State of Brand Management Tools 2024

How to Create a Digital Asset Management Workflow

What does usually take longer? Creating content or managing assets to even get started putting your ideas on paper? For so many of us, it’s the former. And yet I bet you thought of the latter more, right? It’s the most irritating part of the process, after all (and one that can consume a ridiculous amount of time too).

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Luckily, you can eliminate it by creating a digital asset management workflow. 

In this guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to do it. We’ll discuss what a digital asset management workflow is, how a DAM workflow will improve your creative processes, and we’ll look at what a typical management workflow looks like. 

So, let’s begin.

What Is a Digital Asset Management Workflow?

Look at this term – digital asset management workflow – again. Notice something about it? 

You’re right; it contains two different elements – digital asset management and workflow.

And so, to understand what a DAM workflow is, we must first look at each of those elements in turn. 


Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a process of managing, organizing, and distributing digital assets from a single content location or a content hub.

The core objective of a DAM strategy is to help organizations create and manage digital content throughout the entire content lifecycle. 

A workflow, on the other hand, is a sequence of processes necessary to complete a task. 

A DAM workflow, therefore, is a process that helps companies define, manage, (and even automate) various stages of the asset lifecycle. 

In more practical terms, a digital asset management workflow defines how an organization manages its assets. It includes processes that outline how to define the asset and create the initial brief, produce it, review it, and publish and upload the assets to a dedicated DAM solution for archival. 

(Note – You’ll further find an example of a complete DAM workflow in this guide.)

Organizations create and launch their DAM workflow systems to combat several issues that typically delay content creation:

  • Lack of transparency and communication over assets across departments. In many organizations, employees don’t know where even the most essential assets are and waste countless hours and resources locating them. The situation is often comical, as this one study found. According to its findings, as many as half of the employees admitted using Google to search for their company’s logo.
  • Chaos in content production. This often happens because teams can’t locate the most recent version of an asset, use outdated versions, and often overwrite the actual file with a wrong revision.
  • Inefficient manual processes leading to the chaos in content production I mentioned above. 
  • Asset silos in which each department creates its own asset repository and asset management system without sharing access to it with anyone else. 

Here’s How DAM Workflows Help Improve Creative Processes

There’s no point in denying it; as marketers, we’re under enormous pressure to create more content. 

We also need to do it faster and more efficiently.

I found an old piece of data that illustrates it quite well. In a 2015 research by Adobe, 71% of us revealed that we’re expected to produce 10x more digital assets.

But that was seven years ago. Can you even imagine what that number would be today?

It’s no surprise that organizations invest in digital asset management workflows. It’s the only way to:

  • Improve task management. A DAM workflow helps companies bring order to the typical chaos of remote and on-site workers across numerous departments accessing and managing files. 
  • Streamline online proofing and content review processes. By defining the approval workflow, companies can ensure consistency and move assets through the review process faster. 
  • Automate communication about new assets. DAM systems like CELUM, for example, allow brands to set up automations to ensure that all stakeholders know about new assets, where they’re being stored, and how to retrieve them. 
  • Instilling transparency and consistency across the entire content management and production processes.
  • Eliminating held-ups. Finally, with a DAM workflow, everyone knows what to do and when, and bottlenecks do not happen as often. As a result, content production moves smoothly, and projects get completed faster.

What Does a Typical DAM Workflow Look Like? Digital Asset Management Workflow Example

DAM workflows differ between organizations. Some companies might need to include fewer steps than others. In general, however, a typical digital asset management workflow covers five distinct aspects of content production:

Let’s review those elements in detail.

Step 1. Asset Ideation and Briefing

Every asset starts as someone’s idea. 

You or another team member might suggest creating a particular file – a product image or another visual, a video, a piece of written text…

But often, ideas just get passed without defining fundamental information about what you’re about to create. 

This step of the workflow aims to organize that and add structure to the ideation and briefing processes. 

This workflow would outline steps to define the project fully: 

  • The reasons for creating the asset in the first place
  • Asset specifications
  • Timelines for completion
  • Publication guidelines, or even how the asset will be used in a particular campaign, etc. 

Step 2. Asset Creation

During content creation, the DAM workflow defines how organizations store and retrieve assets and files necessary to complete the project. 

At this stage, the workflow can also define how various assets can be enriched with additional information such as metadata to make them easier to find and reuse. 

Step 3. Review and Approvals

A typical digital asset management workflow also defines who can view, edit, and comment on files. Usually, this happens by defining roles and responsibilities for each phase of the review process and instilling full accountability.

Many CELUM users define multiple review and approval steps that allow them to track each asset’s status.

Many also automate various parts of the process with automatic notifications. This speeds up the process, as everyone involved knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and when to move projects further to completion.

Step 4. Finalization and Distribution

Finalization is all about creating a workflow that governs getting final sign-off and distributing the asset to its target channel (i.e., website, social media channels, etc.)

In many cases, a DAM system you use to manage the workflow will automate several aspects of the process for you. For example, the platform can automatically convert the asset into a relevant file format, route it to a relevant channel, and more. 

Step 5. Archiving

Although it’s the final step of a typical DAM workflow, it’s one of the most important ones. At this step, the finished asset, along with historical versions and revisions, gets stored in a digital asset management system. 

To reduce the potential for errors, the workflow should define:

  • Where various assets should be stored
  • File naming conventions to make most up-to-date versions easier to locate
  • Licensing information, if any
  • Metadata will make the file easier to find, reuse, and more

How to Manage a DAM Workflow Effectively?

Unfortunately, a workflow isn’t something you could define once and forget. 

You also need to continuously implement and manage it, and that’s impossible without using a dedicated digital asset management system. 

Digital asset management systems not only help you manage files. They can also help you instill DAM workflows across the entire organization. 

Take CELUM, for example.

The CELUM Digital Asset Management platform (Disclaimer – CELUM is our tool) enables businesses to upload, store, manage, share, and update digital assets from one single source. 

What’s more, CELUM is equipped to handle high volumes of files and users and integrates seamlessly with the tools you’re using already – Adobe Creative Suite, Sitecore, Sharepoint, and more. 

With CELUM, you can:

  • Store and organize all your marketing and product assets in one place
  • Find any file with powerful search capabilities
  • Automate tagging and add metadata with the help of AI
  • Automatically translate asset information
  • Set up role-based permissions
  • Bulk upload files
  • Set licensing rights and restrictions
  • Dynamically convert files into different formats
  • Automatically distribute files to different touchpoints and more. 

Looking for a platform to help you manage the DAM workflow?

Check out CELUM to easily manage files and instill DAM workflows across the entire organization.

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