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The Beginner's Guide to Digital Asset Management (DAM)

If you want to manage your brand and creative assets more effectively  then you’ll want to get a better understanding of digital asset management (DAM). We’ve written this starter guide that answers all the common questions people have when they first start their journey to better digital asset management practices. 

What Are Digital Assets?

Before we jump into talking about DAM best practices it’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to digital assets.

We’ve created this guide answering the question “what are digital assets?”

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is the process of storing, organising, and retrieving your digital assets.   Proper management of your digital files ensures their effective usage across your business.

You might also hear this process referred to as brand asset management or BAM. This is because the two terms are closely related.

However, brand asset management is a slight variation in that it has a definite focus on marketing and brand-building assets.

Additionally, brand asset management systems will often include sections related to brand guidelines.  

Digital asset management is typically enabled through the use of DAM software.

Digital Asset Management Software

Technically, you can manage all your assets on internal servers, or hard drives, and services like Dropbox.

However, all these come with limitations.

Especially when your business starts to scale or work from multiple locations.

Typically, using these methods results in way too many emails being sent. Files being hard to find. And digital assets getting lost.

The answer to this problem is digital asset management (DAM) software.

This is because DAM systems are purpose-built to help you manage your digital files as efficiently as possible.

In short, they make it easy to upload, securely store, and search, find and share your media files.

One of the major benefits of specialist software is cloud-based digital asset management.

What is Cloud Digital Asset Management?

Cloud-based DAM is the process of storing and managing your digital assets online.

Managing your digital assets online comes with major benefits…

What Are The Benefits of Cloud DAM?

Firstly, storing them online is a lot safer. 

This is because, if the worst happens and your internal servers or hard drives fail, or there’s a fire or flood in your offices, you would potentially lose your valuable digital content. 

In contrast, this wouldn’t happen with cloud-based DAM. The reason being all your digital files are stored on remote servers away from your main office location.

Secondly, by storing your digital assets in the cloud, you can now access them from any location.

This is perfect for businesses that:

  • Collaborate with suppliers,
  • Have multiple office locations or work from home
  • Have remote sales teams.

To conclude, wherever you are in the world you can access your brand assets and marketing material with cloud-based digital asset management.

Why Do You Need a Digital Asset Management System?

Using a digital asset management system provides many benefits. For example:

  • One central location for all your digital assets.
  • Secure back-ups.
  • Being able to search for files.
  • Being able to categorise and filter media assets.
  • Version control ensures people don’t use outdated assets.
  • Create collections of assets for different marketing campaigns.
  • Easily share files.
  • It will scale with your business as it grows.

All these benefits combine to make your life so much easier.

They will save you time.

This is because you won’t spend countless hours hunting down missing files. Additionally, you wont need to wait for another team to email them to you. Or worse having to recreate them as they’ve been lost.

Investing in DAM software will save you cash.

Especially over the long term as your business scales.

Admittedly, we don’t have specific research to back this up because it would probably be impossible to do so.

A quick internet search will highlight the cost savings of making processes more efficient. 

Or reducing the risk of a data breach.

Furthermore, the money you invest in the software will be repaid multiple times over in the time and resource savings you’ll make.

Finally, you also have the income gains from running more effective marketing campaigns.

The reason being, using brand asset management software will enable:

  • More consistent use of your distinctive assets
  • Better collaboration on content creation
  • Easier roll out of campaign material

Who Uses DAM Software?

Any business type in any industry can benefit from using digital asset management software.

Digital Asset Management is particularly useful for businesses that:

  • Work remotely
  • Have remote sales teams
  • Operate from multiple office locations
  • Collaborate with agencies

Some of the teams that gain the most from using a DAM solution include:

Sales and Marketing

Your sales and marketing teams are your link to your customer. DAM software helps them roll out marketing campaigns across your business. As well as collaborate on POS material, sales presentations and product imagery.

Creatives

Your creative teams will be one of your biggest uploaders of material as they add new photography, video and design material. Digital asset management software will also make it easy for them to access all the distinctive brand assets they need to create promotional work.

Legal

Legal teams will see the benefit in DAM platforms from a compliance point of view as user permissions and expiry dates can be set on individuals (and groups) of digital assets.

Agencies

DAM systems make it easy to collaborate with your agencies. They can access all the creative assets they need to complete projects for you. Once complete and approved they can easily upload to your DAM platform.

Digital asset management platforms are also excellent for agencies to own and use. Your agency can easily share assets with external clients, relay client feedback, and take projects from pending to approved.

Contractors and Partners

You can easily make assets available to external contractors and partners as part of joint marketing campaigns.

Alternatives to Digital Asset Management Software

Typically when a brand doesn’t have specialist software they use a combination of the following:

  • Internal Servers and Email.
  • Posting hard drives.
  • Dropbox and Google Drive.

While this is a workable solution for micro-businesses.

As soon as you start to scale or work from different locations, things will start getting complicated.

And potentially expensive.

People will save files in different locations. You can’t search all these platforms at once. Costs for Dropbox and Google Drive can quickly escalate as your usage scales. And sharing files via email quickly gets frustrating.

This approach is like the analogy of building your house on sand.

When Do I Need to Invest in Digital Asset Management?

The answer to this question is ideally as soon as possible.

Of course, we would say that!

But here’s why.

Firstly, changing peoples working habits and processes is a lot harder than embedding good practice from the start.

Secondly, untangling the mess of files you might accumulate across internal servers, email, and hard drives can be a time-consuming process.

In conclusion, good digital asset management is more about proper working processes than the software used to do it.

This is one of the main reasons we’ve made Brandspace as easy to use as possible.

To sum-up, the software is not the star of the show. It’s just a tool to enable you to do your job.

How Do I Select the Best Digital Asset Management Software?

Every business will have different needs from their DAM software.

To help guide your decision making, we’ve put together this handy guide on the top 10 Essential Features of Digital Asset Management Solutions.

Our top three things to look out for though are:

  • Scalable software – you want your software to grow with your business.
  • Easy to use – so that adoption across your business will have a much better chance of success.
  • Easy to purchase – no being hounded with sales calls and no overbearing contracts.

The Brandspace Approach to Digital Asset Management

  • Clear, upfront pricing.
  • No obligation free trial to see if the software is right for you. No hard sell.
  • Easy payment methods.
  • No convoluted contracts.
  • Cancel any time
  • Hard work behind the scenes to make software that’s easy and intuitive to use as possible, so you don’t need to sit through hours of training.
  • Open communication and customer support that’s there when you need it.

Conclusion

There you have it. Our beginners guide to digital asset management.

We hope you can now answer the question “What is digital asset management?”

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