DAM vs. BAM: Which Platform Do You Need?

It’s true – You can manage the company’s digital assets in quite a number of ways. For one, you could just leave them scattered across shared hard drives. Everyone could just retrieve whatever files they needed from there. But if you’ve ever tried doing that with a significant amount of assets, then you already know what an impractical solution it is.

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Sooner or later, someone will misplace an important asset. Or, worse still, use a wrong version of a file in marketing collateral, causing serious damage to your brand.

The alternative, then, is to store those assets in one central location in a dedicated asset management platform. 

But which platform do you choose, then, DAM or BAM? Both seem quite similar at first. They’re even often confused with one another. 

In this guide, we’ll show you what each platform does, specifically, and help you decide which one is best for you. 

But before I tell you more about each platform, let’s briefly discuss what makes a choice between them so difficult. 

Why Do DAM and BAM Platforms Seem So Alike?

It’s actually a fact; at first glance, the only difference between digital asset management (DAM) and brand asset management (BAM) platforms is the name. 

  • Both platforms provide features to store, organize, and retrieve digital assets, after all. 
  • They both improve the efficiency of internal processes and help streamline asset management and retrieval.
  • Each platform supports multiple file formats and allows you to bulk upload them to store and manage. 
  • Often, even both platforms’ interfaces seem similar. This is no surprise, given that both DAM and BAM often feature similar capabilities. 

In other words, both DAM and BAM seem to be doing exactly the same thing. 

They also seem to look the same. 

So it’s no surprise that potential customers often see them as identical. In fact, for many people, both terms – DAM and BAM – are nothing more than synonyms describing the exact same thing. 

But they’re not. Those two platforms may seem similar, but they’re actually two different products. 

It’s just that what makes them different is not how they look or work. It’s what types of assets they help you manage and the reason for doing so.  

What Is a Digital Asset Management System (DAM)?

To fully understand what a DAM platform is, we need to take a step back and look at one of the most prevailing problems we experience as organizations: 

We’re basically drowning in digital assets. 

Every month, we produce hundreds, if not more, of photos, videos, audio files, all kinds of text-based documents, graphics, PDFs, and so on. And then, we often repurpose those assets across all customer touchpoints and marketing channels. 

It’s astonishing. 

But it also means that we need a way to navigate all those assets – find, retrieve, and archive them – to deliver all content projects on time. 

That’s where digital asset management comes in. 

Digital Asset Management is a process of organizing and managing digital assets from a single location or a content hub.

By the extension of this definition, a DAM system is a software platform that you use to implement and run DAM processes and workflows. In other words, it’s the software where you “do” digital asset management:

  • This is where you upload all your organization’s digital assets
  • DAM is also where you organize them into folders, categories, etc., and use other ways to store all that content. In other words, DAM becomes your digital asset library where teams can access files when they need to.
  • Advanced DAM platforms like CELUM (disclaimer – this is our tool) also facilitate collaboration and content creation with advanced project management capabilities like Kanban boards and automations. 

How does DAM help organizations streamline asset management?

  • Having digital asset management software in place means that teams spend less time looking for relevant assets for their projects,
  • With DAM, you can also significantly reduce errors and mistakes in content production. 
  • DAM processes also prevent unauthorized asset use or having teams use the wrong version of the file by mistake. 
  • With a DAM platform like CELUM, teams can access assets and collaborate on projects from a single location.
  • Finally, having all digital assets in one place simplifies brand management for global companies.

Because of its versatility, DAM is often used by departments across the entire organization.

  • Entire organizations use DAM to manage their brand-specific assets and creative files. 
  • IT teams use the system to ensure file compliance across the entire tech stack. 
  • DAM helps sales teams to create, manage, and, most importantly, easily access sales collateral. 
  • Legal teams use DAM to manage digital rights for assets. 
  • Finally, marketing teams use DAM to manage assets required for various campaigns and initiatives.

What Is a Brand Asset Management System (BAM), Then?

The brand is undoubtedly your most important asset. 

But the brand is not just a name or a logo, of course. For most organizations, the list of brand assets would also include their various creative designs, social media artwork, and visual assets like photos, illustrations, ad creative, etc., and a whole range of documents like website copy, taglines, slogans, and more. 

The list is pretty much endless. 

As the name might have given out already – A BAM platform focuses on managing and organizing brand assets, specifically. 

As I mentioned before, the difference in functionality between DAM and BAM isn’t significant. They differ by what you use those platforms for. And in the case of BAM, it’s all about brand assets. 

BAM allows creative and other teams to access the most up-to-date versions of various brand assets easily. This way, an organization can ensure brand consistency across all projects and prevent out-of-date or unauthorized assets use as well. 

How does BAM help organizations manage their assets?

  • With BAM, relevant teams can find and locate all brand assets easily. They can quickly locate logos in the format or size that fits their campaign or collateral, for instance. They can access the most recent brand imagery and review the brand guidebook, for example. And they can do that without having to sift through other people’s hard drives or ask other teams to supply the right asset.
  • As a result, organizations can maintain brand consistency across all communications and do that without the fear of someone using a wrong version of a file, for instance. 
  • BAM also allows you to manage access to assets and ensure that only relevant people can access relevant files. Aside from that, just like DAM, BAM systems also let you set up expiry dates for assets and use version control to always have the most up-to-date asset available for teams to use.

Looking at the description above, do you not wonder…

Isn’t BAM basically a limited version of DAM?

Well, it is, in a way. 

BAM is more limited in its use case, for example, and it does not have the same broad capabilities as DAM. 

For instance, DAM allows you to store and manage ALL of your company’s assets. BAM, on the other hand, does so with just brand assets.

DAM can help manage and protect brand assets too. The system works with all assets your  company might have, after all. 

On top of that, DAM systems are designed to handle huge amounts of assets. These platforms also provide various capabilities to make it easy to manage such large quantities of files. Not to mention that with DAM, you can create a repository of your organization’s entire collection of assets.

So, Do You Need Both DAM and BAM?

No, you absolutely don’t. 

In most cases, you just need a solid DAM system since it will also incorporate platforms like BAM (or MAM, for that matter.)

On top of that, a DAM platform will offer additional features like 

  • Project management and content routing capabilities so that you can use it to manage the entire content production. 
  • Online proofing so that you can get projects reviewed and approved faster. 
  • Workflow automations. With that, you’ll be able to streamline every aspect of your creative process, from brainstorming new ideas, content production, review, and approval processes to final signoff and distribution.
  • DAM will also enable brand consistency. A DAM system will allow you to control how branded assets are being used, ensuring that all content creation teams and other stakeholders always use correct on-brand assets.
  • Compliance and digital rights management. With DAM, you can also set restrictions and expiration dates for various assets and even ensure that copyrighted images are being used only as intended by the license.

And more. 

Wondering which DAM system to choose? Check out our guide to choosing a digital management system for your brand.

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