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What is digital asset management (DAM)? A guide to understanding the essentials

BY BOOM Editorial

Produce, manage, edit, analyze and distribute your brand assets, all in one place.

What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Digital asset management (DAM) helps you to get more value from visual digital assets like images and videos by making them easy to organize, access, edit and distribute. DAM softwares (also called DAM platforms or systems) provide a secure, centralized location to store and organize all digital content, which helps ensure that your team can easily find, share, and manage your digital assets in real-time. Quick and simple to deploy, a centralized DAM system provides employees, clients and contractors with controlled access to your brand’s digital content library — including everything from imagery, photos, creative files, video, audio, presentations, documents, and more.

DAM platforms, therefore, allow you to protect your brand identity by keeping branded materials up to date and consistent across all channels and platforms, rather than spending hours manually updating these assets everywhere they are used. Most importantly, digital asset management can save your business valuable time and money by cutting time spent on low-value organizational tasks, creating a happier, more efficient team. 

What is visual asset management (VAM)?

Digital asset management platforms like BOOM that are tailored towards managing visual assets (creative files, photography, brand and marketing assets, video, etc.) are sometimes called visual asset management platforms, or VAMs. They offer everything that a typical DAM might, however their features are specifically designed to make visual asset management, editing and distribution seamless.

This is not to be confused with video asset management (one specific use-case of DAMs) which may also be known as VAM. Find out more about managing video assets here.

What is a digital asset?

A digital asset is a piece of content that can be created and stored digitally. This means it can be managed, edited, published and shared digitally with people both inside and outside of your organization — making it the ideal format for cross-team and agency sharing.

What are examples of digital assets?

There are so many types of digital assets your business might use including: images, photos, product photography, creative files, brand assets, video, audio, presentations, stock imagery and other media that contain the rights to use them are considered assets.

How does DAM software work?

DAM software uses AI to assign metadata tags to your thousands of assets, based on what it “sees” when you import assets. For instance, AI tagging could help a fashion brand to differentiate between model photography and flat-lay shots. A DAM platform can also read and store any pre-existing metadata linked to the assets, and users can edit, delete or create their own tags based on their particular use-case to make organization even more detailed. The result? Simple, streamlined asset organization and retrieval within seconds.

What are the benefits of digital asset management software?

Centralized asset management

  • Organize, manage and deliver easily all your company's visual assets, all in one place. By having all digital assets stored in one centralized  location,  internal teams, partner agencies and client stakeholders can find what they need quickly, giving them time to  and focus on more important tasks. DAMs can help you to organize thousands of digital photos simply which is essential for brands who produce a lot of glossy, visual imagery, such as eComerce and fashion labels or food brands. 

 Intelligent AI tagging

  • DAM systems use AI to automatically tag and enrich every visual with metadata, allowing your team to find the visuals they need quickly and easily!

Simple file access & collaboration

  • Most DAM solutions (including BOOM) are cloud-based, meaning stakeholders can easily access digital assets from any online device. Access rights and capabilities can be tailored for different users, ensuring that only the right people have access to the right files. Some DAMs will make this simple by allowing you to create a unique URL for sharing images.  A good DAM system will also make team collaboration easier through integrating messaging, sharing and approvals, right within the platform.  

Secure file storage

  • Using a DAM platform also reduces the risk of losing important or confidential files by ensuring secure storage in one central location. This prevents files from getting accidentally lost or erased, which can be the case when stored on personal machines or external hard drives.

In-platform asset editing

  • Like BOOM, some DAMs with a focus on visual asset management will have in-platform editing capabilities allowing you to customize visual assets on the fly and adapt them for every purpose and digital channel. This also includes intelligent image resizing which automatically formats your assets for different social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Linkedin and more!

Unified brand image management

  • With digital asset management, you reduce the risk of outdated files being used. Important assets are easily updated upon upload and users have the peace of mind that they’re always using the most up-to-date content. Find out more about brand asset management here.

Seamless integration with your wider tech stack

  • Easy integration allows you to make the most out of a DAM platform by seamlessly connecting it to other systems within your tech stack. Some DAMs like Boom will have an open API that helps to easily connect to your digital platforms: from websites and content management systems (CMS) to apps, eCommerce platforms and email management systems. This also makes for seamless channel sharing, allowing you to upload from your DAM directly into your brand’s social media feeds.

Effortless content migration

  • No need to worry about transferring your existing files over to your new DAM system. Many digital asset management platforms will make it easy for you to automatically transfer all your visual assets from Google Drive or your current provider. Find out more about the best Google Drive alternatives here.

Saves time and money

  • Keeping your content secure and up-to-date means that your business won’t waste money repurchasing licensed files, or risk using imagery that has timed-out. DAM platforms help you to manage all file metadata (like license details) so assets are always used correctly, reducing the risks and costs of potentially violating usage rights.

  • DAM  software ultimately helps to improve workload efficiency, saving your team valuable time which can be put towards high-value activities like developing media campaigns that drive commercial results for your company.

Who needs a digital asset management system?

DAM systems aren’t just for designers. In fact, a wide range of employees across teams within your organisation will benefit from using a DAM platform, from creatives such as brand managers, marketers, social media executives, designers and photographers, all the way up to C-Suite directors looking to create a more efficient, profitable business. In particular: 

Brand teams can increase consistency across branded content and channels. Develop assets using dynamic templates that will automatically resize for your desired channel, and easily amend your materials for different regional markets.

Sales and marketing teams have access to the resources they need with a DAM platform. By aligning sales with marketing to increase brand consistency, digital asset management allows your sales teams to always have the important, up-to-date materials they need to drive results.

Creatives and designers can use a DAM platform to bring order to beautiful chaos and optimize their workflows. Instead of spending vast amounts of time searching for imagery or redesigning assets, creative teams can save time and focus on the task at hand.

IT teams can feel safe and secure with cloud-based DAM systems, eliminating the need to manage onsite FTP servers, third-party file sharing solutions, or worry about file security when sharing documents with external stakeholders.

Client partners and external stakeholders  achieve success by having 24-hr access to the latest on-brand materials, with customisable access capabilities for organisations and individuals. Not to mention DAM platforms promote greater collaboration with stakeholders outside your organisation, creating seamless workflows.

Agencies can utilize DAM to provide a professional experience clients love. A branded web portal keeps creative files organized while matching your brand, ensuring a consistent look and feel when clients and users access it. Enable faster turnarounds to keep clients coming back for more.

How do I select the best digital asset management software?

When selecting the right digital asset management software for your business, you’ll first need to understand the different challenges your company faces when it comes to asset management. From here, you’ll be able to choose the DAM platform that solves these problems best.

1. Identify the business need for DAM software. You can do this by simply creating a list of these important features to check off when you’re speaking with DAM providers

2. Decide if cloud-based digital asset management or an installed on-premise solution is right for your company

3. Consider important factors like security, cloud architecture, integrations, implementation process, professional services, customer experience and user adoption. Importantly, what will you be using your DAM for? And how will you see the best ROI?

4. Then create a simple comparison table or chart with companies that meet your criteria.

5. The best way to decide which DAM platform is right for your business is to see it in action! You can book a demo of our BOOM DAM  platform with one of your experts today.

How to introduce DAM to your business

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a central hub around which brand and marketing teams, agencies and partners can operate and collaborate effectively.

Despite all the benefits, getting DAM sign-off can sometimes be challenging, especially when budgeting decisions are made by individuals who won’t use DAM software in their day-to-day work. The simple solution is to build a strong business case pulling together the key problems, solutions and ROI benefits of DAM.
Discover our six-step guide to building a compelling DAM business case.

Start managing your digital assets with BOOM

Interested in moving over to a DAM platform? The process is simple with BOOM. Start managing your brand strategy with the BOOM DAM platform today.

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