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Where's the Love for Non-Brand Assets?

Toby Martin
February 3, 2021

I recently wrote an article about the self-limiting definition of digital assets as being primarily brand assets. Now, it’s time to talk about all the other assets that require management and why they have value, too.

Someone once told me that digital asset management (DAM) systems were where “good assets go to die.”

This remark made me both sad and curious, so I asked: Why?

The response was that their Chief Technology Officer had declared that their DAM system was to be a repository for all assets, regardless of age, value, or usage.

Using a DAM as a repository is okay in theory, but this approach also overlooks a key piece of the management of digital assets — prioritizing high-value assets, while applying the same management techniques to all of the other assets. After all, they’re called “assets” for a reason. Should we not conclude they all possess value and are worth the effort of management?

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

While many people focus solely on a select subset of assets, I suggest you aim to manage a greater number — a number 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 the rules and systems which manage your digital assets are not sufficiently flexible to handle the permutations, try again.

If your working definition of a 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. There’s value in repurposing investments and strategically saving on things like familiar fonts.

You can also reduce risk and loss 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 digital asset management.