Digital Assets Drive Brands — But That’s Just the Beginning

Toby Martin
August 29, 2019

A not-so-recent pivot has occurred in the digital asset space. It’s no longer simply about assets. Instead, the focus has become what those assets are used for — namely, brand management.

This could be viewed by a cynic — not the author, so hold your comments for a moment! — as a means to define a higher-value proposition beyond storing and finding the assets, thereby making it easier for prospects and customers to justify investments. Brand has always been a difficult topic to express mathematically. Think I’m wrong? Just ask anyone in any marketing leadership role what the value of their brand is and expect to see squirming, discuss quantitative and qualitative, and then hear the difficulty in giving any sort of best guess.

But the aforementioned brand management pivot, while accurate, may have overshot and gone right to the top of the funnel for costly/beneficial assets while ignoring the masses. Having an incorrect logo or other inconsistent brand asset (image or font) is certainly costly, but it should not be the sole focus of digital assets and the entirety of their lifecycles.

Consider something which may not be in the normal purview of a digital asset manager, librarian, taxonomist, or any other role concerned with brand: photos from a company event. Unless the event was branded for external use, it is an archival of your culture and not likely to be used for more than an HR newsletter or some other internal facing material. This still provides value in attracting talent and recruiting, but can you say that this would garner the same attention as a new logo or other material for a new website?

The question I have for you today is why should those non-external or less “brand-ish” assets be treated as second class citizens? Should your digital assets and practices supporting them all equally? And if these are not important, and unworthy of the time and energy and costs to manage them, why are they still hanging around and not archived somewhere so you can focus on higher-value assets?

The counterpoint to the pivot around brand management being the central tenet of digital assets and their lifecycles is not incorrect but might be a self-limiting proposition foisted upon the market by micro-focusing exclusively on highest value assets. Without considering ALL valuable assets, we may be under-serving, under-valuing, and underwhelming the market.

Given the bold predictions from many of the informed analysts and experts for compound annual growth rate and other growth, the only way we get there is by expanding what we manage rather than redefining the value of what we already know. We should start the dialog sooner than later, or we risk another year passing without doing the absolute best we can to build upon the success of the last few decades of DAM.