By Erica Gunn, CMO, Canto
The pace and scale of every brand’s digital landscape is developing faster than ever. So whether you’re an in-house pro or a trusted agency partner, how can you ensure your collaborative team can work at its best, with a raft of brand imagery and other digital assets that are always fit for purpose?
Both consumer-led brands and those in B2B and public sectors need their brand estate to reflect their strategy. Change is the only constant in the world today and stakeholders connect with brands visually. Brand consistency is key, yet achieving this across multiple channels, stakeholder groups, and geographies can be a sizeable task – even for the most seasoned in-house brand manager.
Your brand is on show 24/7; your assets are in multiple public and private locations and managed by local teams. How can you avoid your logo being changed and old images being inadvertently used, while seamlessly providing access to digital content to everyone regardless of whether they are an internal team member or an external party? You may be aware of how you lose hours updating your global folders, platforms and communicating to teams – for example, if you have over 100 instances of a hero image to be updated across websites, digital reports, sales decks, brand and media kits and social.
Significant investment has gone into your brand; creating hierarchies and structures to identify and deploy assets across your ecosystem easily. But how are you monitoring their use – do you know whether your team in Asia is using the right assets? Are assets being used effectively or just sitting and taking up storage space? Knowing how assets resonate and how quickly you can respond with content reflective of broader market trends is essential.
Remember that your brand estate is not just based on imagery; it also includes videos, fonts, slide decks, graphics, templates and colour palettes. Consistency is key, especially when you roll out a brand refresh or campaign scheme. As an agency, you wouldn’t want to use the wrong assets, nor in-house would you want your executives or sales team to present an old deck with incorrect logos, colour schemes or other outdated content.
A New Way of Working
There have been plenty of options for brand teams to store and share assets, from shared servers to OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. This has led to complexity and a lack of efficiency for many brands. If colleagues or partners have difficulty searching, formatting, downloading or uploading files, they will simply abandon any centralised content folder and protocol in order to get their task done. Brand and marketing managers often spend more time on admin, answering requests and policing the system, than carrying out the task they were appointed to do.
Digital asset management (DAM) platforms like Canto offer the opportunity to organise, find and distribute all brand assets from a single source with a whole host of features that supercharge productivity. Consolidating all of these assets into a single platform makes it easier to support distributed brand and marketing teams across your company globally, as well as provide secure and immediate access to agencies and other external partners. For example, ensuring that your team in the Middle East has the latest templates to use for an exhibition or advertising campaign.
DAM platforms provide the following big benefits:
- Fewer lost assets
- Streamlined collaboration (saving time and money!)
- Better brand consistency
- Enhanced access control and security
- Content insights and usage data
- Improved business processes and connecting with tools already used (e.g. integrations Adobe design programmes, Microsoft Office and more)
- Ensuring digital rights management is controlled avoiding legal risk
- Delivering better file sharing options for all stakeholders and audiences
- It becomes the organisational hub for your digital content supply chain
Implementing a DAM platform will help stop colleagues from using images and other assets out of context. We’ve all seen presentations or web pages where the wrong image is used, worse still out of proportion or worse still, an image archived several years ago reappearing in a paid media spot. It happens and usually when it’s a free-for-all, while a brand manager is tearing their hair out while senior management line up to complain.
Large brands across all industries have turned to DAM as you would expect. For example, in fashion, the likes of Ralph Lauren, Giant Bicycles and Gymshark, all manage and protect their brand via DAM and enable their teams to work productively and consistently. They’re automatically adding metadata to their assets with AI powered image smart tags, facial recognition to find and filter in an instant, meanwhile insights and usage data help their planning, sales and growth.
Updating and Sharing Imagery and Content Globally, Instantly
There’s now even more opportunity to improve workflows. Those in marketing and advertising know there’s no end to the number of destinations for digital content but the work involved in asset creation, uploading to CMS systems and ensuring assets display in the right format across every platform is time-consuming. Synchronising and joining up the digital content supply chain can hugely simplify and accelerate getting assets into every place they are needed.
With DAM functionality like content delivery networks (CDN) , brands can automatically update imagery in real-time, publishing directly to all their web and ecommerce properties on a global scale. For example, adding a new or updated product or campaign image and knowing this will be immediately resized and presented in all applicable online locations. This reduces workload and as images can be hosted locally to users it achieves faster page load times – a key metric for user experience. Duplication, cost and carbon footprint of file storage is reduced.
It’s an old cliché but agility and pace remain essential. Removing friction between creatives, marketers, brand owners and sales is vital and helps with a more fluid and personalised web experience at scale.
With digital savvy consumers and business decision-makers having high expectations from brands and expecting a much richer, seamless and consistent experience in terms of content, the combination of a DAM and cloud-based delivery is a win-win for all.
To learn more about how digital asset management is transforming the ways brands and agencies work with digital content, download this Essential Guide to Brand Management.