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Dawn of the DAM: 4 Tricks to Avoid a Scary DAM

Has your DAM devolved into a horror scene? Do you flinch and look away every time you load it up? Are you overcome with stress as thousands of dead assets are constantly resurrected like some DAM zombies? Have you lost teammates that inherit the hopeless task of performing a DAM exorcism to rid the demons?

Fret not! Your proverbial Will Smith wielding a living-dead thwarting vaccine is here to save the day. We’re bringing you 4 pro tips to avoid the dreaded haunted DAM, ensuring a future state of joyful asset discovery and maximized user adoption.

1) Define your DAM organizational structure with end users in mind (consider the innocents)

clip from the Walking Dead tv show

Imagine if that avaricious scientist didn’t rush her development of a misguided panacea that ended up zombifying the nation? All the resources that could have been spared. That’s (more or less) what happens when a DAM is organized without first evaluating the use cases of its audience groups. Design has different procedures and goals than Sales, and a DAM setup by and for a designer might be utterly incomprehensible to a sales rep. The right DAM solution can unify teams through flexible organization mechanisms that support motley user groups.

The cure: Define and chart out all audience groups, internal and external, that will be accessing the DAM before ingesting and organizing your assets. This upfront clarity will save time (and probably lives) by informing an asset framework with long-term viability that is suitable to various user groups. Powerful asset allocation features like Collections can ensure a personalized experience by department/audience, without the inevitable duplication and clutter that deep sub-folder nests tend to create.

2) Avoid over-complicating your taxonomy (no FrankenTAGs)

frankenstein coming to life

Victor Frankenstein’s biggest mistake was using too many body parts to assemble the creature. An overly complex taxonomy framework can quickly lead to a DAM haunted house, with creepy keywords and malicious metadata lurking in asset shadows. Modern DAM platforms are visually elegant and intuitively navigable, paving the way for quick and easy asset content discovery without complex metadata schemes. Furthermore, innovative DAM systems are incorporating advanced AI and ML platforms to automate, curate and train taxonomy in a way that is unique to your business needs.

The cure: Shift your perspective from the onerous, folder-fueled file management of the past to the new world order of visually intuitive, search-friendly user interface. Get a DAM that enables searching on far more than just file names and extensions (e.g. metadata, tags, custom fields, in-image copy, in-doc text, color settings, etc.), which will reduce the time waste and resource drain of maintaining complex naming conventions. While standard naming conventions are still helpful, a visual interface combined with sophisticated taxonomy tools and intelligent search makes finding content as simple as outrunning the injured undead.

3) Don’t let your DAM become an asset graveyard

clip from the Walking Dead tv show

If you could take a flyover of most companies’ legacy DAM systems, it might resemble the post-apocalyptic chaos of World War Z. Mountains of outdated marketing collateral, expired photography is strewn about, old logos creeping through the soil, unapproved sales proposals exposed to the public. Just like your apartment or car, any DAM will need the occasional cleaning to tidy the place up and purge the trash. Modern DAM platforms can help combat the chaos from the start, with well-constructed asset organization and user management that keeps views manageable.

The cure: Good DAMs will offer Rights Management tools (like publish and expiration dates) to automate the viewability of assets based on their particular lifecycle stages. This has the dual benefit of ensuring legal compliance while keeping your DAM tidy. Creating an “archive” section and keeping up with moving old assets into it is also critical; set a reminder to do this at least monthly. Finally, switch to a cloud-based solution that only allows “soft-deletes” with a quick recovery workflow to eliminate the risk of losing important files.

4) Overcome the fear of switching platforms (circumvent post-apocalyptic dystopia)

man pressing the stop button

The young woman in The Exorcist would have never survived if the demon didn’t decide to leave her body for the priest. The exact same concept applies here. If your DAM becomes a repugnant, unruly, pure force of evil that embodies everything wrong in this world - it’s time to make the switch. Normal life brings enough stress; there’s no reason you should dread loading up your asset repository to find files critical to your daily workflows. Scheduled clean-ups can only get you so far if your system is inherently clunky, slow, old-fashioned or just poorly suited for your business use cases.

The cure: Survey the DAM users in your organization to gauge their general satisfaction with your existing system, and to find out how much time is being spent looking for content. Results will often reveal a significant business case for new software investment. Onboarding a new DAM may seem like a major expense or time suck in itself, but the right DAM can quickly generate an ROI that far outweighs the implementation effort. Use a 3rd party software research tool like G2 Crowd (which is informed by customer reviews) to start a list of your top platforms, and submit demo requests to kick off your evaluation process. Find a DAM that’s modern, intuitive, easy to use and quick to implement.

Follow these tips if you wish to vanquish evil and make it past the final credits. 

While Halloween is fun and games, Brandfolder strays far from being a spooky DAM. Contact us at