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Why Digital Asset Management is Instrumental to Elbphilharmonie's Marketing

By Kay Peters on September 18, 2019

The Elbphilharmonie is Hamburg's new concert hall. Opened in 2017, it stands for spectacular architecture, excellent music experiences, and also offers magnificent views over the city of Hamburg. The Elbphilharmonie is a house for everyone and has already been visited by more than 10 million people. Kay Peters from Xenario GmbH (FotoWare's Platinum Partner in Germany) spoke with Marketing Manager Melanie Kämpermann and Project Manager Gilda Fernandez about their experiences of introducing a professional Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution.

Featured image: Maxim Schulz

What is your job at the Elbphilharmonie?

Melanie Kämpermann: My job is managing the Marketing and Communication department. That includes our communication via all digital channels, such as the websites, social media, video and the blog, as well as the classic advertising in print. I also manage the marketing events and promotional activities and press relations. My department is responsible for image marketing and promotion of concerts for our two concert halls, Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle.

Gilda Fernandez: My job as a project manager whose responsibility is for the implementation of the DAM system into our organization. Previously, I worked in our marketing department, meanwhile I am the representative for the Commercial Managing Director.


Which functions of the DAM system are especially helpful for you?

First and foremost, we want to search and find our photos within our extensive database quickly. Using the DAM system, we can effectively tag and structure all our pictures and multimedia files. We were able to consolidate all our assets onto fast hard drives and dispense with the old storage systems. Furthermore, it is now possible to add specific information - e.g. Terms of use, notes or expiration dates - directly in the file. With only one click users can see all necessary information regarding usage and rights management. We are able to share selected assets in albums directly with others e.g. with external graphic artists, which is a really helpful function and it saves us time in our daily routines.

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How was this data managed previously?

Previously, there was "individual" data management for every asset. Assets were stored or organized in folder structures on local drives and shares in our own network or on cloud-based drives. This was rather slow and ineffective, and there was no efficient way of searching for an asset, and no management of usage or rights management.

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What were the difficulties before using Digital Asset Management?

Of course, the search for media files was much more time consuming than now. Browsing across the files within the folder structures was time consuming. Often several different departments were involved in the image search. Duplicates in different sizes and versions and editions was not consistent with our brand guidelines for our publications. In addition, there was the legal or financial risk due to insufficiently documented usage-rights for each asset. Our colleagues from the PR department spent a lot of time researching and clearing assets for use.

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What happened throughout the implementation of the Digital Asset Management system and where are the biggest benefits?

In the beginning, the optimization of the search-capabilities was our highest priority. In order to do so, we dealt intensively with a comprehensive taxonomy and developed a uniform system of keywords at the very beginning of the project. This Metadata-schema is the basis for all the keywording tasks of all new digital assets entering the DAM.

With other helpful features - for example, the sharing of albums, adding notes and special instructions, license expiry dates or Terms of Use - we now have a great tool for an effective handling of our media files. Each asset carries all necessary specific information in it.

Worth mentioning at this point is also the migration of our existing files as a so-called "old archive" into the DAM. Using the expertise of our integration partner Xenario, the entire old stock, almost 80,000 files, was made available in two steps. Those files can also be retrieved and searched from all users by browsing through the old folder structure as well as using an indexed search.

New files with defined metadata are directly uploaded to the DAM today and can be used immediately. The old data was successively processed and metadata-managed according to its relevance for each asset.

Data security was a very important topic too. The assets should be stored on a physical server located in Germany and backup procedures were also guaranteed through reliable maintenance procedures. This requirement was also implemented by our integration partner, Xenario.

Who are the main users of the system?

We have about 50 user licenses, most of them in the areas of marketing and press as well as artistic planning. In the DAM we have assets from events and architectural photographs. In addition, the DAM is used for documentation purposes e. g. from the departments of technology and production.

How do you rate the profitability of the system for the organization?

Due to the more comprehensive image search, for finding and processing in a timely way, the system will provide a cost saving in the long term. Previously we were seeking additional funding for personnel, for the customization, implementation, training and of course metadata tagging and rights clarification of existing media material. For these kind of tasks, we need to free up capacities, and we are aware that the implementation of a DAM-system is not a one time job but an ongoing journey. However, the organisation of assets in the DAM and the processes employed will generate time savings in the long term.
We have started the journey, and have received very positive feedback from our colleagues, who say the system is simple and intuitive to use - and that is one of the most important factors to make sure that the system will be used effectively in the coming years. And that brings us one big step ahead.

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