State of Brand Management Tools 2024

8 Digital Asset Management Best Practices for 2023

Inflation prices hitting companies and consumers, an upcoming possible recession in the first half of the year and now you are still struggling with managing digital content. Or maybe you are looking for digital asset management best practices to help you make the most of your DAM strategy.

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Crazy, isn’t it? According to a study by Adobe/IDC, 85% of creative professionals face more and more pressure to create digital content quickly. 71% of them admit that they need to create ten times more assets to support their organization’s marketing campaigns. 

But it checks out. We publish more and more content, and the number of channels we have to work with grows at an astonishing rate. 

All this means that we also have more and more assets to manage, where the problem begins. 

No matter how you do it, keep files on an internal server, or use dedicated digital asset management (DAM) software, you’re bound to face challenges with your system. 

CELUM, our product, helps companies organize their brand assets, among other things. And so, below, we decided to share some best practices to follow when you’re implementing a DAM system.

Before we get to that, let’s cover some basics.

What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

The term – digital asset management (DAM) – refers to a system that organizations implement to manage, organize and distribute digital assets from one centralized location. 

The core objective of a DAM strategy is to enable organizations to create and manage their content effectively and efficiently. 

CELUM Content

But wait, what are the digital assets that we’re talking about? What do you actually manage in a digital asset management system? 

Digital assets are all types of content that are stored digitally. So, for example, a file containing a video clip is a digital asset. A physical cut out from a magazine, on the other hand, is not. 

The most common digital assets that you encounter in a content production process include:

  • Photos,
  • Videos,
  • Audio files,
  • Powerpoint presentations and other slide decks,
  • MS Office documents,
  • Plain-text files,
  • Graphics,
  • HTML documents, and
  • PDFs.

TIP: Check out our complete guide to digital asset management to learn more about this strategy.

Amazing as a DAM strategy is, it can cause challenges for companies implementing it. 

Let’s talk about that now.

Challenges Companies Face with Digital Asset Management

The core idea behind having a DAM strategy is to ensure that creative teams can complete projects faster. In the case of DAM, this happens by ensuring that teams spend less time locating the latest version of a file they need and more time on the actual content creation. 

But here lies some challenges. 

The continuously increasing content production often pushes DAM systems to the limit.

Let’s go back to the data we quoted at the beginning – 71% of creatives admit to facing producing ten times more content assets than before. That’s an unbelievable increase in demand. What’s more, that demand is only getting bigger and bigger. 

This means that creatives create, store, and access many times more digital assets than before. 

Let’s face it; unless you’ve envisioned that when setting up your current asset management system, it’s likely that it is bursting at the seams. 

The result? Chaos in files, a lack of a system to manage the ever-growing number of assets, and frustration. 

More asset types can cause a problem too.

Similarly, you might encounter challenges because of the new file formats and types that you need to store, organize, and make available to everyone on the team. 

Why do new asset types cause problems with a DAM system? For one, your system might not be set up to store those new types of assets. Or alternatively, you might lack the processes to organize and tag those files to be found easily. 

Finally, the need to constantly speed up content production might cause challenges with DAM.

Not only do we need to create more content and manage new asset types, but we also need to do it faster than ever. 

Most content production cycles are short. We usually don’t have much time to turn an idea into a published video, social media post, or another type of content. This also causes challenges with a DAM system. Storing and organizing new and existing assets under such pressure often results in mistakes, files placed in the wrong places, and so on. 

Luckily, there are certain DAM best practices that you can employ to overcome the problem, save you time, and improve business processes.

So, without any further ado, here they are.

8 Digital Asset Management Best Practices to Future Proof Your Strategy

#1. Audit your assets before implementing or improving the DAM strategy

There are two aspects to this best practice, but they help you achieve the same objective: To better understand your assets. 

A thorough audit of your assets will help you uncover all the different files you have, all the file formats your organization uses, and how they are used throughout the entire content production process. 

This is an equally important step if you are only considering DAM implementation or have a DAM system in place already. 

An audit will help you identify potential reasons for challenges with digital asset management and figure out the best way to fix them. 

This might include optimizing the existing system to manage new file formats better or improving tagging and metadata processes to make files easier to find.

#2. Leverage roles and permissions to streamline the process

DAM is a cross-department strategy. In most cases, at least several different teams work with and manage assets at the same time. This is amazing and helps boost collaboration. But there is a downside to it too. When everyone can access everything, mistakes happen. Files get overridden, misplaced, or mislabelled.

Most DAM platforms allow you to specify roles and permissions, and control who has access to what. 

In CELUM, for example, you can specify rights and management access to define who is allowed to see and access specific assets. You can even define roles on a specific metadata level, future-proofing your system in the process. 

#3. Use AI, workflows, and automation to eliminate errors

Many DAM challenges arise as a result of simple human errors. All it takes is for someone to misplace a file or forget to tag it correctly after all, and the whole system begins to fall apart. 

But unfortunately, mistakes happen. It’s easy to forget about particular metadata when uploading a file. Or name it incorrectly. 

Luckily, you can automate many digital asset management and content production aspects and reduce the potential for human error. 

CELUM uses artificial intelligence to help organizations streamline many of their DAM processes. Our AI helps companies find similar assets, detect duplicates, and even auto-tag your content assets to ensure that everyone can find them easily. 

Workflows, on the other hand, help streamline creative processes. With the feature, you can enable your team to do more in less time, optimize every step of the creative process, and push the work forward.

#4. Collaborate on files within the DAM platform

You can approach collaboration in many ways. You can use dedicated communication tools to chat about the project and exchange ideas. You can use online proofing software to collect feedback and gather sign-offs and use a DAM platform to manage assets. 

But you will achieve the best results if you bring it all together. 

Collaborate, comment on files, review drafts, and collect feedback directly on your DAM platform. Here’s why.

  • You’ll deliver projects faster. When all project-related data, information, and assets reside in a single location, you waste no time looking for anything. As a result, the work happens and projects get done quickly.
  • Your team will make fewer mistakes. Once again, this will happen because by bringing everything together, you reduce the possibility of things going missing. 
  • You’ll increase the consistency of your output. Since everything is in the same place, it’s easier to retain the same quality across all different types of projects.
  • Transparency and due diligence. When you use DAM to manage assets and production, you increase the due diligence across departments. Everyone involved knows what their responsibilities are, what tasks they should complete, and when.

#5. Create standards for metadata

It goes without saying, metadata is critical in any DAM system. It’s that one factor that can cause your entire asset management strategy to succeed or fail. Why, because when assets are tagged correctly, your teams can find and access them easily. 

But make even a simple mistake when defining its metadata and you’ll render the file impossible to find and cause problems with any projects that need it.

To avoid such problems, specify standards for various metadata fields. This can include defining what metadata to specify for various file formats, as well as the language to use when filling in those fields. 

This way, you’ll ensure that all metadata is consistent. As a result, teams will not have to use different approaches to locate any asset.

#6. Set up naming conventions

Your file naming system is another aspect of DAM that can either turn out to be a life-saver for teams or a bottleneck.

Keep the naming convention structured and teams will be able to locate assets quickly. But leave it to everyone to decide how to name a file, and you’ll only let chaos into the system. 

Now, your file naming convention will be based on your workflows and the types of content you produce. In general, however, it should focus on ensuring that file names are easy to understand and clearly outline which asset is the latest and more relevant one for the project.

#7. Perform periodic content audits

Let’s face it; even if you implement automations, conventions, and workflows, mistakes are still bound to happen. It’s only natural, and even the smartest AI might not catch every duplicate or mislabeled file. 

That’s because DAM is a live system. It grows with every file added to the system, and as a result, mistakes are bound to accumulate over time. 

Regular content and asset audits will help you identify unnecessary files, fix any errors in metadata, detect and remove duplicates, correct permissions, clean any naming issues, and more. 

#8. Manage copyrights within DAM

Not all assets require licensing. But the chances are that your organization will use at least some visuals – rights-managed stock photos, for example – or other files that do. 

This could lead to potential legal issues if these get accessed and used by other departments or embedded in campaigns you haven’t had rights to use those assets for. 

Luckily, many DAM platforms allow for managing copyrights directly from the system. 

In CELUM, for example, you can set restrictions to prevent licensed images to be used outside of what you’ve gotten them for. You can also set up expiration dates for licenses, and ensure that the content is only used as intended.

And there you have it…

Eight DAM best practices that will help you take your asset management strategy to a whole new level. 

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