We’ve all got photos.
Chances are you’ve got a few tucked away in a box or photo album somewhere, but the bulk of our collections are now created in digital formats. Our personal digital files hold what will someday be our most cherished memories with family and friends.
We’ve got photos at work too. These are the ones your teams use to showcase your company and products.
But images that belong to a business take on a more concentrated life than our personal photos. In their use for business, company photos and other kinds of rich media have one clear value proposition:
They are items that a business uses to make its product and brand more attractive to customers. They are “rich” because these are often very high-quality digital products, but you might also say they are “rich” because they hold a ton of value.
Let’s break this down a little more.
What’s in a company’s photo collection?
Corporate collections of photos and images are increasingly complex. Of course, there are photos in these collections, but almost no business keeps merely photographs anymore. Corporate marketing teams amass hundreds if not thousands of photos, videos, audio files, PDFs, Microsoft Office documents that include rich media, and on and on. Engineering firms have troves of 2D and 3D files. Any business with a design team has a pile of Adobe files. Institutional archives have photos, audio, video, and often hundreds of thousands of scanned historical documents. Educational institutions keep promotional videos, brochures, flyers, posters, booklets and informational documents of almost all kinds.
We could keep going, but the bottom line is this:
All of these items contain a high intrinsic value to the company that created and owns them.
Why do we call them digital assets?
The general notion of an “asset” of any kind also applies to digital assets. Other objects people generally consider to be assets are things like an automobile, artwork, jewelry or even a retirement account. These are things of high value that have to be protected and managed.
More specifically in business terms, an asset is something purchased or acquired by a company for the purpose of increasing that organization’s income or to benefit overall operations.
By definition, a digital asset is an object stored as a digital file that has value to you or your business. As explained, these can be photographs, videos, audio files, text files, 2D and 3D AutoCAD files and almost any other item stored digitally.
Because they are in digital format – these are the organization’s “digital assets.”
Why are digital assets so valuable?
1. Your employees spend a lot of time working with digital assets. You pay people to do a task for the benefit of your business. To do that task, many times they need materials to work with. In the case of building out marketing, advertising, PR, educational or instructional collateral, the set of building blocks are often digital assets. Digital assets are incredibly valuable because they are at the center of the work processes your employees do every day.
2. Digital assets inspire your customers to action. When customers see digital assets, they are ideally inspired to do whatever action your marketing program is helping encourage them to do. Digital assets motivate consumers to do all kinds of things, such as buying a book in a store, booking a flight online, and even making one of life’s milestone purchase like buying a car.
3. Digital assets tell your brand’s story. Because customer are inspired to action, in large part due to your digital assets, the foundational function of a digital asset is to tell a brand’s story to the world.
4. Digital assets can be reused over time. Once your company creates and deploys an asset, that doesn’t mean that its usefulness is done. Many digital assets have large re-use value. Logos are reused repeatedly, and they need to be exactly right every time. Seasonal posters can often be re-used with only minor adjustments from year to year.
What’s the best way to leverage the value of digital assets?
The best path for managing your digital assets depends greatly on several things:
- The structure of your organization
- The number of assets owned
- How the assets get used
- Who uses the assets
- When and where employees need access to the assets
- Security and compliance level requirements
- Your budget
For some organizations, basic cloud-based storage solutions will do the trick. For others, when solutions like Dropbox won’t cut it, go with a digital asset management solution.
In general, DAM is best for organizations with:
- Large asset collections
- A central marketing or IT team responsible for asset maintenance
- Employees who need access to digital assets from locations around the globe
- The need to share assets with external customers or partners
And in recent years, DAM solutions have begun to offer an amazing array of integrations that help teams work with assets right from inside the other tools they are already using to create marketing and promotional materials.
You can now:
- Edit text files in Office 365 Online and track those edits back in your DAM,
- Collaborate on digital assets right inside Slack,
- Provide mobile apps that link to your DAM for your team on the go,
- Create social media posts in Hootsuite using your DAM’s search function,
And so much more.
Reach your goals
Said simply, digital assets are valuable because they are an important key to reaching your business goals.
The CMO’s Digital Transformation Workout:
How to Strengthen Your Marketing Channel Muscles with Digital Asset Management