DAM: Is Your Content Juice Worth the Squeeze? 

Derek Panzarello is a Senior Graphic Designer and DAM Administrator for AmerisourceBergen, a leading international healthcare company and Aprimo customer. During this discussion, Derek explains how he and his team developed, organized, and communicated a digital asset management solution concurrent with a full global rebrand.  

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11:28 – Is it a Good Idea to Do a Rebrand and Build a DAM at the Same Time? 

Sometimes, organizations realize that their old methods just aren’t working. In these crucial instances, many teams rethink their marketing strategies and start from scratch with a rebrand. They may find themselves simultaneously attempting to add new technology into their martech stack to meet new business needs. Is this the best approach when it comes to starting from ground zero?  

 “No. Never. Please don’t do it, that’s my advice to someone else. If you are planning on rebranding, establish the DAM first, and get that infrastructure in place because that’s going to only simplify the rebranding process with everyone involved. Establishing the DAM first really mitigates confusion and disruptions. I can’t tell you how many times, while we are working on rebranded items, we could have them ready for our launch. It was emailing this person because they had the latest logo version or messaging that person in slack about four different assets.  

It was so confusing, and we had to go, “wait a minute, let’s go check all this.” “OK, let’s go audit everything that we just did because we don’t know if it’s the right stuff, and we’re learning the brand.” It’s not like we were experts at this. We were learning along the way. We’re still learning. I don’t think that there’s ever a point where you stop learning your brand because your brand evolves. So having that infrastructure in place, they could say, “Yep, that’s the right one; it’s been approved.”   

15:50 – Overcoming Cultural Barriers During a Rebrand 

Derek explains that before taking on a large-scale project as daunting as a corporate rebrand, it is important as a team to consider whether the effort will be worth the investment in the end—“is the juice worth the squeeze?” Sometimes, larger projects hurt more than they help, and these are the things you should discuss with key stakeholders before planning begins.   

“Well, it’s a big challenge with any of this. We have to communicate assets from our creative team, which is less than 30 people at AmerisourceBergen and not only 16 designers; we have to communicate assets to 42,000 employees that have so many different scopes of responsibility.   

It’s not just, “Hey, we’re all doing the same thing; we’re making a widget.” No. It could be to a sales rep that’s trying to sell livestock supplies to feedlots. It could be to someone that’s trying to explain solutions for chemotherapy initiatives and solutions. There are just so many different things that we have to take into consideration. A lot of the time, we go down these rabbit holes with really finite details, and we have to put on the brakes and use that cheat code and go back and say, “let’s simplify it.” What is it that we’re trying to do here, and what is the definition of success? Is the juice worth the squeeze?”    

18:25 – Diversity: What Makes a Team Conducive to Building a Good DAM Structure? 

Company buy-in is a huge part of implementing a DAM successfully. But what makes a good team? What’s the composition of a diverse team? Who’s going after DAM activation transformation across an organization?  

 “We have such a diverse group of people that are open to ideas and open to different ways of thinking. Somebody could say, ‘Oh, you’re just a graphic designer. What business do you have helping to construct a DAM?’  

Well, if you think about it, having a diverse team of designers, salespeople, people in I.T, and tech levels, all these different inputs will produce data points for you. It’s information so you can learn, you can absorb that, and you can use that to structure and plan out what you want to do.  

If you’re going to build a DAM, don’t just dump it off on the people who handle your subscriptions and your technology stack at your company. Involve the people that are going to use it. Involve the people that might not even use it and just get some feedback there. It is important not to silo yourself into these tiny channels of what you think might be the right thing. Because oftentimes there’s somebody else with an outside point of view that could change your whole system for the better just because they were brought in at the right time or they were part of that process.” 

20:50 – Structural Touchpoints: What Makes a Good DAM? 

When you think of a DAM, sometimes the structure can be vague. What does it look like? What should it look like? A change platform for the rebrand, perhaps. Derek considers the technical connections needed to make the DAM the heart of AmerisourceBergen and their overall rebrand a major success.   

 “This is something that we’re still working towards. We have had a lot of success with the DAM, but one of the reasons we wanted it is because, like any other large corporation, you have all these different things, and a lot of them do the same thing. We wanted to have a single source of truth, and we’re working towards that. That’s a never-ending goal. There’s always going to be something else that comes down the line you want to integrate with. We have our content management system. We have all of our websites and digital platforms. We work with external agencies that help us with social media and other design things that we need.   

But really, the DAM, the idea and the goal of it is to be that single source of truth for those assets, for that information, so people don’t have to ask the question, ‘Well, where do I find this?’ As a designer for years and years and years, how many times have I gotten an email saying, ‘Do you have a logo?’ But it goes beyond just the logo. Now, those are up there, available for people. Now we have a vessel, a platform to push out new content that is pushing our brand, really helping build our brand.”    

23:50 – Signs of Success: How Do You Know When Your DAM is Gaining Ground? 

The hardest part of building a DAM is the initial setup. Overcoming this hurdle with your organization is always the last stand, the space between struggling and building a workflow of success. However, if done well, light bulbs start going off in the organization. When you’re on the other side of an uphill battle, you might start to see some early indicators, both quantitatively and qualitatively, that your mission is on the right path to success. Derek dives into his experience and what these indicators might look like for you.   

“Obviously, there are report dashboards of users logging in and uploading content, but I think just more anecdotally, the success that I see is in language. When I’m invited into a meeting, or I go to a session of a group that I’m not in day-to-day work with, and I hear them referencing it or their solutions being brought up.  

‘Oh, yeah, we should incorporate that into the DAM.’ or ‘I wonder if the DAM can help us with this initiative.’ Then I know it’s starting to spread a little bit. As a designer, you’re always going to get requests for things, but what we did is we banded together and said rather than give them the logo, here’s the DAM, and then they teach that to people, and then that trickles down.  

If you spend your time promoting it in the beginning and then sustaining that promotion, it grows. And that’s where I’m seeing the language change and just the reference to it and how people want to use it for other things, ‘I wonder if the DAM can do that.’ or ‘I wonder if we could do this?’  

And I get questions all the time now, not only can you give me a logo, but ‘Can the DAM do this?’ ‘Can we build that?’ And that to me is really exciting.” 

Key Takeaways    

DAM should be the core of your marketing initiatives and should be tackled first. Beyond that, you should never silo your DAM to the marketing team alone. You’ll often have multiple departments in sales, design, and product that will be using it for their own purposes. Gaining insight from these key stakeholders and giving them a voice creates an atmosphere of organizational buy-in that will really help you maximize the functionality of your DAM.  

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