Where's the Love for Non-Brand Assets?

Toby Martin
September 12, 2019
1 min read

I recently wrote an article about the self-limiting definition of digital assets as being primarily those concerned with brand. Now, it’s time to talk about the rest of them.

Someone once told me that digital asset management (DAM) systems were where “good assets go to die.” This made me both sad and curious, so I asked: Why? The response was that their CTO had declared that their DAM system was to be the repository for all assets, regardless of age, value, or usage.

This, in theory, is OK, but it also overlooks a key piece of the management of digital assets which is to prioritize high-value assets, but apply the same management techniques to all of the other assets. Given they’re all called “assets,” should we not conclude they’re all worthy of management or possibly extracting value?

That’s not to say they will all have the same lifecycle. In fact, you should plan for a large variety of permutations driven by value, type, recency, or external factors like your MarTech stack, brand guidelines, website, and e-commerce.

While so many people focus solely on a select subset of assets, I suggest we should manage a greater number, somewhere between what you have currently and ALL available assets. This will be an unpopular theory with many DAM practitioners, and for that I shall say only, “Sorry, but we can do better.”

If rules and systems managing your digital assets are not sufficiently flexible to handle the permutations, try again; if your definition of digital asset is too narrow and limiting, try again; if your practices and processes are too rigid to easily adapt, try again.

As a global community of asset management professionals, we can and must do better to show some love to those “other” assets floating around. The value could be in repurposing and saving investments in things like fonts that are close enough, or in loss and risk prevention by making sure you can find things bound by contractual obligations and show proper adherence to applicable Terms & Conditions. Until we do so, we’re not living up to the full potential of asset management for ALL.

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