The Top 3 Reasons Creatives Need a DAM

As a creative contributor, you have the best job in the world, right?

You get to start your day in a studio working on brilliant pieces of art with every resource you could possibly need at your fingertips. There’s coffee flowing, music streaming, and production of abundant pieces of award-winning creative. Right? Wrong!

More realistically, you probably start your day in some sort of project meeting – whether it’s a quick standup or an hour-long project review–trying to figure out how work is going to get done and who has time to do it. Or maybe you get to kick off a new project and figure out that plan.

As your day goes on hopefully you’re able to break free from the meetings long enough to actually work! But when it’s time to get started, you end up spending a bunch of time finding the assets you need or wondering if the licensed image you want is still legal to use, or even worse, re-doing something you’ve already done because you can’t find it. Oh, and let’s not forget about “the fire drill”–searching for work you already completed!

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. It only takes a few minutes to take you out of your creative groove. Once you spend time in the abyss of files and emails and rework, it’s not only frustrating, but also emotionally draining. You’re definitely not going to do your best work–if you even have the energy to work on the project at this point. So, how do you get your creative groove back?

Enter Digital Asset Management (DAM). You’ve probably heard of this. If not, or if you could use a refresher, I recommend this blog on DAM.

Maybe your company has a DAM, or some version of technology it calls a “single source of truth”. You are probably wondering if this is REALLY going to solve your problems. Do you truly need this?

There are lots of benefits to a DAM that you probably don’t need to worry about in your role, but here’s 3 reasons why creatives definitely need a DAM.

Reason #1:

  • Creative Flow & Productivity: I can’t say it enough… no one wants to spend their day re-doing work, searching for assets, worrying about if they have the right logo, boiler plate, or product image. This is a total drain on creative energy. Creatives minds don’t want to sort through loads of edits and try to determine where they are in the process, who wants what change, and what’s been done so far. A DAM can help centralize requests so the entire team can easily review and collaborate.The best DAMs remove the need for staff to post and deliver files to multiple locations, and eliminate costly errors and inefficiencies caused by having different versions of the same file in multiple places. You can use a DAM to create easy-to-share spaces so that other teams, partners, or clients can easily find content. Save yourself from burning out your top talent. Help them be productive – a productive team is a happy team!

Reason #2:

  • Ultimate Version Control & Rights Management: Ever find that perfect image only to discover in legal review that it’s no longer usable? Or maybe your logo has been tweaked and needs to be updated on everything – yes, all 300,000+ assets in which it’s used. Managing that can be a total time-suck and creatively draining. This is NOT what creative people should be spending their time doing. Yet, these types of situations happen all the time. Think about how freeing it would be to have this resolved permanently.Then there are situations like a rights-managed image being used incorrectly, and the backlash, brand damage, fines, and other very real and life-changing consequences that come along with those types of mistakes. For example, Chipotle who was sued for $2.2 billion for improper use of a photo or Michael Jordan being awarded $8.9M for an unauthorized ad in Sports Illustrated that Dominick’s Finer Foods used of his image. By offering permissions-based access to digital content as well as digital rights-management controls, a DAM helps avoid common problems such as publication of outdated, off-brand, or unlicensed creative assets. This helps improve the quality of your brand communication and even mitigate business risk. Having a DAM will solve for these types of problems, and free creative people to do what they do best – be creative!
    For more on Digital Rights Management, check out this blog.

Reason #3:

  • Ability to Manage the Content Lifecycle: The term content lifecycle encompasses each phase a piece of content goes through—from ideation and planning to creative execution, distribution, and performance.DAM not only stores your assets, it gives you a place to start your ideation and connect with your creative tools of choice – e.g. Adobe Creative Suite – allowing you to quickly start projects and find what you need, so that “production” is “productive”, not exhausting. It also makes the final output easy to share, distribute, manage, reuse, and retire. This improves the experience internally as well as the experience externally. Additionally, all reviews and annotations happen in the DAM – so you don’t have to go back and search for comments and mark-ups. All the directions are in one place, at your fingertips! Seriously, think about that for a moment – how great would it be to not have to hunt down, gather, and sort through everyone’s feedback. It’s all there when and where you need it. You can also view things side-by-side so you can see what was changed and the past iterations. Once your work is complete the final art can be stored, distributed, and monitored with the click of a button! It’s that easy!

Break thru the barriers in your organization. While a DAM can’t win awards for you, it will help your creative energy flow. It’s not going to eliminate all your meetings, but it will help eliminate bottlenecks, and all the back and forth. It won’t magically make assets appear – or will it? I have personally seen creative teams transform before my eyes with the implementation of a DAM and become inspired again.

On the flip side, I’ve watched talented creatives burn out because all their energy is going to the wrong things and award-winning creative teams fall apart in this new world of marketing as they flail around trying to find what they need to do their jobs, redo work, and struggle to keep up.

The bottom line is that DAM is a game changer and essential in today’s fast-paced world.

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