A Model for Brand Asset Management
What is a brand? Let me illustrate with a brand I'm partial to — New Balance. I used to think of New Balance as the maker of all-white, extra wide “dad” shoes. Now, as the proud owner of a dozen different pairs, I think of New Balance as a trendy, modern shoe that goes with my jeans and shorts. I can wear them out to dinner or to walk five miles. I can wear them anywhere!
New Balance fits my dad lifestyle. I feel that lifestyle when I check out their mobile app, open an email, see their sponsored posts on Instagram, or when I walk into the New Balance store and try on a new pair of shoes.
New Balance understands me well enough to offer suggestions for shoes I don’t even know I need – at a time when I’m not necessarily looking for new shoes – and I still want them!
The creative and marketing team at New Balance laced together an incredible string of technologies and workflows in order to create my omnichannel experience. They have shaped my impression of New Balance through a series of purposeful, memorable moments. Simply put, New Balance has mastered brand asset management.
Your brand is a sum of moments
Your audience may not remember each moment, but they will remember how the sum of those moments made them feel. You can’t control perceptions, but you can inspire them. And that’s what digital asset management (DAM) software does as the keeper of your brand’s content. Content makes a moment and all the little moments make a brand.
Connecting the right content, with the right people, at the right time creates moments that stick. That’s where brand asset management proves its value.
What is the purpose of brand asset management?
The goal of brand management is to:
- Protect your most valuable assets
- Shape the moments and experiences that define the brand in consumers’ minds
- Be deliberate about the content that shapes these moments
Here's the big picture of our brand asset management solution
Acquia DAM (Widen) supports the flow of content from creation to distribution and beyond. This article outlines a model for brand asset management building on these four pillars:
- Structure. The right structure sets your teams up for creating more consistent brand experiences.
- Activation. Content activation enables users to represent your brand consistently across all audiences.
- Integration. Integrating tools across your technology stack helps shape the perception of your brand everywhere you have customer interactions.
- Monitoring. Analytics tools complete the circle of life to adjust your strategy or plan for future content creation and activation.
Let’s dive deeper into the model.
Brand management starts with the right structure, which delivers the right moments to the right customers. To keep these moments consistent and cohesive, begin with brand guidelines.
There are many ways you can share and use your brand guidelines. Portals in a DAM system have emerged as a popular method for centralizing and sharing brand guidelines alongside content. A brand portal offers a simple way to organize and share all of your most critical brand assets and elements including logos, colors, fonts, graphics, templates, and commonly used assets.
An automated creative workflow reinforces the structure. Its key features include:
- Integrations like the Adobe CC connector to bring assets into the primary applications used by designers.
- Proofing and approval tools like Workflow with custom request forms, templated workflows, and advanced proofing tools to streamline creative review and approval.
- Integrations with popular project management tools like Workfront and Asana to create a single source of truth for your assets.
These functions enable your creators to spend more time creating and less time managing the busy work.
The last major component of structure is one of the five foundations of DAM: content governance and metadata, especially for usage and rights management.
Metadata and governance increase your efficiency from upload to download. Upload profiles with default metadata and embedded metadata mapping can automate data entry upon upload, which saves a ton of time and improves accuracy. Segmenting metadata types based on roles and asset groups helps to manage the unique qualities of each set of assets used for different purposes.
Rights management is also crucial to brand asset management. It’s not only about pairing the right assets with the right moments but protecting your assets from legal trouble. Here’s a rundown of some of the key features that will help.
Upon viewing the asset, you can:
- Use watermarked previews to avoid illegal downloading
- Designate a metadata field for “permitted uses”
- Flag an asset group for “rights managed” (or something similar) to alert users
- Attach rights and release forms to the asset details
- Ask users to select their intended use from a list of options
- Accept the end-user license agreement (EULA) to further protect yourselves
- Require order approval (as an asset group setting) if it’s a sensitive asset
- Verify that the intended use matches the permitted uses before the requester can download the asset
- Map “permitted uses” as an XMP field will keep that metadata with the file
I hope that helps keep you out of hot water! Getting the structure right means you can better activate and connect your content.
Onto the next step.
Content distribution is best achieved by curating collections and creating portals tailored to your specific audience needs, with various launch campaigns, events, and programs.
A great portals example comes from NKT, the global leader in electrical cable manufacturing based in Copenhagen.
NKT uses public-facing brand portals to distribute digital assets via a branded microsite where they can track asset downloads, views, and shares.
They use a brand portal to share basic brand elements including logos, icons, colors and typography, reusable templates, and image galleries.
Portals are easy for NKT to use, update, and share with stakeholders who need to deliver the brand consistently to the world.
Templates provides another way to activate your content while keeping your brand in check. This application allows permissioned users to fulfill many of their own commonly requested design needs while the creative team remains in full control of the brand.
Templates automates simple and redundant tasks that take creatives away from being creative, and empower salespeople and marketers to create personalized and localized communications. This includes ads, brochures, business cards, direct mailers, one-pagers, posters, signage, email banners, social tiles, proposals, and more — all with editable fields for permissioned users to update for their regional needs.
Connecting content across your digital experience creates coordinated immersive moments. DAM helps marketers show their brand’s best side in each and every channel.
Two major capabilities help.
First, by using share links and embed codes you can automatically update assets from your central source of truth. And configurable conversion formats and cropping options ensure asset links automatically optimize your images for each channel.
Brooks Running uses embed codes to ensure only the most current version of their brand assets are published online, across regions. “If you have something where the asset is going to be utilized not only in North America, but in Europe, you want to make sure that it’s the same asset and tells the same story,” shares Brooks Running DAM admin, Trey Bailey.
Alliance Laundry Systems leverages embed codes for assets in Acquia DAM to streamline how they publish their product imagery and literature online. If a new version of an asset is uploaded to the DAM system, it’s automatically updated everywhere it’s embedded on the web. This is a great example of a COPE (create once, publish everywhere) strategy in action!
Hootsuite relies on embed codes to serve up the gated content on their website. Using embed codes from their DAM system allows the team to monitor interactions with their resources and keeps the asset up to date anytime a new version is added.
Embed codes can be manually copy-pasted or programmatically fed into other systems via the API.
Second, DAM system integrations with popular marketing technology (martech) platforms also support immersive moments. These include content management systems (CMS), marketing automation, social media, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, and digital experience platforms (DXPs).
By putting DAM at the center of a martech stack, all systems are using the same, up-to-date and approved content — allowing teams to build relevant and coordinated digital experiences, quickly and efficiently.
Brand monitoring illuminates the moments you’ve inspired. That’s why Insights can be a valuable brand monitoring tool. You can use the analytics tools in Insights to understand how your content is being used, activate more of the right content, and connect with more audiences.
You can find answers to questions like:
- How are people using our site?
- What's going into the system and what's going out?
- What assets are being used?
- How are assets being used?
- How are users searching?
- What search terms are users entering?
You could also try applying the scientific method to your analytics.
When using Insights for your brand, keep it simple and focused on what matters most for your brand so you can draw more meaningful insights on a regular basis.
As your brand evolves, so too will the moments you create. Take control of your narrative with Acquia’s brand management solution. Request, watch, or click through a demo today to learn more.
Note: This article was originally published on Widen.com.