Your brand is the culmination of every experience a person has with your organization – which leaves a perception in their mind. Digital assets are behind many of those experiences including in-store signage, social media posts, advertisements, packaging, and sales materials. And more teams, devices, and channels are forming those experiences than ever before.
Social media managers use their smartphones and Instagram to provide a window to your company culture. Videographers produce dynamic stories for your website. Designers create all sorts of branded materials that are published across the web and printed for in-person communications.
To add more complexity, all of these files are created and stored on different devices. If you don’t have tools and processes to centralize, review, manage, and publish these brand assets, you’re leaving your brand exposed to crashed hard drives, lost memory cards, ineffective workflows, and inconsistent branding.
What Options are Available to Protect Your Brand?
With so much at stake, what options are available to protect your brand? When it comes to storage, many people make multiple back-ups of their computer systems and storage devices. But if you’re not careful, multiple back-ups of multiple versions and file sizes can turn into loads of duplicate data. While your teams are working hard to keep up with the velocity and volume of marketing content, they will be increasingly slowed down by the mess their assets.
Accessibility, governance, and transparency are key to preventing inconsistent branding. A lack of information about what file is the final version, where can we use it, and for how long, can lead to confusion and even legal trouble.
For over a decade brands have been using digital asset management (DAM) to improve the organization of and access to their assets. Today, businesses are extending their DAM system upstream in the creative process leading to more effective review and approval workflows and downstream to facilitate more dynamic asset sharing and distribution.
What are the Benefits of Using DAM for Brand Protection?
DAM helps organizations be more efficient, effective, and in greater control over the vast amounts of digital media and brand assets at every stage of the digital asset lifecycle.
- A DAM system serves as the source of truth for all types of digital media.
- Cloud-based DAM systems offer safe storage of your data using redundant storage and synchronization in multiple geographically separate data centers.
- All your assets in one place gives you visibility into how your brand is represented across mediums, product lines, and geographic regions.
- A DAM system offers governance features such as roles and permissions so admins can regulate who can see what assets and when.
- Set expiration dates to prevent teams from using assets you no longer have permission to use or that are no longer relevant.
- Allow your design team to work from their creative zone, whether that be a coffee shop, home, or at the office, with a cloud-based DAM system your designers can securely access the files they need via the internet.
- Monitor the use of your brand assets with asset-level and system-level DAM analytics.
- Regardless of location or language, use one tool to support all teams and partners that need brand assets.
- Metadata is used to define, describe, and protect your assets and your brand. Track usage rights.
- Easily share a micro-site of brand approved assets with external or internal partners.
- Keep track of versioning so your teams always use the most up-to-date files.
- Integrate your file storage and management with your project management, social media, and other marketing tools.
- Digitize your brand guidelines and link to key assets like logos and corporate imagery.
Digital Asset Protection in Action
Widen was founded in 1948. We’ve updated our brand assets and standards many times over the years. With each change, it’s important to make a smooth transition to the latest branding and enforce its use across the organization. With our DAM system, we’re able to do this easily while maintaining an archive of old brand assets for historical references.
For an example, our logo is a critical and prominent brand asset. Here are the different styles of our current Widen logo:
- Widen Black Logo.ai
- Widen Black Outline Logo.ai
- Widen Icon Black.ai
- Widen Icon CMYK.ai
- Widen Icon RGB.ai
- Widen Outline Icon White CMWY.ai
- Widen Red Gray Logo CMYK Tagline Lockup.ai
- Widen Red Gray Logo CMYK.ai
- Widen Red Gray Logo RGB Tagline Lockup.ai
- Widen Red Gray Logo RGB.ai
- Widen Red White Logo CMYK Tagline Lockup.ai
- Widen Red White Logo CMYK.ai
- Widen Red White Logo RGB Tagline Lockup.ai
- Widen Red White Logo RGB.ai
- Widen White Logo.ai
- Widen White Outline Logo.ai
Each logo has a specific use. The DAM system makes descriptive metadata, like ‘for print use,’ visible. Versioning helps us keep track of the latest asset, which is especially helpful for less distinguishable changes like rounding corners of the “W,” which can be hard to detect at first glance. Not to mention, using Widen embed codes, each version dynamically updates everywhere it’s embedded. Automatic file conversions help us manage 16 versions of the logo and still provide access different sizes and formats for each. One master file provides a marketer with a specific size PNG for an Instagram icon and a designer with another size for a presentation.
This is just one example of how we’re able to scale and protect our brand using our DAM system, The Widen CollectiveⓇ.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on January 22, 2010 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.