October 13, 2010

Preparing for a Digital Asset System Implementation – Part3: Organization and Grouping

We have come to the final blog post in our Preparing for a Digital Asset Implementation series. The first two blog posts in these series had an incredible amount of information on how to organize your assets and why it is important to put constraints on them as well.

In case you haven’t caught on, clearly, Digital Asset Management (DAM) software is very much about organization. For those of you that eat your Skittles organized by color, this blog is for you (I eat all the greens first).  We are going to start grouping your digital assets in a way that makes them easy to find and use for ANY marketing campaign.

1. Packages and Folders: These organize your assets in two different ways.

a. Packages:  Packages organize different assets that will be used for the same purpose. For example all assets used for the Comic Con Show would be organized under a single package. The package may hold the tradeshow invitations, the sales and booth give away collateral, the micro-site and the follow up email. No need to hunt through the entire digital asset library, just go to the Comic Con Show 2010 Package. Think about how easy it will be to find and review those assets for possible reuse in 2011.

b. Folders:  Folders create a hierarchy in storing the assets. An asset can usually be kept in multiple folders if needed. Additionally, folders can have user restrictions on them that will allow only specified users to access the assets in that folder. As an example of how a Folder hierarchy may look:

  1. 1. North America
    a. Brand A
    i. West Coast
    ii. East Coast
    b. Brand B
    i. West Coast
    ii. East Coast
  2. 2. South America
    a. South
    b. North
    c. East
    d. West
  3. 3. Asia
    a. Japan
    b. China
    c. Others

As you can see the folders do not have all the same hierarchy layout. The folder layout meets the needs of each area. Additionally, under North America, the Brand A user access does not allow the Brand B team to download their assets. When the Brand A team needs to see what logos are available in the west coast they will look under their west coast folder and look for Asset Types equal to logos (see the Use Parameters blog on group access rights).

And to answer the most common follow up question: Yes, assets can be in BOTH Packages and Folders at the same time without causing any access issues!!

2.Versions and Renditions

a. Versions: We have all been through creating a new asset for our company. We start with version 1 and somehow make it all the way to version 10 (sometimes). Luckily, for historical purposes, you can house all of the draft versions, with the final version, in your digital asset software. Experience says that you should keep all the historical notes, comments and how you and your team came to the final version of the asset. You may end up deciding that version 8 was the “one” after all.

b. Renditions: How many renditions does your asset come in? For example, the asset may have several different final renditions such as: JPG, TIFF & PNG.  Also, the final version may come in several language renditions. Rather than housing each rendition as its own digital asset, keep them all together under one main digital asset. This way the software users can easily choose what rendition they need.

While the naming and use of parameters with your assets may feel more intuitive, to me the success of a digital asset implementation, and where it gets it’s horsepower, is in the folders, packages, versions and renditions.  It will require you to really take a close look at the assets and figure out how they a work together. As a company, you need to answer questions like:

  • “Should the Brand B team really have access to this?”
  • “Which assets will make an awesome impact at our tradeshow?”
  • “How many languages do we have this asset in?”

These are the types of questions that cause a company to take hold of their assets – of their BRAND – and really do something great with it.

Truth be told, it has been a pleasure to shed light on an area of Enterprise Marketing Management that does not get the focus it deserves. For a future blog I am considering how digital assets and marketing resource management can work hand in hand in the creative process of your digital assets.  I welcome your thoughts and conversations on future blog topics for DAM management!