The last thing you need when you’re ‘in the zone’ is distractions. Whether you’re editing video, designing logos or brainstorming ad ideas, creativity thrives on easy, organised and seamless processes. But all too often, marketers and creative teams lose precious time to avoidable problems – draining the energy, sapping the sparkle, or harshing the buzz of your best creative work.
It takes minutes to regain your flow after an interruption, yet people working with creative assets face them all the time. Whether it’s trying to find the right source files, fielding requests from colleagues, or pouring hours into confirming permissions, versions and signoffs, people who should be in the zone often end up lost in its mazy suburbs.
Poor tools, workarounds, bodges and bad workflows can leave creative teams with ongoing problems, too. With ad-hoc file storage and sharing, it’s hard to iterate content and manage it through multiple edits and approvals. And in the days of Covid-19, tools for sharing and managing content among distributed stakeholders are more essential than ever.
If creative asset management was a superhero, this would be its origin story. Creative asset management was born to support the workflows of teams working with creative content. From quickly serving up assets, through managing iterations, to distributing and securing final content, creative asset management platforms save the day for creatives, and help marketers and producers find and capture their best work.
What is creative asset management?
Creative teams often work with thousands of assets: fonts and photos; stock, archive or original footage; audio; illustrations; graphics; copy – and templates and guides for them all. Creative asset management exists to safely store and manage these assets, plugging them into your workflows without adding friction.
Creative asset management sits within the wider field of digital asset management (DAM), but it’s more sharply focused on the features needed by creatives working in media, marketing and production teams. As such, it’s no surprise that it’s sometimes called “the work-in-progress DAM”. A leading creative asset management platform will include at least the following core features:
- Secure cloud storage – Assets are secured and stored in the cloud, supporting distributed flows among homeworkers, partner agencies and regional teams
- Powerful search – Asset metadata is preserved, and can be added and augmented with batch or automated features. It’s quick and easy to find the right files
- Inbuilt version control – Assets can be tracked through multiple iterations, alongside source, licencing, approvals and other key data
- Seamless collaboration – Teams can organise by project, invite stakeholders, share content securely, use in-line and time-coded commenting
Marketing and production teams don’t need more complexity, so creative asset management solutions typically don’t include the full distribution or monetisation features of a DAM. The importance of this will be immediately clear to anyone who’s ever been saddled with a production platform more complex than the problems it was designed to solve. The focus instead is on removing the chaos from the creativity, and replacing your team’s cludge of homebrewed storage and sharing solutions with a single, on-brand platform.
Why is creative asset management so important?
High-quality content is usually the result of a careful dance between content producers and other stakeholders. Lost files, confused feedback or working with the wrong versions can get everyone out of step, and delay or devalue the end result. It’s vital for teams working to tight deadlines to keep a grip on their production and approval workflows.
For marketers, and other teams facing increasing pressure to achieve more with less, it’s also crucial to drive value. Done badly, the creative process doesn’t just yield disappointment – it’s a money pit that can swallow projects whole. As brands race to adapt to a fast-changing world, it’s more important than ever to keep marketing focused and highly effective.
For many marketing teams, creative marketing software – such as creative asset management or brand asset management – is an essential addition to the martech stack. Not just supporting the production process, the right platform ensures the integrity and consistency of fundamental brand assets. Version control ensures that distributed offices and partners always use the right logos, copy blocks and other materials, for example. Transparent support for approvals and signoffs prevents the nightmare of in-production or low quality work diluting the brand values.
Everything in its right place
Marketers and creatives are facing unprecedented pressure to adapt to the new distances of a homeworking world. As colleagues disperse, teams need help to maintain effective workflow. But at the same time, there’s a greater need to demonstrate value from any addition to the technology stack. Creative asset management can provide the virtual hub for creative workflows, driving better, faster and more hooked up results.
By storing everything centrally, creative asset management platforms immediately solve the major practical challenges of coordinated working between teams, contributors, agencies and other stakeholders. Combining cloud storage with secure, user-level access controls means you can easily collaborate – whether it’s with a videographer in Melbourne or a copywriter working from home in Lewisham.
Features such as tagging and file versioning support more effective team working, cutting confusion over who’s doing what to which file. This is essential when colleagues are based in different homes or time zones, while metadata and in-line commenting help people find the assets they want and focus on the work that’s needed. Meanwhile, the easy ability for anyone to find and retrieve assets means creatives aren’t wasting time digging out files for other people in the team.
For the wider business, creative asset management helps ensure the consistent use of brand assets. By serving up only final, approved logos, videos, copy blocks and other creative resources, you can rule out costly and embarrassing branding misfires.
By slashing bottlenecks, confusion, wasted time and lost hours, creative asset management platforms remove the chaos from media libraries and creative processes. The result is an explosion of time recovered, and creative energies ready to be focused on, well, creating. Teams become more productive, your brand or creative vision is amplified, and the power of what you’re producing only grows.
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