Top 10 DAM Best Practice
Well, technically we give the DAM to you because you gave a DAM about your creative assets in the first place. And, it’s our DAM business to help you use DAM best practice to get the most out of it, DAM it! Digital Asset Management has given us the best acronym we could’ve hoped for. So along with the benefits of having a license to curse, we talk DAM best practices with John Ryan, Vice President of Marketing at IntelligenceBank.
Before we begin, can you give us a fifty-cent tour of what a Digital Asset Management platform is?
Sure. A Digital Asset Management system is an online platform that helps you create, manage, find, share, and track your digital creative assets in one location. Why is this important? According to Isentia, companies spend $300 billion a year recreating misplaced assets. Well designed Digital Asset Management systems remove that risk, saving organizations time and money.
John, what is DAM Best Practice and how does your mother feel about you saying DAM all the time?
My mother? Frankly, she’s relieved. I went through a stage at eight years old when I said a lot worse so, DAM is good for her. We’ve narrowed down our Digital Asset Management software best practices to ten. They’ll help you:
- Better manage exponentially growing assets with diverse distribution channels.
- Learn how to best set up your Digital Asset Management platform – including folders, metadata, version control, governance, sharing, headless applications and more.
- Save time by empowering your team to self-serve approved content.
- Understand how to streamline workflows with automations, AI, proofing and approvals, better reporting and compliance.
Digital Asset Management – Top 10 Best Practices
Best Practice #1 – Audit your Assets
This is essential when designing a new Digital Asset Management system. An audit helps you identify what to add from your existing assets, what’s overused, what’s expired, what’s duplicated, what’s underused and what’s missing. DAMs should make auditing easy with simple reports and dashboards. Usage rights are one of the biggest pain points for marketers, our dashboard shows review dates on when assets are due to expire. Once set up, it’s worthwhile having someone spend a few minutes each week to run through the usage reports.
Best Practice # 2 – Centralize your Assets
At the start of your Digital Asset Management journey, your assets – which can include logos, images, videos, creative work, PDFs, docs, presentations and podcasts – will be spread over multiple locations. Some will be in file drives, others in portals, web platforms and even desktops. Most likely there will also be multiple versions of these assets. By consolidating and centralizing all assets, you reduce the need to keep storing them in other locations. It is a process and can take time, but it ultimately saves time … and money.
Best Practice # 3 – Make Self-Serve easy
This starts with consistent naming conventions. For example, you may have one file labeled ‘Christmas Campaign 2022 V4 10/31/2022’ and a previous iteration labeled ‘Version 3 Christmas Campaign’. Setting a protocol and order makes it so much easier for collaborators to find the correct file the first time. We recommend keeping the file name simple, and if you notice you have the same file with two entirely different names, use version control to differentiate them.
On top of naming conventions, some customers choose to map out a file structure, it may be by asset type, campaign or business unit. It is totally customizable and can be easily set up to whatever configuration makes the most logical sense for your organization. There is no right or wrong answer. We’ve seen every structure going – from one to hundreds. Some simply rely on search. The biggest mistake we see with Digital Asset Management systems is when customers go too granular. When folders have 12 layers of sub-folders, drilling down becomes an ordeal – particularly if you can’t find what you are looking for. It seems counterintuitive, but the more segmented your folders are, the more it can end up hiding your content. Some folders are great – particularly if you want to quarantine content by country or when sharing with agencies.
Best Practice # 4 – Make Search More Powerful
The secret to a more powerful search is your metadata layer. Metadata is data about your data (asset). So, the descriptions you tag it with can supercharge your search. Tags can include things like the created date, created by, file type, campaign name and any other descriptive keywords about that asset. IntelligenceBank’s metadata uses AI to auto populate suggested keywords based on the objects in the image. We also incorporate facial recognition which trains the system to recognize individuals and groups – this is brilliant for staff and paid talent. An exciting development this year has been the introduction of a closed caption service that auto transcribes audio to text. This text then becomes fully searchable.
Best Practice # 5 – Share it
This sounds simple. But any DAM Manager knows this is where training really kicks in. The idea here is to have all collaborators deliver assets directly from the DAM, and the best way to do that is to start sharing with them. There are three ways to share assets from your online DAM:
- Email – from the DAM, email people a link to an Asset of any size
- Share Links – share a link giving access to the asset, (private or public link)
- Embed Asset – into a webpage or a document using a CDN link.
IntelligenceBank also allows you to create Public Portals where you can make a collection of assets publicly available via a link. Public Portals can come with their own custom Welcome pages, so you can make the experience look and professional and on brand.
Best Practice # 6 – Integrate your MarTech stack
This is where IntelligenceBank stands out from the pack. Your DAM is not an island. To get more value from your creative assets, make your Digital Asset Management system the foundation of your MarTech Stack. You can do this via integrations, APIs and connectors to the other software and Apps you use everyday. This is a massive time saver as it removes the step of collaborators having to download assets then upload them into other applications such as those in the Adobe and Microsoft suite as well as CMS portals, (like WordPress). One of the great advantages of working straight from the Digital Asset Management system is that you always know your assets are approved for use and on brand. IntelligenceBank also allows the DAM to be integrated into your workflow without going through a portal. This is known as a ‘Headless DAM’. So, the assets are there but they are fully enmeshed.
Best Practice # 7 – Transform Assets on the Fly
Love this one. Rather than having dozens of variations of the exact asset in different file formats (say PNG, JPG or WebP), IntelligenceBank allows you to save assets in any selected formats size and dimension via our Transformation tool. You can even set up presets for commonly used sizes that suit say, the set content type sizes on your website. IntelligenceBank Digital Asset Management software can also hold brand approved creative templates. These allow users to localize collateral for their markets such as price, interest rate, date or address changes. This is perfect for keeping satellite offices, branches and franchises brand compliant.
Best Practice # 8 – Automate Workflows
There is no limit to the Automated workflows you can trigger through your Digital Asset Management platform. Pre-approved templates are one, other favorites include:
- Download request approvals – which includes when and where they can be used.
- Website connectors that automatically update your site if you are using a CDN link.
- Auto-detect duplicate files – even if they have a different file name.
- Connect to messaging tools such as Slack via our Handshakes functionality to auto notify users of any changes to assets.
- Endless automation that integrates with third party management, e-commerce tools and much more.
Best Practice # 9 – Automate Compliance
Digital Asset Management Systems and Compliance are a match made in heaven. Compliance Automations include proofing, markup and approval workflows that incorporate tracking. Automated email alerts for expiring assets is another super popular function as it saves the investigation into licenses and talent agreements. And the icing on the cake – if this doesn’t sell you on a DAM nothing will – Automated Emails from Marketing. Yes, responses from ‘Marketing’ that auto answer age old FAQs like “Can I have a copy the logo?” are no longer your problem. Requests are sent from the DAM via a form that then grants instant access or triggers an approval workflow.
Best Practice # 10 – Governance and Reporting
This starts with Single Sign On access (SSO). People love it. It’s much easier than remembering passwords and it’s great for governance. It’s also best practice to include some more granular permissions. This includes things like locking down access so only people who are meant to see certain content can see it. This can be done at either folder or asset level. IntelligenceBank DAM software also allows you to lock down functionalities such as who can create, view and share. Reports on usage such as ‘Top downloaded files’, total logins etc. can all be accessed via your dashboard.
This is great John, but it’s a lot. Where do marketers start?
You can have the most progressive Digital Asset Management software on the market, but it will be useless if nobody knows how to drive it. The best place to start is with a live demo and conversation about your business. The availability of customer support and training is as important as functionality and price when procuring a DAM provider. IntelligenceBank provides all their customers with a dedicated Account Manager who provides ongoing support and training.