3 Steps Towards Effective Brand Asset Management
Creating a strong, recognizable brand is quite the journey. But it is only the beginning; you will have to continuously support your brand to make sure it remains visible and attractive. This is a never-ending process that entails, among other tasks, producing brand assets. Think about social media posts, website pages, printed materials and more.
While brand assets are varied, it is hard to imagine a plain-text Facebook post or an imageless brochure. Most brand assets includes a visual of some kind. Managed properly, visuals can help create the desired brand image, making the brand… well, visible and recognizable.
In this article, we will suggest three steps and some pro tips that can help you to manage visuals more effectively. Make it a part of the overall brand asset management strategy to improve the efficiency of your marketing team, to facilitate the onboarding of new team members, and to grow your brand consistently.
Step 1: Conduct an Audit of your Visuals
To manage brand visuals effectively, you need to know what you are managing. Starting off, set aside a day or two to conduct a thorough audit — gathering all the visuals you already have and assigning them to different categories (this will be covered in Step 2).
Pro Tip: While this step may seem easy and fast, finding all the visuals can be tedious, especially if they are scattered around different folders, devices, and storage locations. It is a good idea to store all the visuals in one place — preferably a cloud database, so you can access them at any time and from any place.
Here is how FotoWare's marketing team categorizes all the visuals in the Digital Asset Management (DAM) system.
Step 2: Categorize all the Visuals
The primary outcome of your audit should be categorizing the visuals your brand is using and storing them into separate “containers”. In FotoWare we call them Archives, others call them collections or something similar.
Each brand will categorize visuals differently — it depends on the industry, primary audience, business goals. Still, there are some common categories that may help you get started:
Here is a gem of conventional wisdom: every brand has a logo. And the logo, just as the brand, tends to change over time to reflect product development, ongoing trends and more. Additionally, you probably have the same logo in different formats and color schemes, allowing it to be used in different channels. Some companies also have unique logos for the various products they make.
Logos come in many shapes and sizes, and you may want to store several versions of each of your logos for different uses. So, it is important to have all the logos stored in one place and categorized in such a way that you will be able to find the right one quickly.
The best part? You will not only work faster. Proper categorization will also help to avoid chaotic republishing or (even worse) reprinting of brand materials with the wrong logo on it.
Pro Tip: if you are using a digital asset management system, filter your logos by type. For example by company logos, product logos, and usage.
An example of filtering logos by type using the FotoWare DAM system.
If you can produce some professional photos of your workplace and employees — do that! These photos can be used for marketing campaigns, newsletters, social media posts, and will beat stock images as they feel more personal and genuine.
Pro Tip: Photos of your employees may fall under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so it is important to make sure you obtain consent for use from your employees. If you want to learn more, read our guide on how to comply with GDPR Article 7 for photos and videos of employees using a DAM system.
While employee photos are great to showcase the brand, it does not mean you should ditch stock photos alltogether and make your colleagues part-time photo models.
You absolutely can use stock photos — just avoid being cheesy, and pick up relevant images that reflect your brand and its values. For example, if your company takes pride in the country it comes from, you can use some landscape photos to reflect it.
Pro Tip: always credit photographers, even if you download photos from a free resource such as Unsplash.
This helps photographers gain exposure, as well as shows that your brand is responsible and respectful of other people's work. Besides which, it’s the polite thing to do.
The easiest way to make sure no photo is left uncredited is to add credits as image information straight in the DAM system. That will make this information instantly visible to everyone in the marketing team.
An example of crediting the photographer using the FotoWare DAM system.
There surely will be additional categories. For example, a software company will need screenshots, and maybe video, of the product functionality to showcase it on the website. If your company has a long and proud history, you probably have some archive photos that can also be used for marketing campaigns or social media. Make sure to create separate categories for all the visuals your brand is using.
Step 3: Supplement Pictures With Additional Information
As the saying goes, a a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to managing visuals, the opposite is true.
Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to use thousands of words to describe every visual you have. Still, if you have the chance to enrich visuals with some additional written information, it will make them much more searchable.
Here are some ideas for fields you can use to add relevant information to your visuals. Think of them as pointers that you can adapt to your situation and the needs of your marketing team:
Author of the image
Type of Photo
Campaign information (if the visual was used for a specific marketing campaign)
Pro Tip: if you are using the FotoWare DAM system, make sure to add tags such as "portrait," "stock," "employee" to quickly find the visual later.
One thing that time has taught us is that filenames simply don’t work.
DDD18995.JPG, anyone? Wouldn’t it be much easier to search for “Employee of the month February 2020”. You’ll surely thank the person who took the time to add this information!
An example of searching using tags in the FotoWare DAM system.
To keep your refreshed brand visuals database neat and organized, you have to make step 3 a part of the marketing team routine.
Take some time to introduce best practices, such as making sure that visuals are put in the right place, added to the right category, and has been enriched with additional information to make it easy to find and retrieve.
While adjusting to these practices may take some time, the result will be extremely beneficial. Paraphrasing a legendary phrase: That's only a few minutes for a marketer, but one giant leap towards effective brand asset management.
Tags: Working with DAM