The scoop on Digital Asset Management

by Lauren Schutte

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We know that learning about digital asset management (DAM) can be a drag. And, figuring out which DAM provider is right for your company probably isn’t on your list of fun weekend activities. In an attempt to cut across yawn-inducing market research and jargon-filled reports, we’ve compared DAM platforms to something everyone can get excited about — an ice cream sundae!

Check out our infographic below to learn about the basic functions of a DAM platform, and to understand why DAM is a must-have for your team’s productivity and efficiency.

The fundamentals of DAM: Uploading, organizing, and sharing

We’ve compared the core features of a DAM platform to the core ingredient in an ice cream sundae — ice cream. Let’s say this sundae is a neapolitan banana split, and each scoop represents the basic functions of uploading, organizing, and sharing.

F. Strawberry Ice Cream: Uploading

The overarching goal of a DAM platform is to provide an easy way for teams to store, manage, and share digital assets from a single location. So, the first step in the process is uploading the assets themselves. A DAM platform should enable you to bulk upload assets, along with their corresponding metadata and folder structures — ensuring an efficient, stress-free process.

H. Chocolate Ice Cream: Organizing

Most DAM platforms will allow you to edit, delete, move, and share multiple assets at once. You should also be able to stack different versions of the same file into one place, enabling easy version control.

At Brandfolder, we believe in intuitive and visual organization. That’s why our platform asks you if you want to stack files with the same name. Brandfolder also automatically uploads your folder structures and hierarchies into searchable tags, so you can quickly find and organize assets by keyword later.

I. Vanilla Ice Cream: Sharing

Completing the ice-cream trifecta is our third fundamental DAM feature — sharing. A DAM platform should provide a simple way to share your assets among internal and external partners. Essential sharing functions include: setting permission levels for different user types, creating expirations for user access, and implementing a simple password for asset access.

Brandfolder does all of this and more — you can create customized groups of assets with our Collections feature, making it easy to share parts of your Brandfolder with partners, distributors, and sales teams. Your entire Brandfolder also exists in a single, online link, making it incredibly easy for those with permission to access.

The other crucial DAM function: Discovery

You can’t have a banana split without the banana — and you can’t have a DAM platform without discovery.

J. Banana: Discovery

Ideally, your DAM platform will enable you to spend less time searching, and more time working. This means being able to: search deep within metadata, tag assets with important keywords, and pin common searches for easy access later. Major brownie (or should I say banana) points to DAM platforms that provide instant search results that populate in real-time.

The sauce that holds everything together: Collaboration and Integrations The sauce in an ice cream sundae is what brings all the ingredients together in delicious, sweet harmony. Similarly, collaboration and integrations are two functions of a DAM platform that empower you to work seamlessly across teams and applications.

E. Strawberry Syrup: Collaboration

To streamline team communication, leading DAM platforms allow you to comment on and approve assets. This is essential for keeping collaboration centralized and easy to track. More complex DAM platforms will give you the ability to: assign tasks to team members, create a calendar (or indication of work progress), drill down into approval flows, rate your assets, or annotate image and video. But remember — more is not always better. When choosing a DAM platform, make sure its collaboration features compliment (and don’t complicate) the way your team works.

H. Hot Fudge: Integrations

Most marketers and creatives today use a personalized suite of tools, opting for their favorite solutions within each function. Because of this, it’s important that your DAM platform supports a wide variety of integrations. Linking your DAM platform with the apps you use will enable them to communicate and work with each other — making you more productive and efficient in your day-to-day.

Topping it all off: Transforming, Embedding, Analytics, and APIs

Just like the garnishes on an ice cream sundae, these features aren’t considered fundamental to DAM platforms — but are certainly necessary for a dynamic, functional experience.

C. Whipped Cream: Transforming

Ideally, a DAM platform will allow you transform assets within the platform itself — saving you an extra step with an outside tool. With Brandfolder, you can easily resize and convert assets into different formats with just a few clicks. We also preserve aspect ratios, so images always look great, no matter how you crop them.

D. Sprinkles: Embedding

Another excellent feature to have in your DAM platform is embedding. With embedding, you can extend your platform’s capabilities into your organization’s website without sending users to a different page.

A. Nuts: Analytics

Analytics are useful for tracking who’s using your assets and when they’re being accessed. You pour time and energy into the creation of your assets, and it’s equally as important to preserve their integrity.

If analytics are crucial to you, you can find DAM platforms that support Google Analytics or other reporting tools. In addition, you can even integrate your event data with third-party services (like Zapier) to create custom notifications about your asset usage.

B. Maraschino Cherry: API

And the cherry on top of any DAM platform — its API! Just how you can transform cherries into an endless variety of desserts, an API opens up the door to limitless possibilities. A publicly-facing API allows developers to create custom applications, connect their DAM with other best-in-class tools, and build the integration they’ve always wanted on top of their DAM platform.

Why DAM belongs in the cloud

Historically, most DAM solutions were on-premise solutions, meaning they’re run on computers that are physically on the premises (in the buildings) of the organizations themselves. Here’s why on-premise solutions are a way of the past, and why your DAM sundae should be housed in the cloud.

K. Bowl: The Cloud

Cloud-based DAMs offer a huge amount of flexibility, enabling you to grow or reduce your system to meet your company’s needs. It’ll also alleviate burden on your internal IT department — no more physical hardware, allocating precious space on internal servers, hefty operating expenses, or cumbersome software maintenance.

A cloud-based platform also provides access to your assets wherever you are, from any device. Lastly, cloud-based data hosting facilities, like Amazon Web Services, are far more secure than any on-premise solution.

We hope our ice cream sundae analogy was helpful in understanding DAM, and figuring out which features are essential for your organization’s productivity.