A staggering 85% of marketing and creative professionals reported facing increasing pressures to produce content more rapidly, creating numerous challenges with their campaign workflows.
That’s why many industry leaders are turning to technology, such as digital asset management systems, to help manage the digital assets needed to produce campaigns more efficiently and effectively, and ultimately increase brand growth.
In this blog, we’ll explore:
- What is a digital asset?
- Top 5 challenges managing digital assets
- How poor digital asset management hurts company goals
- What is digital asset management software?
- Benefits of digital asset management software and use cases
- Why DAM is important for marketing and creative teams
- How different industries use DAM systems
- The expanding role of DAM systems
- The future of DAM systems
- Embracing DAM systems for a better digital future
What is a digital asset?
A digital asset is any media file type that has been created or stored electronically. Digital assets usually fall into one of the following categories:
Top 5 challenges in digital asset management
Brands can’t keep up with demand when asset management methods are outdated, inefficient, and aren’t working for marketing and creative teams.
Too many marketers and creatives spend their time:
- Looking for content: According to a study by Elastic, an open-source search company, 60% said they waste more time searching for information than on answering email.
- Duplicating completed content: The 2019 Intelligent Information Benchmark report stated 83% of survey respondents had to recreate a document that already existed because they were unable to find it on their corporate network.
- Using the wrong versions of content: 26% of survey respondents of the 2019 Intelligent Information Benchmark report stated they were unsure if they were using the wrong version of a file.
- Using more than one solution for digital marketing assets: 43% of organizations in the 2024 DAM Trends Report use several separate solutions to manage digital assets.
- Keeping up with content demand: The demand for content has doubled in the last 2 years and Adobe projects this to increase 5X to 20X by 2025.
How poor digital asset management hurts company goals
- Time and effort wasted: A study from Asana revealed that 13% of an employee’s day – 6.5 hours per week is wasted on tasks that have already been completed. That’s 236 hours per year.
- High ROI work can’t be done: According to Asana, With almost two-thirds (61%) of our day taken up by tasks like file sharing, searching for a sales team deck, or checking messages only one-quarter (24%) of time is spent on the skilled job employees were hired to do.
- Productivity is negatively impacted: 82% of survey respondents of the 2019 Intelligent Information Benchmark report stated that navigating different systems & locations to verify the most current versions of files negatively affects productivity.
- Assets are not safeguarded: Statista found that more than two-thirds of company assets are not protected, leaving organizations at risk for lawsuits.
- Brand consistency is a struggle: CMI found that 45% of marketers are having a hard time keeping up with demand and maintaining consistent brand guidelines and messaging.
- Unused assets: 51% of study participants in a Digizuite report said they waste time and money creating assets that are never used because people don’t know they exist or can’t find them.
What is digital asset management software?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a versatile software system designed for the effective and secure handling of digital file formats and assets within organizations, small and large.
It offers a centralized location where team members, clients, contractors, and other stakeholders can easily access the entire digital library – from any connected device.
This library is home to a broad range of content such as images, videos, audio files, creative documents, presentations, and more, with controlled access ensuring secure and organized management of these assets.
Your digital asset management software should serve as a single source of truth, which helps companies maintain brand consistency, increase productivity, and maximize their ROI.
Benefits of digital asset management software and use cases
DAM software is not just a home for digital files; they are an environment designed for centralized asset handling. Let’s go through the 8 key features that distinguish what a DAM is and the real-life challenges it solves.
With the need to meet ever-increasing demand, it’s more important now than ever that companies make critical decisions about how they organize, manage, and distribute content to their customers, prospects, and wider audiences to gain the maximum return on their investment.
1.) Organizes and categorizes assets using metadata, tags, and folders, facilitating easy access and efficient management.
How organization and categorization works within DAM:
Without DAM: Marie Rossow, marketing director at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, struggled to manage a high volume of digital assets. Significant hurdles slowed her workflow and the resort marketing campaigns, which impacted whether or not meeting spaces were booked, rooms were sold, and restaurant seats were reserved every night:
“The resort was storing files in multiple systems including Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and Dropbox. Marie recalls, “I’m being tasked with creating this social campaign, and I need to find pictures of the golf course in spring… just trying to find that took over an hour.”
With DAM: Transitioning from multiple disjointed storage systems to a single, comprehensive digital asset management platform significantly improved Marie’s work life. “The simplicity of being able to tag everything, and have everything searchable…We can just pull the assets right away and be able to share them with who we need,” says Marie.
One centralized digital asset management solution. PhotoShelter’s single, centralized DAM solution replaced the multiple platforms Marie was using before. She also was able to create a valuable archive of historical assets dating back to 1949. With upcoming features in local magazines, PhotoShelter made it easy for Marie to retrieve and reuse high-quality images for publication.
Learn more about the DAM for hospitality in the: Garden of the Gods Resort and Club Case Study.
2.) Enhances search and retrieval functionality, including keyword search and filtering.
How search and retrieval functionality work with DAM:
Without DAM: Jennifer White, Senior Manager of Digital Assets for the Philadelphia Eagles’ content and production team, faced significant challenges when she assumed her role in 2014. There was no system to keep digital photos organized and there were thousands of historic, physical photos that needed to be digitized to run effective marketing campaigns.
“There wasn’t an easy way to search for images, content distribution was a slow, manual process, and they were missing fan engagement opportunities. “No matter how many times we trained people [on the old system]…it was very cumbersome. It just wasn’t user-friendly. It wasn’t like anybody could jump in and find assets easily” says Jennifer.
With DAM: By leveraging PhotoShelter’s AI functionality, alongside Socialie’s content distribution automation capabilities, the Eagles were able to modernize their workflow and get content into their players’ hands in seconds, taking fan engagement to the next level. Now, anybody on the team can find what they need fast.
Learn more about DAM for sports in the: Philadelphia Eagles Case Study.
3.) Supports collaboration by enabling users to access and work on digital assets simultaneously. This is especially important in scenarios where teams need to collaborate on creative projects.
How DAM supports creative collaboration:
Without DAM: Sydnye White, VP of Content and Storytelling for the Special Olympics was using a combination of fragmented systems to manage its digital assets. She and her team faced a few major obstacles in their day-to-day workflow, which impacted their ability to get out content in real time.
“Too many tools made searches time-consuming, there was no easy way to share assets with stakeholders, and workflow hang-ups hurt campaign efforts. “News is now… It is certainly not news 24 hours later. It’s important that we have editors in different time zones that can keep feeding the media assets that are captioned, tagged, and organized. They don’t have to go search somewhere else. They know there’s a one-stop shop for Special Olympics all the time, no matter where in the world they are” says Sydnye.
With DAM: Shawn and Sydnye were able to support a worldwide workflow. The organization’s distributed network of employees and volunteers can easily collaborate with 24/7 access to a centralized DAM platform. They were able to facilitate media coverage and brand exposure. Their communications team could create the best content possible for marketing materials and fundraising campaigns to drive donations and inspire volunteers.
Learn more about DAM for sports in the: Special Olympic Case Study.
4.) Tracks version control changes made to digital assets over time. This helps prevent the use of outdated or incorrect versions.
How tracking version controls work with DAM:
Without DAM: Cynthia Klusmeyer, Creative Services Manager, and Caitlin Hernandez, Project Coordinator at Baptist Health stored all its photos on an internal server, which created several issues. These included inadequate control, lack of searchability, and diminished brand integrity.
“We have a tremendous amount of assets, and they’re always being shuffled between so many different hands. With the old server, people would just start digging, and then they would either get frustrated and couldn’t find what they needed, or they would start using old assets. PhotoShelter has made it easier to keep what we want to be used at the forefront. The search feature is life-changing,” says Caitlin.
With DAM: PhotoShelter simplified creative project management and asset organization at Baptist Health. With tailor-made software, the creative team can configure access however they want while improving creative workflows across the organization. “PhotoShelter gets what we need into people’s hands quicker — and in an easier way. It’s very intuitive and straightforward,” says Caitlin.
Learn more about DAM for healthcare in the: Baptist Health Case Study.
5.) Manages usage rights, permissions, and licensing information. This is crucial for ensuring compliance with copyright laws and protecting intellectual property.
How managing digital rights usage works with DAM:
Without DAM: Sam Craft, Assistant Director of Visuals and Multimedia, needed to widely display its digital assets while also maintaining control over who downloads their content. Before PhotoShelter, Texas A&M AgriLife was using a consumer solution, Flickr. This meant that Sam couldn’t customize permissions or require logins to access Texas A&M AgriLife’s image libraries.
Texas A&M AgriLife was using a combination of makeshift internal systems and Flickr to store photos, which resulted in a lack of security and control.
“We had an internal system that ran on a free server. It was out of date. Servers fail, and when you don’t pay attention to it, retention is gone and assets are lost,” says Sam.
With DAM: PhotoShelter’s secure network to store their assets and control who has access to content. Sam can configure permissions and have peace of mind knowing that the organization’s photos are secure.
Learn more about DAM for higher education in the: Texas A&M AgriLife Case Study.
6.) Automates workflow capabilities, streamlining processes such as approvals, reviews, and publishing. This can improve efficiency and reduce manual work.
How automating workflows works with a DAM:
Without DAM: Mads Pihl, Head of Photography and Market Development for Visit Greenland wanted to reshape Greenland’s global reputation and attract more visitors. But a combination of a broken content management system, dated content, and too many content requests to handle was making it a challenge. Using Flickr and Dropbox was not making the job easier for anyone.
After investing considerable time and money into Flickr and Dropbox, Mads was still getting multiple requests for content and would still often have to package photos into zip files and send them to partners. “I wasted so much time adding [content] to Flickr,” says Mads.
With DAM: Mads moved his image database over to PhotoShelter for Brands, and the new platform has significantly consolidated his workflow.
“[PhotoShelter] is formidable compared to Flickr, you can’t even compare,” says Mads. “It feels like it’s made for someone like us.” Using a centralized asset management system, they were able to streamline assets for stakeholders to build a clear and concise brand story.
Learn more about DAM for hospitality in the: Visit Greenland Case Study.
7.) Integrates with other martech tools, such as content management systems (CMS), marketing automation platforms, and creative software, to enhance overall workflow and productivity.
How integrating with other tools works with DAM:
Without DAM: Kimberley Fowke, Director of Communications of the Army Rugby Union was trying to build the brand on a tight budget. The team’s process for working with photographers was time-consuming. Photographers would give ARU physical discs with photos stored on them, so if she wanted a particular image, she’d have to manually flip through folders of discs to find the right one. Getting images from photographers onto the website or social media was no easy task, which meant establishing a high-quality brand online was all but impossible. Then they met Geraint Ashton Jones.
Alligin UK Director (and former member of the Royal Navy) Geraint Ashton Jones created a workflow that would get images from the rugby pitch to ARU Director of Communications Kimberley Fowke as quickly as possible. During matches, FTP connections help photographers upload images straight from their cameras into the proper PhotoShelter gallery in seconds.
“The biggest selling point of PhotoShelter is that it is genuinely intuitive. It’s easy to use, and it’s truly collaborative,” says Jones, Director of Alligin UK
With DAM: Kimberley also makes heavy use of PhotoShelter’s Canva integration, which allows her to access ARU’s photos in Canva and quickly create social-media-ready designs with templates she has previously created. For an organization that’s operating with a tiny staff and limited resources, ARU is still able to put out professional-looking branded content with the help of PhotoShelter and its integrations. “What we’ve worked on over the last few years using PhotoShelter is our ability to put out content in real time. It’s enabled us to up our game in our social media,” says Kimberley.
Learn more about the Army Rugby Union Case Study.
8.) Security features are essential for protecting sensitive digital assets. DAM systems often include access controls, encryption, single sign-on (SSO), and other security measures to safeguard against unauthorized access or data breaches.
How security features work with DAM:
Without DAM: Chris Rakoczy, a staff photographer for Hartford Healthcare joined in 2015 as a contract photographer and transitioned to a full-time role. As the organization’s new Digital Asset Librarian, it was Chris’s responsibility to uncover what wasn’t working and how to fix it. He found a lack of organization and no easy way to collaborate and provide access to 37,000 people on the Hartford team. They were buried in requests and every asset took a long time to find and share.
“If we’re out at an event, and people have to wait for us to get back to our desks, find the thing they want, and send it, it could be too late for their needs,” says Chris.
With DAM: PhotoShelter Workspaces helped Hartford HealthCare’s employees manage and collaborate on creative projects. HHC also uses PhotoShelter’s single sign-on (SSO) feature to streamline access and ensure security without having to send individual user invites. With the added benefit of unlimited invited users, any of HHC’s 37,000 colleagues can access its vast asset library.
Cloud-based access anywhere = work gets done. With PhotoShelter’s secure, reliable, owned network, Chris and his team can quickly log on from anywhere. That means HHC’s staff photographers can easily upload images to PhotoShelter and designers can quickly access the files they need to complete their work.
“Through PhotoShelter, we’ve been able to empower everybody in the organization to get what they need when they need it — and also discover things they didn’t know they needed. They can pull something down within a couple of minutes, versus probably hours or days,” says Chris.
Learn more about DAM for healthcare in the Hartford Healthcare Case Study.
Why digital asset management software is important for creative and marketing teams
Before DAM, your creative and marketing teams may struggle with disorganized digital assets, which can create inefficiencies and creative bottlenecks. DAM has changed the landscape.
With DAM, your creatives and marketers can swiftly access, share, and collaborate on digital assets. It fosters an environment where user experience is elevated and your teams succeed.
Here are the top 4 ways DAM is improving the way your marketing and creative teams work.
1.) Consistent branding
Maintaining a consistent on-brand image ensures uniform use of logos, images, and other assets across various channels – protecting brand integrity.
The most common challenge happens when multiple creators produce content, leading to inconsistent brand asset styles.
Digital asset management tools like custom design templates let design teams create standardized templates for every content type. That means your team can produce content that aligns with the brand’s look in seconds, ensuring all materials reflect the brand’s identity consistently.
Brand management in DAM: Special Olympics International’s adoption of PhotoShelter revolutionized its approach to consistent branding. Previously challenged by a fragmented system with assets scattered across various platforms, Special Olympics faced difficulties in maintaining a unified brand image. This inconsistency was a significant obstacle, given their extensive archive spanning over 50 years, used in diverse campaigns and communications.
The introduction of PhotoShelter’s DAM enabled Special Olympics to centralize and consolidate its digital assets. This singular platform allowed for efficient uploading, storing, searching, and sharing of all assets, ensuring consistent branding across all materials. The ability to collaborate seamlessly across different regions and time zones, with easy access to standardized and updated assets, proved pivotal in reinforcing their brand identity globally.
This strategic move not only enhanced their branding efforts but also facilitated better media coverage, volunteer engagement, and fundraising. By simplifying and unifying their digital asset management, Special Olympics ensured that every piece of content, regardless of its origin, aligned perfectly with their brand’s look and ethos, significantly contributing to their worldwide recognition and impact.
2.) Cost and Time Savings
When content is everywhere, your creative and marketing teams can’t easily find anything. By streamlining the process of finding and using files, your teams can focus more of their time on producing creative assets and less time on searching.
Cost and Time Savings with a digital asset management system: Initially burdened with an unorganized archive of historical photos on Google Drive, Jackson State University (JSU) struggled with efficiently promoting the university and responding to media requests.
With PhotoShelter’s DAM, JSU transformed its cumbersome archive into an updated, searchable database. Metadata tagging and advanced search features enabled rapid location and sharing of images, significantly reducing time spent on asset management.
This efficiency proved vital in enhancing JSU’s marketing and branding efforts, especially important in an era of decreasing college enrollment.
The ability to quickly share high-quality, relevant content with internal and external stakeholders bolstered JSU’s visibility and appeal.
PhotoShelter’s impact was clear: faster, more effective communication that resonated with potential students and partners, highlighting the value of a well-organized digital asset system in higher education marketing.
This integration helped every team member spend less time on manual tasks and more on creating impactful content. This led to better decision-making and a more effective content distribution strategy. DAM’s automation and integration capabilities transformed their workflow.
3.) Streamlined Marketing and Publishing Workflow Processes
In the fast-paced world of marketing and publishing, DAM software is pivotal in streamlining crucial processes like approvals, reviews, and publishing. This efficiency greatly reduces time-to-market for campaigns and content.
Streamlined Marketing and Publishing Processes with DAM solutions: The Philadelphia Eagles’ adoption of PhotoShelter and Socialie marked a game-changing shift in their digital asset management strategy.
This digital transformation enabled the team to eliminate bottlenecks, save time, reduce costs, and ensure their content reached fans swiftly and effectively.
In the dynamic world of sports, where timing and engagement are crucial, the Eagles’ approach set a new standard in digital content management and fan interaction.
4.) Scalability and Future-Proofing
As organizations grow and digital assets multiply, the scalability and future-proofing offered by digital asset management software become essential. They adeptly handle increasing volumes of content, ensuring that businesses can manage their digital assets as they expand.
Scalability and Future-Proofing with DAM solutions: As a large institution with a growing need for efficient content distribution, Brigham Young University’s (BYU) transition to PhotoShelter addressed its pressing challenges in handling a vast array of visual assets.
The introduction of single sign-on (SSO) and a searchable photo library with advanced AI features enabled BYU to accommodate the increasing demand for instant, easy access to a large volume of images.
This scalability was essential for the university’s expanding community, comprising thousands of students, faculty, and staff. The system’s capacity to modernize processes and efficiently manage an ever-growing digital library showcased its potential for future expansion and adaptation to evolving needs.
Moreover, real-time wireless FTP connections for event photography marked a significant advancement in BYU’s ability to capture and distribute content swiftly.
This feature not only catered to the university’s immediate needs but also positioned it well for future developments in digital asset management.
The agility and flexibility of a DAM solution ensured that BYU could continue to effectively manage its visual assets and their lifecycle, even as the volume and complexity of these assets grew over time.
How different industries use digital asset management systems
Media and Entertainment
These industries use DAM for storing, cataloging, and retrieving large volumes of digital files such as films, music, and digital artwork. It simplifies the process of content distribution, digital rights management, and archiving.
Educational institutions use DAM to organize and share educational resources, research materials, and administrative documents. It facilitates easy access to learning content for both educators and students, enhancing the educational experience.
DAM in healthcare is used to manage patient information, medical imagery, and educational materials. It ensures secure storage and sharing of sensitive data, adhering to privacy regulations like HIPAA.
Government and Non-Profit Organizations
These sectors use DAM to manage public records, documents, and multimedia content for internal use and public dissemination. DAM helps in maintaining transparency, ensuring compliance, and facilitating public access to information.
Tourism and Hospitality
These industries use DAM to manage promotional materials such as travel guides, brochures, and marketing videos. It helps in creating attractive and consistent marketing campaigns to promote destinations and services.
Sports organizations use DAM to manage team photos, game footage, and merchandising materials. It’s crucial for real-time fan engagement, media distribution, and brand promotion.
The expanding role of digital asset management systems
The world of digital content is expanding, and DAM software stands out as a key organizational tool. Initially developed for basic digital media management, DAM has evolved into advanced platforms featuring AI, cloud computing, and enhanced search functionality.
Today, DAM is more than just a storage solution; it’s essential for strategic digital asset management. It not only secures valuable content but also optimizes its use, boosting brand consistency and creative effectiveness. DAM has become a cornerstone for businesses of all sizes and industries in the digital era, driving both creative and operational efficiency.
The future of digital asset management systems
The future of Digital Asset Management is shaped by several emerging trends and technological advancements.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning are set to further automate and refine DAM systems, enhancing capabilities like asset tagging and intelligent search.
- Cloud-based DAM solutions offer greater scalability, accessibility, and collaboration opportunities.
- Enhanced integration with other business systems and tools for a more unified workflow.
- Advanced analytics for deeper insights into asset performance and usage.
- Personalization and customer experience based on data-driven insights.
These all point to a future where DAM becomes even more integral to your digital strategy, driving innovation and efficiency in content management.
Embracing digital asset management systems for a better digital future
From enhancing workflow efficiencies to ensuring brand consistency and legal compliance, DAM systems offer a comprehensive solution to the challenges of digital content management. As we embrace the digital future, DAM stands as a crucial element in driving innovation, efficiency, and engagement in the ever-evolving digital landscape.