One hundred and fifty years ago, Benjamin Franklin observed, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” This is true for everything – including marketing. In our profession, change is a constant force in the creation of new ideas, processes, and platforms.
Along with benefits, change often brings challenges. Shifts in leadership, corporate rebrandings, and business mergers create a cascade of new workflows and business priorities that need to be managed carefully.
This article explores the types of change that signal the need to embrace digital asset management (DAM) as an essential tool for your organization by discussing types of change, the role a DAM system can play in change, and specifics on using DAM to communicate during a time of transition. We’ll finish with a case study on how one Widen customer put their DAM at the center of a corporate rebrand.
Types of change events: macro and micro
Although there are a wide range of changes that trigger the need for a DAM project, they fall into two broad categories: macro events and micro events. The macro events are initiated outside of the marketing department and often take place at an executive or organizational level. Company reorganizations like the following are considered macro events:
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Company split
- Leadership or strategy change
By contrast, micro events come from a departmental level and can require the entire company to get behind a new mission or identity or value proposition, such as:
- New website
- Product launch
- Succession planning
- New PR or design agency relationship
DAM is an essential technology to have in place in the wake of all of these macro and micro changes for two key reasons: DAM brings superior efficiency to existing workflows and it facilitates clear and effective communication. Let’s look at both of these outcomes more closely.
How DAM helps
Today’s digital media environment is built on efficiency. Marketers are charged with giving customers the right information via the right channel at the right point in their brand experience. This personalized content strategy hinges on a team of nimble, technically savvy individuals who can respond quickly and thoughtfully. Throw in one of the macro or micro events mentioned above, and the need for a highly efficient workflow becomes absolutely imperative.
DAM optimizes marketing operations in a variety of ways:
- It provides a central location for all assets to be stored, organized, and controlled. This allows all files to be effectively searched and shared on demand, and then repurposed across multiple channels, including print, TV, web, and mobile.
- DAM helps ensure that brand guidelines are followed and extends control over rights and access.
- It facilitates the analysis of asset performance to clarify which files are used most frequently and how customers engage with them.
- It works alongside and with other software – such as project management and job tracking solutions – seamlessly.
The sum of these tools and features make DAM the backbone for the team’s workflow, with everyone working in the same place. This helps teams to be flexible, agile, and fast in the modern digital marketing environment. It supports the creation of effective touchpoints and relevant stories. In a nutshell: it helps teams work smarter.
Communication and DAM
Macro and micro trigger events like the ones mentioned above require a lot of communication. Change creates opportunities for positive outcomes like business growth, but can lead to confusion and resistance if people don’t understand why things are changing and what it means to them.
Clear communication can break down the fear associated with change and establish a foundation that motivates employees, minimizes disruptions, inspires innovation, and generates crucial support for new ideas or processes. After all, employees aren’t the only ones that feel the pain that can accompany change; customers, shareholders, analysts, and media feel it, too.
DAM is perfectly positioned to assist organizations with the communication challenges present in the wake of change. Just as a central content repository facilities efficiency, it also serves as a single, controlled source of truth before, during, and after the change. Additionally, DAM solutions can facilitate customized messaging. Communication can be segmented – by business group, location, department, or other – to allow the right information to reach the right stakeholder through the use of different roles and permissions. This approach saves everyone’s time and reduces the risk of mixed messages.
On a related note, DAM tools support communication through employee training. Change can require employees to understand new reporting structures, processes, and policies. Collections are an effective way to deliver training materials around any subject through documents, images, and video/audio files (such as videos from the CEO or HR documents).
In addition to customized messaging and employee training, DAM tools provide ways to communicate brand guidelines and promote brand consistency. All essential files – along with clear usage parameters – should be readily available to the stakeholders who need them during the change. Providing easy access to logos (old, transitional, and new), layout templates, and photos helps avoid the creation of unapproved materials that threaten to dilute the brand. This is especially true for global organizations who share materials between offices around the world.
And finally, DAM tools help manage communication to the media. A public collection of pre-approved assets, including press releases, logos, and media kits, can allow the press to access and download what they need, when they need it. All that is needed is a link to the collection webpage.
Case Study: Life Fitness Corporate Rebrand
Let’s take a look at how a Widen customer, Life Fitness, used the Media Collective to help manage a micro event that originated in the marketing department.
About Life Fitness
Life Fitness manufactures state-of-the-art fitness and exercise equipment for both commercial facilities and the home. Their global marketing operation includes teams in nine countries and produces an enormous amount of content. The company has over 300 products in their portfolio and launches up to nine new products each year. This translates into over 5,000 photographs taken and 175 videos produced in many languages annually. They recently executed a brand refresh, shifting away from lifestyle imagery to a “raw editorial approach.”
The role of DAM
With a big style change on the horizon, the primary goal was to streamline their marketing operations, and DAM was the best way to do it. The marketing team wanted to remove “workflow hassles” from the company’s day-to-day processes so they could spend their time on strategy, creativity, and fun. They now use DAM to power all of their creative and global marketing operations.
According to their creative project manager, Kate Bennewitz, “DAM provides a method to our madness, supporting our key initiatives by allowing us to craft the solutions we need for brand development, rebranding, day-to-day workflow, marketing tool translations, and product launch — with guidance and top-of-the-line support. Like most brands, we’re constantly evolving our story with a variety of images, engaging video, web content, campaigns, etc. We simply couldn’t do it without our digital asset management software.”
Here are some examples of how Life Fitness relied on DAM software through the new brand roll-out.
- They migrated all branding guidelines and usage instructions to the Media Collective, which ensured that all teams were accessing the same, up-to-date information (these guidelines were previously shared in an annual, 95-page, PRINTED document!).
- They used their DAM dashboard to share regular updates on assets and general use of the DAM system, as well to help synchronize work between offices.
- They used the Media Collective’s tools for version control to centralize and organize a huge collection of assets (including still photo, blog posts, and videos) that must exist in 12 languages to serve their global market. All of these versions are organized in the Media Collective, which allows all team members to access and retrieve what they need in the format and language that’s best for them.
The Media Collective served as a single source of truth for Life Fitness as they launched a rebrand that spanned the globe. Using their DAM as a place to provide resources and information that supported the change streamlined the process and allowed them to communicate efficiently with a large group of users, while making their marketing group more efficient and improving processes.
For more info on how Life Fitness uses the Media Collective to manage their digital assets, check out the in-depth, two-part case study "How Life Fitness uses digital asset management to power creative and global marketing operations." Here are part one and part two.
If your organization is headed for change, stop and consider ways that a DAM system can support it. Corporate rebrands, mergers, leadership changes, and even commonplace transitions like a new, external website all demand a look at how DAM can help make the change a positive one for everyone involved.
Are you thinking of using DAM to support a change? We want to know how! Contact a Widen advisor today.