As businesses scramble to find every advantage they can in an increasingly competitive world, one topic that keeps popping up again and again is “digital asset management.” That’s sometimes followed by the unnerving question, “Am I managing my company’s digital assets properly?”
For the uninitiated, digital asset management is the process of organizing, storing, and enabling the retrieval of “rich media” such as the multimedia content that your company owns -- including logos, images, brand guidelines, PDFs, case studies, whitepapers and more -- along with the rights, permissions, and usage guidelines to same. Marketing assets cover a wide gamut of properties. They all have value and thus it is critical that they be properly managed. A digital asset -- even something as common as a presentation, business card or print ad -- is of no use to anyone if it can’t be located and utilized in a timely fashion.
To that end, it’s important to undertake some basic steps to assure that your digital asset management efforts are focused … and followed.
Leadership: It might seem like stating the obvious, but strong leadership up-front for this initiative is essential. When everyone sees that the powers-that-be believe digital asset management is a company priority, the task of getting it going will be easier and less stressful for everyone.
Develop an Effective Library: You'll need a centralized location where your digital assets reside. There is nothing more frustrating than to hear a call across the office, “Does anyone know where the [Blank File] is?” That means an important asset has been mislabeled, misfiled or otherwise misplaced, and someone has to stop what they’re doing to seek it out. It’s not a good use of anyone’s time. Creating an archive of assets will go a long way toward alleviating that frustration. One way to avoid this is by utilizing a digital asset management system, such as that provided by BlueSky ETO. It helps you better manage what you have, and keeps everyone focused on the importance of following digital asset management best practices.
Set Clear Parameters for Your Catalog: Having a universal storage center for your digital assets is all well and good, but that’s only half the challenge. The other half is to establish clear and unequivocal brand guidelines for how those assets will be used, named and stored. I once worked with a very talented writer who used carefully selected photos – that we paid for -- to enhance his stories. But he stored them as “PeterArt1”, “PeterArt2”, etc. That wasn’t any help at all when someone went to find an old photo he’d used, so that they could use it themselves. It's important that everyone utilizes proper file names, tags and dates for all their content.
Make it a Team Effort: When someone has a vested interest in a project, they’re more likely to want it to succeed. Be sure to involve team members from all departments -- these can include those focused on customer loyalty, graphic designers, marketers and whoever else might have access to the assets -- and value everyone’s input. The higher number of clear voices you include, the better your chances of success.
Stay Current: Too many companies feel the need to keep everything. While it’s understandable that current clients and ongoing projects need to have all their related digital assets available, too often companies keep outdated, duplicative or unusable assets on file with the more current material. One of the benefits of a strong digital asset management system is the ability to find what’s needed, quickly. But having unnecessary files clogging up the system takes up valuable space and can slow down search efforts and effectiveness.
Keep Security Top of Mind: Like your company’s smartphones, computers, desks and other physical items, your digital assets have value. It’s therefore important to protect them as carefully as you would your physical space. Password-protected access to your digital assets should be a given, with such passwords changed regularly. Quality marketing resource management (MRM) systems have unique access levels that will work well here. This is to not only keep your intellectual property secure, but to also deny access to unauthorized people, like competitors or employees who’ve left. A strong MRM system also offers varying approval processes for changed items like "advertising creative." Your digital assets will hold their value, but only if you maintain control over them.
Never Stop Growing: Once you get a secure, viable, helpful system up and running, you need to maintain it. Your digital assets will continue to grow, so complacency is not an option. Keep a close eye on your digital marketing assets and the system they reside in. Early intervention will stop small problems from becoming big ones.
While it may seem daunting at the outset, proper digital asset management is only as complicated as you make it. By tackling the project now, and dedicating the proper resources to it, you’ll find down the road that maintaining the system and having it be an actual “asset” to your business will pay off handsomely by helping you achieve maximum value and return on investment (ROI). These digital assets are yours. Like people and facilities, they just need proper management to thrive and succeed. It’s worth the effort now to reap the rewards later.
Want more ideas on how to run your business more efficiently? Click below to see a timely blog on the value of data management from Blue Sky ETO.