metadata, that kind of thing...that's a very important part of getting the adoption process in place.
Nina: And you've talked before about training the trainer and things like that.  Can you tell us briefly how the admin can play a role in that?
Frank: Yes, you know what, you can't have everybody super super knowledgeable about the system, but you know, what we do have here are more or less like librarians, the digital librarians that do apply most of the metadata and adjust the files.
And also the training so that we understand the system from a more intimate perspective and understand exactly how it's used, how it should be used and how the system actually handles the assets themselves, so that when it comes to the other users, the soft users, I think that we give them the most in depth training rather than sending them back to the vendor for the training.
So training the trainer as in we are in my shoes, it gives you a better way of acclimating the new users to the system.
Nina: Yeah, I think ease of use is really important as both of you have mentioned.  Nobody wants to learn anything more about new systems, so the easier something can be for your nontechnical staff, the better.
Jake, we have a lot of questions always from all of our prospects about static images versus video and specifically, raw footage.  Can you talk a little bit about how you approach that at MEplusYOU?
Jake: Yeah, so you know, pretty much all of our static licensed assets going into the DAM system, whether they high res or low res, whether it's for print or for an online blog that we've created a thumbnail for.
Those will go into the DAM system.  Any PSDs or anything that is a finished product will go somewhere else.  They go to--we have onsite and offsite storage archiving that we put all of those assets into.
Videos, we, I mentioned earlier that we upload H264 MOBs to our system.  We have a lot of requests from our biz dev dept. for mood videos and case studies and different things that we produce to help in the sales process.  And of course, those requests always come you know, 30 minutes before the presentation or there's always some last minute request.
And if somebody is not around to handle that it makes for some very tense confrontations.  But implementing a system like this allows those videos to be self serve.  So anyone who has access can go in, download the videos that they need.  They download it in the format they need because as I mentioned, the Widen system converts videos on the fly to whatever the appropriate format is.
And it's really, it decreased the requests to our studio for these conversions by almost 100%.  It used to be a daily occurrence and every time that happened, you know, the team would have to stop working on whatever their deliverable was for that day to take care of these emergency requests.
And those emergency requests have all but gone away now, which is great because it allows people to focus on the deadline as opposed to some fire drill that then has to come up.
So this system works really great for us.  You know, I think each agency has to assess what's appropriate and best for them, but it has minimized my headaches by a great deal.
Nina: And how are you guys handling the size issue?  I know storage and users are usually how people identify what kind of system they need and why.  So raw footage can take up a lot of space.  You mentioned something about using compression to address that.
Jake: Yeah, so the raw footage never gets compressed.  It always stays in its original pristine format.  And all of that stuff gets archived in mirrored hard drives that are onsite and then go offsite as well, so there's an A drive and a B drive for everything.
The things that get compressed are the final files.  And we've found a compression scheme that works really well for us.  It gives us a really good output, even if it's being recompressed into a different file format.  And that's what goes into the DAM system.
So it's a small enough, a small enough file that it isn't eating up all of our server space, but it's still high enough quality that it's perfectly fine for presentations and that sort of thing.
So it actually took us about a year of testing you know, back and forth in different formats to finally nail the one that worked best for us.  And then we went back and retroactively converted all of the video assets in the system to the new file format that we found is perfect for us...and put all of those back in the system, so now everything is the same across the board.
Nina: Thank you.  We are gonna get into Q&A real quickly, but I'd like Frank to speak just for a moment about the future of DAM because I think it's important to keep your eye on the things that he's talking about.  So Frank, could you give us your thoughts on the future of Digital Asset Management?
Frank: Yes, you know, thank you.  The model that I put together that was in a previous slide kind of shows what my thoughts are for the DAM 3.0.  Whereas you make, you have systems which were disparate in their originality, more functionable through access to the DAM itself, so you need to have some interactivity, you know, some connectability through the different applications.
The possibilities are endless.  You always have developers working on different functionality and different usages through the needs of some of their customers.  So it's always a good idea to keep an eye on the DAM providers themselves so that they can give you an idea of what's gonna be happening down the line, what is in development for down on the horizon.
The other thing about it is the functionalities that you have within your system or the disparate systems, you kind of take a look at those and see where you can actually take advantage of the DAM itself...what system would be best connected, like say the, you know, taking advantage of the social networking to expand your advertisement in pushing into some of the social networking venues so that your assets can be pushed directly to the same via an application that does your publishing for you.
You know, that's just one example, but your business can grow you know, as much as the DAM can grow.  It's very important for you to be able to keep an eye on the vendor so that you understand where they're going with their systems.
Nina: Yeah, that's a great point because the future of your business should be married to the roadmap, the future roadmap of your DAM provider.  So your right, it's important to know what you want to do and what DAM providers are gonna help take you there.
So I think Jake and Frank have shared some great information and now we're gonna get into the Q&A portion.  We have a couple of questions.  And I'm gonna hand things over to Jake Athey for moderating that, but I have on the screen here Jake Lambert's contact information and Frank's contact information, as well as Widen's.  So you can reach out to any of us with specific followup that you have, but here's Jake.
Jake Athey: Hello, everyone.  Just want to remind you to use the question tab on the lower righthand side of your Go-To Meeting plugin site to ask any additional questions.  But we have a couple here that are relevant to the whole audience.
So for Frank and Jake, do you use a list or controllable vocabulary or taxonomy for tagging assets in your DAM systems?  And if so, who creates and who applies that metadata?
Frank: That's a good question.  We do use controlled vocabulary for the most part.  We do have free form fields that we can add text to, which is basically used for our comments on what inherent characteristics are on the assets themselves--the keywords and that sort of thing.
The system was kind of developed in parallel with the conventional system so that the people who would be most familiar for having that information for the asset throughout its lifecycle would have the ability to apply this information on the site or via you know, like a spreadsheet that follows the asset through its lifecycle.  So that there are a number of people that actually have access to the system and access to the metadata application that goes along with the assets.
Jake Athey: Great.
Jake Lambert: I would say that ours is fairly similar to Frank's, except we centralize the metadata with our business affairs and our buying team.  They're responsible for inputting all of that information.  And all of it actually comes from the--if it's a stock asset, it'll actually come from the vendor because they do a great job of adding metadata and tags to all of their stuff.
So the first thing we do is copy that and then we add anything that might be unique to our agency--client names, project names, that sort of thing.
Jake Athey: Thank you, Jake and Frank.  Jake, one more question for you: talk about what you went through when you migrated from the file folder structure to your DAM system.
Jake Lambert: That may be a question we should've started with 45 minutes ago because it was quite a process.  You know, when I got here I found out that things were kind of squirreled away in all sorts of nooks and crannies on servers.  And so the first thing was to try and discover all of the places where those things had been stored...and start to organize them and catalog them in some way.
So we kind of went old school on it and just started cataloging thing in a spreadsheet.  We knew that in the end you guys were gonna be able to suggest that spreadsheet for us along with the asset as our kickoff.  And so that was a great way to organizing everything.
Once we handed it off, you guys pulled everything in and our system was automatically populated with all of the assets that we had found and the metadata that we had created for each of those assets.
Probably the second most difficult thing aside from finding all that stuff was just figuring out exactly what we wanted it to be.  I mentioned earlier that we had not thought about that.  We were kind of entrenched in a process where you create it, and it goes on a server in a client folder and that's kind of the end of it.  Nobody had really considered why things needed to be tracked and why they needed to be tracked.
There were a lot of conversations and meetings with different key stakeholders in the agency, as well as people who just work on accounts on a day to day basis.  They really didn't have any dog in the race, so to speak on a DAM system, but we wanted to find out what works for them and what make their life easier.
So it was useful to everybody and not just--it's not just about tracking, but how does everybody access and make use of the system.  So there was a lot of discovery that had to happen and you know, some of that discovery lead us to justifying why this is a good idea from a financial and a business relationship standpoint...why it was a good idea for my workflow standpoint...who is going to be responsible for all the different aspect, so for ordering aspects and you know, accessing assets.  And putting them in the DAM system in the first place.
So it was just a great deal of discovery that had to happen and you know, what you find out today might negate what you found out yesterday and how do you rectify those things to make sure that everybody's happy with the end result.
Nina: Well thanks, guys, that's all we've had for questions.  I don't know if there's anything you want to leave the audience with Frank because I didn't get to really as you about that at Leo Burnett, but is there any closing comment you have, Frank?
Frank: I think that you know, when you're in researching mode for the DAM itself, I think it's imperative that you get to do a lot of networking.  Get as much information as you can from people who are actually in the search process itself and the people who've actually already implemented it.
You know, don't be afraid to ask questions.  You will find that these people are more than willing to provide information and provide you with advice on the pain points that you're going through...and give you advice on what you may need to look into as far as the troubles and tribulations of getting a DAM implemented.
Nina: Well thank you so much Jake and Frank for your time today.  And thank you for everyone who attended.  We hope you enjoyed today's webinar.
Frank: Thank you for having us.
Jake: Thanks, Nina.
Nina: You bet.  Bye guys.

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