"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu.

Adopting digital asset management (DAM) without understanding where it fits in the larger picture can fail to deliver the expected outcomes for a business. DAM is not just a technology but a practice that requires strategic planning. It is part of an organization's larger digital strategy.

A well-thought DAM strategy saves time and cost. It ensures faster time-to-market with quick turnaround and delivery of high-quality digital assets mapped to the customer journey. It maintains brand consistency, provides enhanced asset control, and protects against licensing violations.

It democratizes access to content. DAM analytics and insights optimize the utilization of digital assets. In essence, a DAM strategy ensures digital asset management is well integrated with MarTech to deliver value and align with organizational goals to provide a competitive advantage.

Best practices to consider while creating and implementing a DAM strategy

If a company does not use all the features of a DAM solution or finds user resistance, it suggests a failure of its DAM strategy.

To craft a successful DAM strategy, a company must understand its business goals, assess existing practices, and establish the required policies and structures. It must evaluate the DAM strategy periodically to consider and include industry trends and technological advancements.

Let us briefly understand the best practices:

Align DAM strategy with business goals

The objective of DAM is to manage and utilize digital assets effectively for the business. For example, modern business leaders prioritize personalized and compelling customer experiences. DAM can support this goal by delivering tailored content to the target audience on different devices in real time, with the ability to monitor and measure digital asset engagement.

Identify and collaborate with stakeholders

The success of DAM depends on the people who use it to fulfill their job responsibilities. Various departments such as marketing, design, creative, IT, and even agencies must understand their role and interdependencies and take collaborative responsibility for their success.

Conduct a digital asset audit

Take stock of the digital assets, including images, videos, audio files, documents and other digital formats across different departments and systems. Evaluate them for quality, purpose, and relevance. Identify the most commonly used assets, delete or archive irrelevant or outdated ones, and create new assets if missing.

Assign roles and permissions for asset management

Define the different users and their roles and assign appropriate access rights to view, edit, download, and share the digital assets. These could vary from administrator, content creator, editor, guest, content approver, and more.

Streamline DAM workflows

Deliberate on the distinct phases in the asset lifecycle and the different roles assigned to stakeholders at each stage to create a well-defined process for creating, storing, organizing, accessing, and archiving assets. The workflow should be efficient and simple. It should support unhindered communication and seamless data flow.

Establish a file folder structure

Create and execute a coherent folder and file arrangement in the DAM software. Arrange assets according to criteria that are contextual to the industry. These could be different asset types, formats, projects, or departments. Maintain uniformity and clarity in the structure to enable straightforward navigation and retrieval of assets.

Set digital asset taxonomy

Digital asset taxonomy is the classification of digital assets to simplify asset location and utilization. Develop a hierarchical structure comprising categories, subcategories, and tags that accurately represent the content and purpose of the digital files.

Define metadata standards

Capture information about assets by creating and implementing a metadata framework. Assign descriptive titles, descriptions, keywords, and copyright details. Set up a tagging system to attach specific attributes, enhancing discoverability through search queries. Clearly outlining metadata guidelines streamlines search, access, and management of assets, ensuring uniformity.

Review and optimize

Ensure ROI by regularly measuring and reviewing the effectiveness of DAM. Modify the strategy to improve and align better with the ever-evolving business needs. Also, ensure the system is future-ready by including features compatible with new technologies and tools.

Key Components of an Effective DAM Strategy and how ImageKit can help drive it

ImageKit has been helping its customers streamline their DAM strategy for the last seven years. The underlying objective of a DAM strategy is to save time and cost, and there are four levers that must be managed to deliver enhanced efficiency by reducing redundancies, improving visibility, or streamlining processes.

Let’s examine them one by one.

Organizing and categorizing digital assets

With an increase in the volume of digital assets, it's best that they are organized in a structure that makes it easier to retrieve them with maximum speed, accuracy and relevancy.

So, companies must define the folder structure and metadata classification and identify appropriate tags. We recommend using AI image tagging for speed and accuracy. ImageKit auto-labels commonly known objects in an image using Google Cloud Vision and AWS Rekognition APIs. ImageKit also allows you to define custom metadata as per business needs.

Accessibility and permissions

A robust policy around accessibility and permissions can guard against liabilities arising from copyright violations, reduce the risks of using unapproved brand assets, and maintain asset quality by restricting access to unentitled users.

ImageKit allows five kinds of role-based access. Full access or view-only access to the media library is given based on need. It supports the creation of user groups for bulk access to media collections. Our DAM can enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users within an account.

It follows security protocols like identity and access management, data loss management, and business continuity. The system can restrict unnamed image transformations and use signed URLs to access private marked images.

Version control and collaboration

A DAM strategy must include version control to regulate usage and approvals. Version control saves time by allowing users to find the ideal asset for the job in hand, it reduces the need to duplicate or start work from scratch, and most importantly, it tracks the changes made in the asset, making it easy to collaborate, determine the digital rights, and prevent the use of out-of-date assets.

When stakeholders communicate via the DAM system, it becomes easier for multiple users to work on the same asset simultaneously or across the different stages of the content lifecycle without creating conflict.

ImageKit automatically creates a new version if you send an upload request for an existing asset with the same name and location. To prevent the creation of too many versions, ImageKit supports real-time URL-based resizing of an image.

Metadata and search capabilities

Metadata tagging is an essential tool to help organize and search assets in DAM, helping speed up campaign execution. It describes the primary data but is not visible to users. The metadata that you associate with an image primarily depends on how you want your user to search for that asset.

Metadata could be inherited (comes with the asset by default), embedded (associated optionally, for example- the name of the photographer), and structured (added deliberately in context to the business need).

The ImageKit dashboard displays results for search based on structured, embedded, and descriptive metadata. It offers asset metadata tagging via APIs at scale and programmatically.

Dynamic media optimization

One of ImageKit’s prominent features is Dynamic Media Optimization which means it is designed to stream content after media optimization and real-time transformation. In other words, it can automatically optimize assets for diverse formats, sizes, resolutions, qualities, or effects as per the demands of a specific channel or device.

With the best-fit content, it is possible to speed up loading and deliver superior visual quality, empowering marketers to efficiently distribute assets as per the different marketing distribution channels and devices.

Future-Proof Your DAM Strategy with ImageKit

A robust DAM strategy is pivotal for seamless asset organization and utilization. Central to this strategy is the idea of capturing essential information about assets, enabling efficient search, access, and management. Dynamic workflows that outline the asset lifecycle stages and stakeholder roles contribute to an organized and collaborative DAM approach.

A reliable cloud-based DAM system offers scalability, flexibility, accessibility, and ease of collaboration. It supports real-time updates and seamless integration with other digital tools, providing the perfect base for creating a robust DAM strategy.

ImageKit is a comprehensive cloud-based DAM tool with all the features one needs to include in a successful DAM strategy. It optimizes the storage, management and organization of digital assets. It supports a collaborative approach amongst users and provides detailed analytics on media assets and performance.

The built-in image editor removes design bottlenecks and expedites the go-live process. Asset versioning and commenting streamline creative workflows. Role-based access secures assets, and optimized embed-ready URLs can be generated directly for website and app integration.

Real-time transformation of media assets through URL parameters enhances the visual experience. ImageKit fosters a dynamic and responsive approach to digital asset management.

Sign up for ImageKit today. It is free until you're ready to upgrade.