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Branding

Assets: Just some files, or something more?


I’ll kick this off in the most cliché of ways and present you with a dictionary definition of words you’ve known and used forever: file and asset.

In the digital content and marketing world, these terms are used fast and furiously, and often interchangeably. Why does it matter and why am I even mentioning it? Answer: The mindset around each is incredibly different, and while both “files” and “assets” serve their own meaningful purpose, one should have a more prominent place in a brand manager’s eyes. Any guesses on which?

From TheFreeDictionary.com …

file – n.1. A container, such as a cabinet or folder, for keeping papers in order.2. A collection of papers or published materials kept or arranged in convenient order.3. Computer Science- A collection of related data or program records stored as a unit with a single name.

as·set – n.
1. A useful or valuable quality, person, or thing; an advantage or resource
2. A valuable item that is owned.

Files are documents and things you put into folders nested inside other folders, represented by little icons used and seen only when needed. Brand assets – in body – are no different than files. They are PDFs, .TXTs, .EPSs, .JPGs and .PNGs. But we don’t call them “brand files,” do we?

At Brandfolder, we have this crazy notion that brand assets are always something more than just “files.” If the money spent on asset design, copyrights, trademarks, and other proprietary branding mechanisms is any indicator, you think there is something more to them, too.

What is ca-RAZY is that valuable brand assets are rarely treated as such; that as the most definitive and beautiful players in your brand identity and value, they remain tucked away alongside basic files and documents instead of being on display and ready to be used 24/7.

Here’s where we ask you to “just think about it.” When you hand off your company logo, or official colors and fonts, or key product shots and messaging to be used in marketing collateral, in an event program, on a website, or a giant screen at a conference, do you think of those as “some files,” or would you sooner reference the definition of “asset”? If you answered the latter, consider whether your DAM or existing solution is letting those special brand assets work for you the way they can and should.

Ask yourself if it’s enough that your brand assets are “stored as a unit with a single name,” or whether there’s a way to house them that supports their rightful labels: “useful”; “advantage or resource”; “owned.”

And then go claim your brandfolder.


Paul Arterburn is a Co-founder and the Head of Product at Brandfolder, a Techstars Boulder 2013 company. In this capacity, Paul is responsible for overall product vision and execution. This includes managing the development and design processes, constructing and executing the product roadmap, and deploying code daily. Paul is nearing the magic 10,000 hour mark of coding through the dedication of learning 15 different coding languages over the past 15 years. Daring and scrappy, Paul is ready to leave the Web better than he found it: this is what drove him to found Brandfolder. Me in 3: • Movies people can’t believe I don’t like: Star Trek and Star Wars. • My secret talent: As a songwriter my first songs at age 16 were about all girls, and my latest about just one - my fiancé. • My first invention: A wrestling move dubbed 'The Bob Dole' still used across the state of Nebraska today.

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