Many marketing professionals will surely agree: a successful marketing strategy stands or falls with having professional images. Nothing is more important than images that highlight products, services, events, people and/or locations with razor sharp clarity.
Strong visuals, animations and videos often play the leading role in any successful campaign. Those campaigns are often not limited to one channel. A successful omnichannel marketing strategy often addresses multiple channels. Social media, print, kiosks, portals, websites. All must be provided with high quality visual content. And precisely because of this enormous added value, neither cost nor effort is often spared. By calling in professional photographers and videographers, who use high-tech means such as HD, 4K and 3D cameras, steadycams, video cranes and drones, every marketing department can dispose of excellent visual material. But even those who have to make do on a more discreet budget can use the better smartphone and a few tools to create professional content themselves. After some hands-on training, any marketing strategist can now provide premium content themselves.
Whether you call on outside expertise, or whether or not you work with a colleague, the end result will find its way to marketers via hard drives, USB sticks, emails, WeTransfer links, OneDrive shares, or even still DVDs. To then be stored on computers, servers, NAS systems, SharePoint folders, … Often without logic or structure. The fact that these valuable files are often not protected against irreversible deletion or safeguarded by a solid backup strategy is unfortunately still too often an Achilles’ heel.
And so it happens that over time, the first problems arise. The once precious files cannot be recovered, are overwritten, or even deleted. Thus not only the most important marketing assets of a company disappear, but also opportunities to put the core business of the company prominently in the picture. As a result, every well thought-out marketing strategy collapses like a house of cards.
What is often overlooked is the importance of managing all those valuable digital assets. An organized and structured way to quickly find the right files to share with others can provide a solution. And it is precisely for this task that “DAM” systems are ideally suited. Digital Asset Management systems are not new, but have been gaining tremendous popularity in recent years. And rightly so. They provide a central place where all assets can be managed. And just by securing management and storage in one point, it also becomes particularly easy to find and share assets with colleagues, external partners or use them on social media. All stakeholders can have easy access as well as the ability to access and/or download files.
Anyone using a DAM solution will find that long searches for just those crucial images will soon become a thing of the past. Anyone who may have access to the solution can quickly locate the desired files through simple searches. Often the search can use not only words that appear in the name of the file, but also information that was added to the file by the photographer via metadata. Copyright information, the name of the photographer, GPS coordinates, … you name it. If it was provided, it can be searched for.
DAM systems can also allow assets to be provided with ‘keywords’ or a ‘vocabulary’. Using these predetermined lists of keywords can significantly speed up the search process. Assets can also be assigned to ‘categories’ or ‘groups’. It is also possible to link assets together, allowing related assets to be located quickly. Anyone who wants to make use of additional information that is inherently linked to an asset, and is not satisfied with the standard fields, can indicate during configuration that additional fields can be assigned. This information can also be searched based on afterwards.
A DAM system makes it particularly easy to find assets. One can often not only download files directly, but also collect them in collections, for subsequent downloading or sharing with colleagues or external contacts. It is often even possible to use a direct link, making it even easier to use on social media channels.
Access to the central system is often possible via a Web browser. Most platforms use HTTPS to establish a secure connection. Login procedures are always done via a login and password. Those opting for a ‘workgroup’ or ‘enterprise’ solution often have the option to choose to link to the Active Directory or Ldap server during setup. This allows users to use the same login credentials they already know from other enterprise applications. Perhaps it is just as important that external parties such as publishers, editors, journalists, advertising agencies, suppliers, retailers and customers have direct, 24/7 access to the latest and most accurate content. Wherever they are, regardless of time zone, access the assets is always assured.
Adding and collecting content becomes much easier. By giving suppliers access to the portal, they have the ability to add their assets immediately. And this eliminates the need for all other delivery channels. The beauty of a DAM system is that during the input procedures, crucial information can be added immediately. This saves a lot of searching and misery afterwards. Systems that are often fed with generic images can be equipped with artificial intelligence. Just such technology can ensure that images are automatically provided with the right keywords.
Sometimes it may be important to integrate with other systems such as editorial workflows or product information management (PIM) systems. Or perhaps it is a requirement that information can be read or added by external platforms. Through Web or REST services, this can often be obtained. Linking multiple systems creates robust entities that seamlessly provide each other with the latest up-to-date assets and information.
DAM systems can often be equipped with a range of tools that can automate operations. Those who previously relied on a graphics partner to perform minor operations on assets can now easily do it themselves. Crop an image, scale it, convert it to another color space, another file format, or add a watermark. By adding actions, users can perform these operations themselves immediately. This allows you to save significantly on additional costs with external partners.
Installation can often take various forms. Companies that do not have their own professional server environment may opt for a managed solution in the cloud. Those with their own solid server infrastructure use a formula where everything can be set up on-premise.
Despite the visual similarities between the Adobe Bridge program and a DAM system, it is important to emphasize that the two applications are miles apart. A misconception that unfortunately still circulates. Adobe Bridge gives individual users the ability to visually retrieve local images quickly, but is not a solid server solution with the aforementioned features. Therefore, placing these solutions under the same heading is completely unjustified.
Several technologies have had a huge impact on business over the past few decades. Just like the advent of email, ERP and PIM systems, DAM solutions provide the next step in increasing the efficiency of any business. Any marketing department looking to engage with content professionally has every interest in having access to a robust platform. Whether it’s images, visuals, videos, interactive ads, animations or other content. By centrally managing these assets, all marketing assets become easily accessible. Internal marketing or sales colleagues, external editors, resellers … Everyone can get to work with high-quality content, in a centralized and secure environment.
For more than 15 years, Catena Company has been a prominent partner supporting companies across the Benelux in implementing the right DAM solution. This unique expertise allows us to optimally assist clients in rolling out a powerful marketing strategy using the right tools.
Want to learn more about how DAM can boost your business? Then don’t hesitate to contact us with no obligation.