If you need to ask where an asset is, you've got a problem
Too many brands have issues accessing and distributing digital content today, and it needs addressing
For modern brands, expectations have never been higher to push content out to the masses thick and fast. Our audiences are always hungry for more, leaving many of us frantically creating content in increasingly imaginative ways in our attempts to resonate and stand out.
Being specialists in helping organizations manage their content, time and time again we see some of the world's biggest brands suffer from the same problem—namely finding and actually distributing all that company collateral.
The devil's in the details
The processes and behaviors in place typically don't match the speed or complexity with which we're expected to be working. It rears its ugly head in several ways. Sometimes, it's the assets you know about: the delivery of them could be better, and you wish there weren't so many devilish details along the way, but everyone's resigned to doing it, because that's how it's always been done, right?
But this problem pops up around the assets you don't know you need, until you need them. It's the small logo or spec sheet you can't for the life of you find, no matter how many places you check. You realize you should find it, but you can't. You realize things should be smoother, but they aren't.
It's not a great realization to come to. That awful feeling in your stomach of time and effort going by the wayside while the project waits for that key piece of collateral to surface.
Any of the following questions sound familiar?
- "Do we have a piece of content for..?"
- "Does our agency have the logo from our last campaign?"
- "Is this logo the most up-to-date?"
These questions are where efficiency goes to die. You create more work, and extend the time between when you first need something and when you'll actually have it.
When you're resorting to asking someone where an asset is, its typically symptomatic of one of the following four challenges...
- Hosting & configuration (no access because of where you are). Without a cloud-based central content library for these sort of things, it becomes really hard to open up access from anywhere. Employees are working remote now more than ever, and that's not to mention the vast network of freelancers, photographers, and consultants typically involved who exist outside a brand's four walls
- Permissions (no access because of who you are). It's a common problem when teams fail to establish permissions and user rights in their system. Too much access is as dangerous as too little. With no better alternative, a lot of teams resort to having all assets handled by a handful of media managers, who unwittingly become the gatekeepers and are soon flooded with dozens of requests every day
- Usability (you have access, but still can't find it!). When a cloud-based storage or digital asset management solution is in place, but end users are still going back to the gatekeepers asking for key files, it renders the solution (and corresponding investment) meaningless. The whole point is to enable the search & find behavior, not the "ask and wait" behavior.
- Adoption (you have access, but still don't want to use it). Failing on usability is typically the first step to low adoption of a system. In other words, they try to use the system put in front of them, and fail. Then they just skip using it altogether. End users ask for an asset, knowing full well it probably exists somewhere in the recesses of a convoluted server.
These are the maladies of brands struggling to up their game in creative operations. But when you see brands break through, it's a thing of beauty.
Finding THE ONE asset is so simple. We're saving time, we're designing more, and we're designing better [...] Other marketing managers are self-serving in the brand portal, saving my team a ton of time resizing images or sending the latest logoMichael Robinson
Creative Director at Nautilus Inc.
My time is no longer taken up by searching for folders for other teams in the organization. A simple first-time training and all staff are able to search and use assets on their own [...] now our staff around the world can access our full library of assets - they no longer have to go through the US-based communications teamMaggie Farrand
Senior Officer of Digital Media at Pathfinder International
If you have to go through a central gatekeeper to manually retrieve a critical asset, it's too late
We recently completed a study with marketing decision makers, and the top 2 most frustrating pain points around managing content was "our team gets too many creative requests and can't keep up" and "our content lifecycle takes way too long". This at a time when 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience.
We hear the good quotes and the bad ones all the time. We see the brands that get it, and also the ones that haven't yet; one thing that's become abundantly clear: if you're asking for an asset, it's too late.
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