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Prepare to Implement Digital Asset Management (DAM): 5 Key Steps

5 Best Practices for Digital Asset Management (DAM)

In today’s digital world, where consumers expect robust, meaningful experiences on every platform, digital asset management (DAM) has become an increasingly essential capability. Companies of every size are evolving their digital ecosystems to better serve customers and market to their target audiences. This evolution requires producing more content, distributing it on more channels, and moving more quickly than ever before. For all three objectives, choosing the right partner and software for DAM can make all the difference.

Digital asset management allows a company to view and control all of its brand assets from a central content hub. While DAM software has been around for a couple of decades, it has mostly been used by big corporations with deep pockets. Now, that’s changing, as businesses of all sizes work towards digital maturity by increasing their operational efficiency and agility.

We live in a world that is complex and connected, multi-channel and global, and only becoming more so over time. Simply organizing all the videos, photos, logos, custom graphics, naming conventions, and other aspects of brand data required to deliver great customer experiences in such a world is a hugely challenging task. But a DAM system is about much more than an organization. A well-designed DAM provides an overview of assets, yes, but it can also automate workflows, send alerts, distribute content to different channels, inform new asset production plans and much more.

At Nansen, it’s our mission to help businesses meet the demands of today’s digital customers. DAM makes delivering impactful, seamless customer experiences much easier by streamlining the management of impactful assets across the entire digital marketing ecosystem.


To set up a system to both simplify and amplify your team’s marketing efforts, follow these five best practices for DAM.

  1. Complete a strategic audit of your assets
  2. Find the right DAM partner
  3. Define your taxonomy and metadata structure
  4. Set up integrations and automated workflows
  5. Establish roles and permissions

Read on to prepare for a seamless and successful DAM implementation.


[1] Complete a strategic audit of your assets

Auditing your marketing assets is an essential first step in preparing for DAM implementation, for two main reasons. First, your asset audit will help you define your DAM objectives. By reviewing what you have and how it’s organized, you’ll get a better understanding of what challenges you need the DAM to solve—and how you might use DAM to streamline your business processes. 

Second, auditing your marketing assets and setting your objectives will help guide you in choosing a DAM partner that fits your company’s unique needs and preferences. Depending on the volume and diversity of your assets, and the goals you have for your DAM, certain vendors will fit into your plans better than others.


[2] Find the right DAM partner

Preparing to implement a DAM system is like building a house. In order to build something that’s effective and sustainable, you need a strong foundation. It all starts with finding the right DAM partner, a process that should not be rushed.

For many companies, partner agencies like Nansen can help advise them on their options when it comes to DAM software vendors. So in collaboration with our friends at Digizuite, we’ve put together some of that advice here. 

One of the most important considerations for any company, regardless of size and goals, is finding a DAM partner that offers a balance of technical expertise and business intelligence. Spend time with potential partners to make sure that you “speak the same language,” in terms of long-term goals. Make sure that your DAM vendor understands and can work with you on your company’s end-to-end digital maturity journey.

Beyond that top-level consideration, when meeting with possible DAM partners, the results of your audit should provide additional parameters that vendors must meet. Talk to them about (1) your asset types and data architecture, (2) any specific technology your company uses that DAM will integrate with, (3) their specific capabilities and software features, and (4) their pricing model. If you find alignment on these four points and feel confident that your relationship with the vendor will sustain your company into the future, you’ve found the right DAM partner.


[3] Define your taxonomy and metadata structure

In preparing for the actual DAM implementation, a few essential tasks must be completed, generally by a small and diverse “stakeholder group” within the company. This team will likely include representatives from IT, sales, marketing, and product, the departments that will engage most directly and regularly with the DAM system. 

First, the stakeholder group must discuss and decide on the type and complexity of the metadata to be assigned to all brand assets within the DAM. Naturally, there are a plethora of data fields that can be completed for any single asset, and countless combinations that the team could decide on. Our advice when it comes to metadata: less is more. Determine what matters most and try to keep things simple, for the sake of efficiency.

With the metadata fields set, the next step for the stakeholder team is to define a taxonomy for the DAM. This means establishing conventions for naming, dates, and more, so that the database is highly organized and easily searchable.

Finally, the team should assign one person as the “Librarian” for the DAM moving forward. This person will oversee future changes and evolutions to the DAM, centralizing decision-making responsibility with one person who’s highly familiar with the system.


[4] Set up integrations and automated workflows

For today’s businesses, no internal system can be an island. From the DAM to the PIM to the CRM, every tool has to be able to talk to others seamlessly. During DAM implementation, keep a close eye on how the system integrates with your company’s existing tools so that you catch and resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

In addition to technical integrations, your DAM will also plug into many human-driven workflows that drive your business. In fact, one of the main benefits of a DAM is that it can eliminate the busywork involved in many business processes, freeing up employees to focus on higher-level tasks. From organizing files to converting videos to different formats and more, setting automated workflows should be part of your DAM implementation.

It’s not uncommon for companies’ workflows to be contingent on one person’s knowledge—even within huge companies. Naturally, relying on one employee to keep workflows running smoothly can cause major problems. By enabling automation in many processes, DAM thus contributes to the digital maturity of any organization.


[5] Establish roles and permissions

Any level of complexity in a business introduces opportunities for human error. Whether you’re a global company serving customers in dozens of markets or a local business with an evolving set of services, finding and deploying the right assets at the right time is essential. A DAM system makes that crucial task far simpler, by allowing for the assignment of roles and permissions to different users. 

With roles and permissions established, a DAM system can control access to certain assets, ensuring that an individual user looking for a photo or video for their project is only choosing from assets that are current, finalized, and approved for use in that user’s region or a specific field. This both adds a layer of security (no mistaken copyright infringements!) and simplifies the task for employees, who can search, browse, and select assets with confidence.


To learn more about how Nansen can help you with DAM implementation and your journey towards digital maturity, shoot us a message!

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