How creating content can go horribly wrong.
And how to fix it.
Imagine this.. You’re part of a creative team working on creating the content marketing material for a big music festival. A Coachella, Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits type of thing. You’re stoked. It’s a pretty cool project to work on and the lineup is sick (maybe you’ll get to watch Beyoncé, who knows?). Not to mention all the artwork that you might get to create.
You get the first project brief that scopes out the project with to-do’s. You quickly scan the brief before the project kick-off:
- 450,000 people attend the event each year
- You’re working on this together with several other companies: Publishing, PR, events, media, experiential, agents and managers - to name a few.
- Project deliverables include everything from photoshoots to interviews to festival illustrations to ticket designs:
- Artist/celebrity photoshoots
- Press (Rolling Stones piece)
- Festival assets (posters, festival map, leaflets, ticket designs etc)
- Promo material (t-shirts, apple music album launch, VIP celeb competition)
- ...the list goes on.
All good, you think, you can do this.
You have your first kick-off meeting. There’s 20 plus people in the room all from the various companies. Words like “communicate”, “work together” and “quick turnaround times” are stressed and you smile and you nod because you know that’s part of what makes a project as seamless and successful as possible.
This is what happened because you didn’t have a Digital Asset Management system
You started working on your project after waiting roughly two weeks for the festival look and feel to be delivered. Agency X’s excuse to not have mailed it to you earlier is that they had the wrong email address and were still brainstorming and finalizing concept. At least the designer now has the right colour palette, but requests the various font installation files with all its formats.
You email person X who refers you to another person x at another agency who forwards your email to someone else who sends you the file over a third party-cloud sharing service – while you were on a short leave. So you got back to the office, the designer is still waiting for the files (person x kept the designer off the email thread), and now your link has expired... Time to request those files again.
In the meantime the PR agency has asked for the photo of - say Beyoncé - for the piece that will feature in the Rolling Stone magazine. You don’t know which photo they are talking about and don’t have the photographer’s details. The asset is hard to find - you’re thinking it might be saved in the wrong place. Also, why are they contacting you?
The illustrator then says the file version they were working on got lost, and needs an extra few hours to complete the task. This can’t happen, because they need to send the illustration files to the people who will be doing the street pole ads and there’s a strict deadline for these to be printed.
Not to mention some more emails got lost, the large files take forever to transfer over the third party service, the agent still need to approve the Beyoncé photo and what started out as a cool project to work on, is now making you grind your teeth without you even noticing.
That was because you didn’t have a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution.
This is what happened because you had a Digital Asset Management system
Creating, managing and distributing files now followed a logical sequence, with each deliverable reinforcing the last.
To start off with, the festival’s organizers created an account in their Digital Asset Management solution, that’s accessible via a web client. With this link you now have access to view certain folders within their DAM solution, and can create and edit files (Photoshop. Illustrator, InDesign) in other folders.
The festival has been running for years and they have some hundred thousands of assets saved on their DAM server that you can reference for creative inspiration. This includes versions and final versions of posters that have been used to market the festival before - giving you a good idea of what the festival’s creative director might be looking for.
Part of now working with the DAM also includes having access to the festival look and feel and font installation files that Agency X uploaded to the DAM. Also, a quick search now helps you find the right imagery and logos that lets you and your team start with creating copy and illustrations for those street pole ads right away. No need to send out an email requesting this.
Aside from the great benefit of having all relevant materials in one place - and unlimited storage - you now also can create and organize your own folders. Like creating an inspiration folder with creative ideas, and a separate one for design only.
This also allows you to collaborate much more easily with everyone (and we mean everyone) working on this project. In the design folder you’ve added PSD and InDesign files that can be edited easily due to the built-in “Creative Connector” that connects the DAM to any desktop application you use for file creation and editing.
With this connector, what specifically saves you time is that you don’t have to manually download and upload files from the DAM when working on it - the files open straight from the DAM into their native applications. And when having asked the illustrator to make small colour changes to the images saved in the DAM, you didn’t have to write a brief or send an email - you simply commented on the image saved in the DAM for them to review.
Added to that, when the illustrator (who also works in the DAM) made changes to images, these are automatically updated in all collateral where the image was used because the image was linked to the design. And in case the Art Director prefers the older illustrated version - you can simply revert back to the original versions because of a feature called “version control”. Nice - you can make as many changes as you like and your original designs with all their versions will always be there.
Not to mention - the PR agency also had access to the final files in the DAM and didn’t make their problem, your problem. You didn’t have to send the same email to various people all requesting for the same thing, and you met your deadline ahead of time thanks to time saved here and there that all added up.