Brand management isn't for the fainthearted. Even companies with well-documented brand-building strategies struggle to keep up with an ever-evolving list of marketing channels used to communicate with clients.
One of the core strengths of Lucidpress is that our platform helps you build a cohesive brand across your entire organization. Admins create templates and lock down the important brand elements. Users can customize templates but can't change any elements locked into place to maintain brand unity.
The digital files marketing teams create with Lucidpress (or any other graphic design software) are commonly called marketing assets. The term immediately brings to mind the many software packages commonly referred to as digital asset management (DAM) or media asset management (MAM) systems.
Today we're going to take a closer look at these systems and how they relate to brand management, including the benefits of keeping tabs on all that marketing content.
What DAM is and why it matters
Digital asset management is the process of organizing and making digital files available across an organization, managing them, and tracking their usage.
The term is often confused with marketing asset management, but digital asset management can cover files from other departments as well. Even though accounting may have ownership of a specific file — like a vendor setup form — managers from other departments might need to access the form or provide it to other parties.
Unlike the office environment of 20 years ago, paper is no longer the way people primarily communicate. Digital asset management is the online equivalent of an office filing cabinet.
Why does it matter?
DAM often involves a cross-functional team assembled from different departments including IT, marketing and operations.
When looking at DAM software options, most emphasize file management and organization for marketing departments. However, files can be shared across an entire organization, within single departments, or even with outside vendors & contractors.
Keeping content in order was originally handled by the marketing department. But as enterprise IT needs grew, so did the need for technical specialists to step in and help with DAM.
Very large companies often hire digital asset managers to handle this task for the entire company. Digital asset management is also gaining ground in the MarTech community.
There are some drawbacks to traditional DAM systems, including version control and poor customer experience. Since these systems run the gamut from very simple tools to complex custom builds, we've created a buyer's guide to help you understand how these systems work.
Because Lucidpress is a branding platform, we take brand protection and file management very seriously. Our software can serve as a very simple DAM or integrate with more complex solutions, depending on the size and needs of a particular business.
Digital asset management (DAM) vs. marketing/media asset management (MAM)
We've touched on the fact that digital asset management and media/marketing asset management are different.
If you try to search for a DAM system that only handles files from accounting, you probably won't find one. This is because, in most enterprise companies, the marketing (and sales) department produces the largest amount of digital assets.
That being said, the definition of digital asset management as a business practice differs tremendously from the definition of DAM software.
Additionally, marketing asset management and media asset management are often used interchangeably, even though they have different meanings.
Let's clear up the confusion here with a few definitions:
Digital asset management: the business practice of organizing and making digital files available across an organization, managing them, and tracking their usage.
Digital asset management software: systems used primarily to organize branding materials, including logos, fonts, photos and documents.
Marketing asset management: the business practice of creating and managing a library of branded materials including logos, photos, sales collateral, audio and video assets.
Media asset management software: systems used primarily to organize audio & video branding materials, such as radio spots, commercials and videos for social media.
Understand the difference now? It can be confusing when you spot all of these in the wild, but these definitions are something you can refer back to if needed.
Marketing asset management use cases
According to CampaignDrive, there are four generic use cases for marketing asset management that are typically handled by DAM software:
Content creation. This is where Lucidpress excels and most DAMs fall short. Some DAMs assist with content creation, but marketing content usually requires graphic design or other programs built for professional creation.
Version control. Most DAMs are focused on content storage, which means you only have access to the current version of any particular file. However, some do allow you to view file history, publish to the final channel and focus on version control.
Print & offline marketing. Although companies often operate with a digital-first mentality, certain industries like e-commerce and local business services often need to invest in print marketing as well. DAMs really shine here, as print designers can pull logos, previously printed pieces, and other brand elements as needed.
Local marketing. Enterprise companies with local branches (such as franchises and restaurants) have a greater need for customization & control, as marketing teams in the field might not always have or use correctly branded assets. A few DAM systems support "distributed DAM" or local marketing automation (LMA) to help with this.
Types of files typically included in marketing asset management
Your marketing department often handles many different file types, depending on the channels and campaigns it manages. Given how many there are, it'd be impractical to list every file type supported by a particular DAM or MAM system.
Instead, let's paint this with a broad brush. Generally speaking, MAM systems are mostly used for audio & video file management. DAM systems are mostly used for file types that aren't as large or complex, like documents & graphics.
That's not to say you can't use a DAM system to store videos. But, a MAM system is better built to support them, from the interface to search capabilities to storage capacity. It might seem like a small distinction now, but those factors become more important as your library grows.
Marketing asset management ROI: Who benefits from marketing asset management?
For enterprise companies, the marketing department directly benefits from having a formal system in place. It saves time for designers who are looking for branded templates and the latest version of your logo and other marketing materials. Brand managers save time, too, because final quality checks will be faster and easier.
Another practical benefit: Properly organized files with good version control will save you money & embarrassment by preventing incorrectly branded print & digital ad campaigns.
Another benefit of marketing asset management is that it improves the relationship with IT. Many art departments and in-house creative studios already work side-by-side with dedicated IT employees, and having a formal system to manage files can help both sides stay on the same page.
Overloaded servers, multiple versions of the same file, and other problems create real headaches for companies trying to manage computer networks and hard drive space. Marketing asset management helps alleviate that, especially if the company has a dedicated digital asset manager.
Employee productivity is another benefit of marketing asset management, since creatives spend less time looking for files and more time fulfilling creative requests.
Marketing asset management is a fairly new concept, but it's already distinguishing itself from digital asset management in a few key ways. Understanding whether your brand would benefit from DAM, MAM, or a combination of both will make it easier to build the right system for your business.