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DAM Success Stories

Digital Asset Management Workflows You Need to Know

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

5 min read

team working with sticky notes

It’s no secret that creative departments need effective workflows in place in order to do their best. That goes for all departments within any organization. But with the high—and ever-increasing—demand for both fast and quality work by creative departments today, setting up creatives for success just makes sense.

The most effective workflows take into account the different kinds of situational needs for an organization. And while every organization has varied, vast and complex use cases, they tend to fit into two broad categories: asset-based, and campaign-based workflows. In this post, we explore the differences between the two types of workflows, and how the right integrations have helped MediaValet clients establish their most effective workflows.

A Typical Asset Workflow

Let’s look at a typical workflow and asset lifecycle.

asset workflow

Whether as part of a larger campaign, or a one-off event, the beginning of an asset’s life always starts with an asset request in one form or another. This request initiates the entire process, from ideation to distribution.

Once an asset is finalized and has all the necessary approvals, it’s ready for distribution - which can take many forms depending on the specific asset or campaign. At the end of the asset’s life, it’s usually archived, however, for some lucky assets, they get another run or two through the cycle, as they’re repurposed for other campaigns or use-cases.

For smaller teams or projects, this entire cycle may be handled by a small handful of people. But, for larger teams or projects, dozens may be involved and requires a robust system to manage the complex steps, requirements and approvals. In these circumstances, it’s more effective to separate this complex workflow management from your DAM.

multi-tool workflow

Workflows aren’t standard, they’re unique to each organization, team and project, and we find they’re constantly changing and multiplying. Whatever your workflows are today, most likely they won’t be the same, or of the same number, tomorrow. This separation of workflow and DAM often provides a higher level of operational flexibility and scalability.

Types of Digital Asset Management Workflows

Although there is a wide variety of workflow solutions available today, we break it into two levels:

    1. Asset-Based Workflows
    2. Campaign-Based Workflows

The workflow system that will best meet your specific needs will depend on the number of unique workflows that you require across your department or organization and their complexity.

Asset-Based Workflows

Asset-based workflows automate and optimize the processes around managing the digital assets themselves. These processes or steps include things like approving assets once they've been uploaded by external parties, adding attributes or metadata, categorizing assets, generating specific renditions, expiring assets, updating and distributing assets - the list goes on and on. These types of workflows focus on preparing the assets to be used as source files or as content.

Asset-based workflows are generally quite simple and tend to be linear in nature, requiring simple triggers and actions to automate. In-DAM workflow features are ideal and cost-effective for addressing these types of asset workflows.

For example, here’s a visualization of an asset-based workflow for a single photographer uploading assets to a company’s DAM. In-app workflows that are available in many DAM systems can help automate components of this process, ensuring the right assets are uploaded the right way (to make them easily discoverable).

asset based workflow

Automated events, in this example, include:

    1. Notifying a named administrator that photos have been uploaded and are ready to be approved.
    2. Letting the photographer know if any photos were rejected.
    3. Mandating what attributes need to be added.
    4. Enabling auto-categorization and tagging.
    5. Making approved images readily available, in the right formats and sizes, to the appropriate teams or systems.

This simple workflow helps reduce the number of basic tasks that the photographer and administrator would normally have done manually. It also eliminates the chance of human error that could cause bottlenecks, miscategorization, or overall lack of discoverability.

Campaign-Based Workflows

Campaign-based workflows, on the other hand, are more complex by nature as they tend to manage the creation of assets, versus asset usage. This involves more people and more complexity.

campaign based workflow

Campaign-based workflows manage the asset lifecycle of new campaign-related assets from ideation to distribution. This involves coordinating the efforts of multiple teams and departments, and involving multiple levels of review and approval, along with distribution points. The more complex workflows include everything from a local one-off marketing campaign to a global re-branding and everything in between.

When it comes to anything but the simplest asset-based workflows, we recommend using a campaign-based workflow, connecting your DAM with a third-party project management vendor, like Workfront or Wrike. These organizations specialize in workflow and dedicate all their resources and energy to addressing a much wider array of use-cases, from basic to the most complex.

Over the years, we’ve found that integrating MediaValet with a project management solution delivers the most value to our customers, both in the short and long term. To this end, to enable and support the unique complex workflows of all our clients, we focus on creating deep integrations with well-known and regarded third-party workflow products. After all, it’s about setting our clients up for success, with the most efficient and effective partners we can find.

More on DAM Workflows

This post is based on a webinar we hosted with Henry Stewart and industry leader, Theresa Regli, on Content Hubs and Workflow. Watch the full recording here, to learn more about DAM workflows, see a campaign-based workflow in action, and hear how MediaValet customer, Reinsurance Group of America, uses MediaValet and Wrike to drive productivity.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI.

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