Here’s a scenario most ad teams will (unfortunately) be able to relate to: Dana, your best sales rep, contacts Jasmeen, a graphic designer she knows in Marketing, to see where the most recent version of the new client video is located. Jasmeen helpfully looks through the files in her local network drive – but can’t find the video file Dana needs.

As some of that work gets done by the creative agency when the in-house video production team is overloaded, she suspects the video may be with that team, so Jasmeen tells Dana she can reach out to their agency project manager. However, that request will likely take a couple of days. It also won’t be cheap to have the agency search for it.

Eventually, the agency comes up with a version created two years ago: Jasmeen downloads the file, but is pretty sure she’s seen a more recent version than this. A day later, Jasmeen realises that the more recent version of the video could be with the branding team. She emails them, and receives access to the current version – but by the time Dana gets access to the precise item she needs, it’s been nearly two weeks – and in the meantime, she had to improvise with a YouTube video to show the customer. Then Jasmeen realises she had the most recent video on her team drive all along, but that it had been improperly named and didn’t come up in any search.

Innocent, but costly mistakes

What is the cost to the firm from all this wasted effort and/or the blowback from the negative brand impression as a result? Difficult to quantify, but undeniably there – and this clearly isn’t how work should operate in 2018 in a modern creative function. And the implications are far-reaching – Marketing, the photo studio, the creative production department are all adversely affected. What’s more, there are severe ramifications if incorrect versions of rich content assets (images, videos, audio files) are delivered downstream to web properties, in-store displays, packaging, social, sales teams, etc.

These are all functions that lie at the heart of the business, so there is a direct impact on the bottom line. If your organisation’s website or sales people are working with outdated brochures or missing some crucial sales content, or nearly all of your materials featured the wrong logo, you can appreciate how this can hamper sales and adversely affect the customer experience.

Consider also the relationship with agencies and suppliers, who are either waiting on assets or being called upon to deliver them when the company cannot find them, causing delay and costs all round. And if a brand is not managing assets properly it may make other innocent, but still costly, mistakes. For instance, a web designer in your firm who uses last year’s logo by accident, or someone who likes your lifestyle shot and found it on Google images, it can all cause brand damage.

The inability to easily find, share and reuse an organisation’s images and videos may mean many thousands in wasted creative spending. This is why Digital Asset Management (DAM), which allows assets to be easily accessed via metadata is a very worthwhile investment.

An investment well worth making

Likewise, if a brand isn’t managing image rights properly and accidentally violates a model’s release terms or an artist’s copyright, that could result in potentially a multimillion-pound legal case, as has recently occurred in a case where brands and graffiti artists clashed over the issue. In the most severe but increasingly common cases, product images are reused by counterfeiters and grey market merchants to sell fake or expired goods to your customers, which a Digital Asset Management solution can prevent.

Buying new technology is a big commitment. But CMOs shouldn’t delay as an investment in DAM will address a host of operational issues as well as the significantly reduce costs associated with not being able to find crucial business assets – not to mention preventing the brand damage and legal fees companies risk when rights management is poorly executed.

Look for a modern DAM solution that adapts to the way your organisation works: one that provides visibility over every digital asset created by either internal teams, external agencies or beyond, but without changing the way you store and use your assets. It would also be highly useful to choose one one that integrates seamlessly with your legacy ECM systems, as well as creative tools your team already uses so you can access digital media throughout your organisation without change of location, as that enhances workflow and easier adoption, while gaining search, tagging, and collaboration capabilities for more effective collaboration and rights management.

Sometimes in Marketing, technology can be a tricky area to build a solid business case for. In the case of DAM, however, the financial costs of not labelling things, increasing asset creation costs and putting the brand and business at risk, makes that business case plain. Don’t let your Dana and Jasmeen waste any more of their time – or more importantly, your customers’.

Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin


VP of product marketing at Nuxeo, a leader in Content Services.