Here are the questions answered:
How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
How does a unique destination built around storytelling and immersive experiences use Digital Asset Management?
What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Henrik de Gyor 0:00
This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Charles Duncan.
Henrik de Gyor 0:07
Charles, how are you?
Charles Duncan 0:09
Great. I appreciate you having me.
Henrik de Gyor 0:12
Charles, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management,
Charles Duncan 0:15
My career has evolved over a lot of media experience. I moved to Los Angeles many, many years ago. Ended up at Disney. Worked on several large enterprise DAM systems. Millions and millions and millions of assets and super complex data models and security models. And I just have a strong affinity for content pipelines. And I’m very drawn to the making of a commercial franchise and all the machinery that goes into a franchise.
Henrik de Gyor 0:50
Charles, how does a unique destination built around storytelling and immersive experiences use Digital Asset Management?
Charles Duncan 0:58
Well, when we talk about our experience, we’re talking about content. And when we’re talking about a product, you’re talking about organization. And so in order to be organized, you have to have some sort of managerial governance oversight of your content. So really, it’s about how can we organize our content, and use it in a way that immerses our customer into our brand and in our experience.
Charles Duncan 1:28
The interesting thing about where we’re at today, is that the experience portion is really becoming a formal thing. So we have, you know, experience officers, people who are working and their title has experience in it, no matter whether you’re going to theme park, or you’re going to a movie or you’re on your app, shopping, you know, shopping and e commerce, there’s an experience. So a lot of the leading companies nowadays understand that that is an experience and understand that, you know, they need to be reaching towards their customers with, you know, a consistent brand that immerses them. So, you know, we’ve talked a little bit about personalizations… personalization in some of these conferences. And it’s just, it hasn’t moved quite as much as I had hoped. But, but where we’re at now is I think we’re very conscious of the experience. And then that requires, you know, obviously, a pipeline that can support that.
Henrik de Gyor 2:33
Charles, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Charles Duncan 2:39
Well, on the challenge side, you really have, you know, stylistic time to market, like, when you’re talking about, you know, a large commercial franchise that you’re trying to get to in front of your customers as an experience, it’s how quickly can you get there. So the challenge really is time. Because if it takes too long, you’re talking about risk, because the market can change. And so sadly, a lot of the huge challenges right now is our ability to get from the production to the consumer. So I’ve been talking a lot about stylistic time to market, we’ve seen some advances on the business enrichment side. And for those of you who are wondering, in my perspective, business enrichment is, you know, when you take something from the DAM, so you have an image and you want to do a banner, and you want to do hero. So there, you know, there are certain breakthroughs that are happening to automate that process, but I look at that as business enrichment. It’s like, we want to pound out various ratios, and various layouts for different contexts. What I think is the number one challenge right now is actually upstream from that. It’s the style portion. It’s like, well, you know, when we’re making the image pretty and we’re making it within the context of the brand. So that’s where I think a lot of the success is coming. You know, very soon, it’s all about how you rapidly decrease your stylistic time to market.
Charles Duncan 4:20
So on the successes side, I think the, sadly, the COVID situation really put us, you know, full throttle into virtual experience, and virtual context. And so we saw a lot of acceleration in the digital space in the commerce online space, there’s tremendous acceleration going on there. And so DAM is really suited to support that. It’s just a matter of us actually putting DAM in the larger context of the pipeline, because it’s one piece of a very large pipeline. And so that’s where I think there’s a lot of things that are exciting now. I think the time is super exciting now because we’re finally able to start looking at data lakes, looking at big data, leveraging the information of our customers, and putting all that together to have a streamlined accelerant across the pipeline.
Henrik de Gyor 5:20
Charles, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Charles Duncan 5:25
What a great question. What I would say, is start looking at DAM as a creative tool. So many times in the industry, the talks around DAM, or the mindset around DAM is really business enrichment. As much as people may not consciously realize that they’re looking at DAM from the perspective of how do I take something from the you know, the art space, and organize it and distribute it, when you’re looking at it that way, you’re looking at it from a business enrichment standpoint. It is a very clear line, where it’s handed over from the artist, and then starts to be consumed as some sort of product or experience. So for those people who really want to excel in this space, I would say start to look at it from the creative perspective. Many artists that I have interfaced with really don’t have a great feel for DAM. They don’t really care about it, because they view it as some sort of commercial piece that is just business. However, if you pivot that, and you start to look at it from the creative perspective, DAM becomes a very large, powerful tool.
Charles Duncan 6:53
So for those people who are getting in, I would say, open up your context a little bit, take yourself from, I have a brand, I have an experience, I have a product, and I’m trying to get it to the consumer. And so then you start to look at the creative supply chain. And then inside the creative supply chain is the DAM. And there’s definitely ins and outs to that component. And if you can understand those ins and outs very clearly, you will massively accelerate in the space. One of the things I think that that we talk about as DAM enthusiasts is metadata. People love, I mean, there’s talks on metadata. And I love metadata as much as anybody but the art, the art side, they don’t care about metadata at all. The other thing I would say, is, metadata can transcend DAM. Metadata really belongs across the organization. And therefore, it’s really across the content supply chain. So when we’re talking about a creative pipeline, a metadata facet on that really needs to have the context of the entire pipeline, from conception to delivery, it happens to be that in DAM, because we were forced to organize creative content, we have a very, you know, good footing inside of metadata, but metadata really doesn’t just reside in the DAM.
Charles Duncan 8:29
So for those people wanting to get in, open up your perspective. Understand the entire pipeline, then start traversing down and looking how you can organize it.
Henrik de Gyor 8:40
Well, thanks, Charles.
Charles Duncan 8:41
Absolutely, absolutely. I appreciate you reaching out, I appreciate this. You know, this medium, I love it, that you’re doing this, this is wonderful. So where I think we’re at now, which is super exciting, is that we’re finally starting to see innovation emerge on the landscape. So at the Henry Stewart event, this year, I was able to unveil how there’s a very distinct inflection point in the content pipeline. And it’s the handoff where we go from the creative world, into the business world. And so if you put picture it on a linear, any on a linear line, there is a, you know, margin on the horizon, where we go from the creative world to the business world. And all that we have seen for years has been about that business point onward.
Charles Duncan 9:34
You’re talking about CMS, you’re talking about content delivery networks [CDN], we’re talking about layouts and how we enrich the content for delivery. But up until this year, we weren’t really seeing anything upstream being innovated on the creative side. So that’s where this year we were finally able to unleash a wave of interest. That starts looking at DAM purely from the artists perspective, imagine putting yourself in the artists’ seat through their creative tool. And they’re now able to start thinking that the the creative strokes that they’re making, the textures they’re making, the branded palettes they’re making are just seamlessly flowing all the way out into the experience, like literally from their desktop, they can now start to draw. And it just flows entirely through the pipeline. Where DAM is just like this conduit that’s taking us from the artistic world, into the business world. And so for the artists, this is fantastic. Because really, the artists get to now connect with their customer in a way that they haven’t connected before. Because what they’re doing is they’re able to go into their creative tool, make changes and see it immediately materialize as they’re coming in doing their comp… composition. And this is the first time you know they’ve ever been able to see this. So it’s fantastic that we are looking at it from the creative perspective, from the experience of where the experience where it manifests from, that they are able to then touch that piece of art and watch it flow in real time all the way out to the consumer.
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