This digital tool is what Marketing and Agency teams need

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A day in the life of

Danny Peters, the new brand manager, walks out of the CEO’s cabin with a perplexed look.

‘Where am I to get this three-year old artwork for a Press Ad from?’ he murmurs.

Danny, an ambitious, energetic young man had joined the organization four months ago.

He’d been working on a campaign, along with the Agency, that is to be released in the next ten days. The team had spent countless hours, late nights to produce a series of creatives that went through a rigorous ‘management approval’ process.

‘One last meeting and we’re done’ thought Danny.

The meeting with CEO was not entirely inconclusive. The final creatives were discussed. An option was frozen, but there was a technicality that popped up and the CEO wanted Danny to refer to a creative by the agency that was executed years ago. He asked Danny to share it with him.

Danny calls up his boss, Veer, the CMO, who is on leave due to a family exigency.

‘Check the FTP server, check Natasha’s laptop if you don’t find it on the server’ recommends the CMO.

 

Danny’s predecessor, Natasha had surrendered her laptop to the IT team on her last day at the company. It’d been over two months since then. The laptop would have been cleaned-up, formatted and handed-over to another employee by now.

Before he digs into the files on the server, Danny makes a quick call to the Agency. Sam, the client serving executive who handles the account reverts with a ‘I don’t have it with me, I’m a year old in the system, I’ll have to check with other team members for an Ad this old. If I do find it, I’ll email it to you’. Danny knows it’s a tall order and the chance of Sam coming back with a favourable response is a remote possibility. There was an emphasis on the word ‘if’ in Sam’s message.

 

Problem statements

As a Marketing or Agency professional, I’m sure we’ve all faced similar situations at work and I can easily summarize the problems of sourcing, retrieving, storing and sharing files that are images, videos, artworks, presentations, and other important documents – also known as Digital Assets.

Here’s a list of problems to begin with  –

  • Most Assets remain stored in individual laptops or desktops of team members and due to the lack of a central repository system that allows access to Assets available on these devices, the files are as good as lost when the devices pass through many hands.
  • FTP servers don’t have an intelligent Search. You have to know the file names and the indexing architecture to locate a file. Everyone who uses the FTP server needs to understand the filing convention followed by the team. At times, due to lack of education of the convention, Assets end up in the wrong location on the server.
  • Agencies, printers and other vendors do not store Assets for long. When you disengage with an Agency, it’s next to impossible that an Asset can be retrieved.
  • File Storage & Sharing Platforms are no substitutes for a Digital Asset Management tool. They have several limitations. And as you read through the article, you’ll understand the benefits of a Digital Asset Management tool and can compare it with the File Sharing Platform that you’re using.
  • Copyright infringement is a grave concern and attracts penalties and lawsuits. Images, videos, and content have to be scrutinized before being published. How to track the use of Assets is an important question that organizations are grappling with.

There’s a reason why they’re called Assets. They have a value attached to them. Have you ever wondered what the cost of recreating an Asset would be? But I can assure you that it’ll exceed the cost of creating it in the first place. Time taken to retrieve it, time invested in creating it if the original is missing, amounts to a large expense.

 

There’s only one digital tool that searches, sorts, curates, manages, and shares Assets –

The Digital Asset Management tool (also referred to as DAM).

 

Danny surely wants to get his hands on this one.

Importance of a Digital Asset Management tool

Content is produced in abundance on a daily basis. You would have noticed that in your organization, the content (social media posts, videos, other digitally generated creatives, PowerPoints, etc) that was produced last year would have outweighed what was produced the year before.

Several indicators that make a persuasive case –

According to datareportal.com, “ Our latest data show that 4.14 billion people across the planet are using social media in October 2020, equating to 53 percent of the total global population”.

 

According to HubSpot, “70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing’’.

 

According to McKinsey, “The most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. By using social technologies, companies could raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20 to 25 percent”

 

An Infographic on statistics on communication and productivity by McKinsey

 

CMOs are, and will continue to make large investments on producing and publishing content. As per Gartner’s 2019-2020 CMO Spend Survey, Content creation and management was listed as one of  the top capabilities that CMOs felt most vital in supporting the delivery of their marketing strategy over the next 18 months.

 

Research and Markets (R&M) estimates that Digital Asset Management software will account for $6.9 billion in spending by 2024, indicating a 34.7% compounded annual growth rate from 2019 to 2024.

 

Productivity, Governance and Collaboration

 

Football table symbolizing coordination between team members

(unsplash.com)

 

Okay. Let’s get to the point. What can this tool actually do?

Wait for the drum roll! ?

And here we go!

I can list down a multitude of benefits of the tool, but I’ll cover the ones that I like the best; the ones that are most often used by members in a team.

 

Central Hub for Creative and Media content

The Digital Asset Management tool functions as a central repository for all your digital Assets. Call it ‘the vault, the single source of truth, window of discovery…”, you get the idea!

 

Controlled access to Assets

Governance prevails. Provide ‘regulated’ access to team members, external agencies and vendors. Set rules on Asset Use, Downloads and Shares. After all the Assets belong to the organization. Permissions can be assigned to various individuals or groups to –

  • Add Assets to Folders and Collections.
  • View Assets
  • Share Assets
  • Download Assets
  • Rename Assets

 

Intelligent Search

The crowning glory. Search with Keywords and other metadata. Discover an Asset within seconds with an Artificial Intelligence (AI), Image-recognition based Search. Smart tagging using AI identifies objects within an image. It’s an effortless, time saving way to search and uploads Assets.

 

Drag & Drop

I love the usability of the thing. It even gets better when Upload with a simple drag and drop whether it’s a single file or a bulk upload.

 

No licenced software required

View Photoshop, CorelDraw files on your Laptop or Desktop without having to install the creative software. The tool supports thousands of image, video and file formats.

 

Thumbnail Previews

Don’t bother, streaming the whole video file to determine its content. Get a sneak peek with the thumbnail preview feature.

 

Metadata & Versions

Every file, be it an image, video or document has a Metadata description (as per ITPC, EXIF, XMP fields). You can filter Assets by using descriptive metadata (Titles, authors, etc). At times we may have ended using the wrong version of a file.  Now, with the Digital Asset Management tool, you can identify the right version of the file that you wish to use. The file name, date of the versioned file, and annotations are provided along with other Asset details. An Asset can be downloaded in a specific file format and size, e.g. if the Asset is for a Facebook post, it can be sized for the post.

 

Create Folders & Collections

Imagine using containers for collating Assets. Folders are containers where the Asset is saved in a specific folder path. Collections act as personal containers and don’t follow a hierarchy.

 

Easy Sharing

Eliminate the use of third-party file sharing tools once you start using this feature. There is a control to set the file size, till when the file can be shared (date of expiry) and the number of downloads for the same file. Share Asset files with single Users or a group of Users.

 

File Approval Workflow

Some Digital Asset Management software are equipped with an artwork approval feature that allows various stakeholders to follow a collaborative process of approval. The approval process is a configurable workflow that requires an action to be completed by authorised stakeholders at various stages of the workflow.

 

Say if you’re an agency professional who needs an approval on a creative, you can go to the workflow feature and upload the file. Once uploaded it’ll be assessed by relevant stakeholders. Each stakeholder leaves a comment or annotations and highlight areas to be edited. You view the comments and resubmit the iterated file for an approval.

 

Work From Home

Considering today’s new normal, the Digital Asset Management software fits into the scheme of things. You can operate it from anywhere as long as you have the access and an internet connection.

 

Flexible Deployment & Pricing

You can opt for a SaaS, On Premise or Hybrid deployment. SaaS, on a pay per user per month, is usually preferred by smaller teams as the entire onus of hosting, uptime and maintenance of the tool lies with the software provider (vendor).

 

The pricing of the tool has various components to it –

  • Application (software) usage fee – charged on the number of subscribed Users
  • Data storage plan – an important component and is dependent on the quantum of Assets. There are Active Assets that are used regularly by teams and Legacy Assets which are archived to be retrieved when required. Your choice of a plan will have to factor both. The storage plans range from 500 MB to 10 TB.

 

Security

Measures such as 2FA (Two-factor authentication), encrypted shared links, controlled accessibility to assets, are measures in place. Your data is secure at all times.

 

Analytics

The tool’s administrator has a bird’s eye view of Assets and Users on the tool. Alerts and Notifications are triggered on events. The Administrator can allocate storage limits to each User and capture the cloud consumption patterns.

 

You can be overwhelmed by the available options of a Digital Asset Management software.

I’ve been experiencing KURATE for over a year now and have no complaints so far.

 

 

 

Finale

The Digital Asset Management digital tool is the best cloud-based solution for collaboration within a team and across diverse groups. It offers flexibility in deployment with minimal vendor support. Initially, quality time has to be invested in defining the File Architecture, training Users, and populating the tool with Assets.

Other marketing technology tools can be integrated with this software through APIs, e.g. Marketing and Agency professionals can retrieve an Asset and publish it on social media or a website through the same tool. As a massive amount of content is produced every day, the sooner you get organized, the more productive it is.

A Marketing Technologist with over two decades of building global brands.

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