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Digital Asset Management = Noun and Verb

February 28, 2023

Digital Asset Management = Noun and Verb

Written by Lindsey Hawkins

Digital Transformation Leader | Content Coach | Art and Design Educator | Entrepreneur


Digital Asset Management denotes two things:

  1. A technology solution where digital assets are managed 

  2. The practice of managing digital assets throughout their lifecycle

DAM as a Noun

DAM as a noun is the digital asset management (DAM) technology solution alone. That DAM technology solution is the single source of truth for brand and marketing assets in the form of high-resolution, editable source content. Content types can vary, but typically include rich media assets that have business value for both reference and reuse. 

A well-managed and high-functioning DAM solution can play well with some techy-friend solutions in a larger, integrated content ecosystem. That’s where the definition of DAM starts to evolve, and we’ll address that later.

DAM as a noun gets blamed or rewarded without totally earning it. Clients will ask: “Should we just burn it down and start over?” thinking it’s all the fault of that technology solution. The answer is no 95% of the time. However, this “burn it down” concern is a sign the business did not conduct a DAM and content needs analysis first before selecting their DAM vendor.

DAM as a Verb

DAM as a verb is the digital asset management (DAM) experience overall. The digital asset management processes involve a creative content pipeline.

From the Very Beginning, That DAM Verb is Happening

It all starts with that creative brief and idea. When the content idea hits the approval workflow experience, the DAM experience also begins. Note that this often is a separate workflow tool from your DAM noun. Agency partners tend to own this part for global enterprise processes and tools as well.

Double the Fun by Leveraging Your DAM

Curate and archive are where the DAM verb and noun both come into play. Depending on where the business is on the DAM journey, there may be one DAM system or multiple DAM system solutions.

For example, the business may have a legacy solution for packaging graphics that’s managed by an agency partner and another DAM that is from an acquired brand that has its own content ecosystem. Does this get messy? Hell yes, it does. This is why it is mission-critical to have the right team managing the DAM experience, driving the two-way conversations between these different teams to prevent silos. Stacked DAM solutions aren’t the enemy – stacked silos are.

More Content, More Channels, Less Hands

It’s showtime and that big, beautiful content campaign the business spent big bucks on must go out into the world. Are the right processes in place to connect the DAM to the Product Information Management (PIM) system? Is the team doing it manually, but the boss thinks it's magic?

Remember that DAM team? They also need to be close friends with the master data team. Together they will be DAM verbing to ensure the curated content can be analyzed. The friends over in the e-commerce marketing wing will need some DAM verbing too so they can manage the retailer demands of specs and publication tools by channel.

DAM Verb Vibes

When looking at this as the verb side of DAM – consider the deeper impact of digital asset management. At a foundational level, DAM as a verb is about the content search experience. The DAM verb vibes are always asking: “Is the right user experience being provided via the taxonomy module, metadata management, and content quality control processes so users can find their stuff?”

The Bottom Line on DAM as a Noun and a Verb

When a business has great DAM verb vibes, they can:

  1. provide a great DAM search experience that saves valuable employee time internally and for external creative partners

  2. manage the brand integrity by the efficiency of building and reusing the right content at the right time for the right channel to the right audience

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