Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Leah Carlson. Leah, how are you?
Leah Carlson: I’m great. How are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Leah, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Leah Carlson: I’ve been working with DAM for over six years. My first role in the field was with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. I was responsible for application support and the IT department and I had the opportunity to roll out and manage DAM for the organization. And then two years ago, I took the role of Global Digital Content Manager at McCormick and here I get the opportunity to develop global content strategy, which means frameworks and best practices to promote synergy and consistency between our regional creative operations. And with that, I’m also responsible for our enterprise DAM and global content management strategy for our 30 plus consumer brands and our industrial flavor solutions organization. I am responsible for overseeing governance and roadmap for our assets and embedding that content management best practice into our region.
Henrik de Gyor: Leah, how does a global leader in flavor use Digital Asset Management?
Leah Carlson: McCormick uses the DAM as a global platform for all of the organization’s digital content, so photography, videos, brand guidelines, social content. It’s also our historical asset repository. We support the majority of all of our internal teams as well as our partners and agencies, including joint ventures and distributors. And, one of the cool ways that we use it is to better get our users to the latest content and information. We develop curated landing pages within the tool. In addition, we use our DAM to benchmark and measure digital performance by analyzing KPIs to drive efficiency and effectiveness within our content operations. So for example, this might look like optimizing our operations by shooting a video for one brand and then swapping products stills in simple elements to create content that work for the entire family of brands.
Henrik de Gyor: Leah, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Leah Carlson: One of the challenges that I’ve had for myself is that there’s no really one blueprint for marketing technology metadata since it’s such a new field. I find myself always trying to seek out the best practices and evolve our internal metadata to support the search and keep robust and rich information on the content for us to better connect with other tools and workflows within the organization. In addition, some of our various stakeholders obviously use a variety of tools to support their needs. And as you know at many others there’s always constant changes and the technology world. On the other hand, success is really seeing those downstream benefits to our pragmatic approach to solving these challenges. So for example here, one of the things that is so encouraging as when we receive great feedback that we have helped enable sales and marketing by serving up the right content and information at the right time and that has made their job easier and more efficient. And then
Henrik de Gyor: Leah, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Leah Carlson: For those considering the field, it’s really a collaborative and fun community. People help each other out and they share their information. So when you get into the field, you can learn from building these relationships and really taking those applied learnings and applying them into your own organization. The other thing that’s great about the DAM field is you get to wear many hats, so all in one day you may be a librarian, you might be designing user interfaces and you might be training and collaborating with different users and stakeholders. Also for other professionals in the field, one thing that I recently did was I took a formal change management training and those methodologies have been really an effective tool for me and assessing my stakeholder engagement, my project management, and my change management, which has enabled me to be more successful in the way that I roll out the various projects.
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Well thanks, Leah.
Leah Carlson: Thank you.
Henrik de Gyor: If you enjoy this and want to hear more about the Insight Exchange Network DAM Practitioners Summit happening in January 2020 in New York City along with a discount code, links to register and more details, visit the show notes at anotherdampodcast.com
Listen to Alex Hauschild talk about Digital Asset Management
Henrik: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Alex Hauschild. Alex, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Alex: I started out at UCSB Davidson Library working for Salvador Güereña. And he brought me on to do brochures and graphic arts and stuff for him and we hit it off up pretty good and during that time found out that a lot of my imaging experience from previous was what’s going to help him develop what was called a digital library at the time. And we did a couple of pilot projects and went from there and he encouraged me to get the… he tricked me into getting a library and information sciences degree and went from there. I ended up with the UCSB Art Museum doing architecture and design collections.
Worked with California digital library, developing some of their policy and content governance for the California Digital Library and Califas, which is basically a large multicultural archive online. And went from there. Around 2008, ended up going to…moved to Los Angeles, did a little trying to start my own publishing business for a while. They ended up with Motor Trend hot rod trying to save their archive and that was an amazing experience. And from there, just kept going through the entertainment industry, went to Dreamworks and from there Google.
Henrik: Alex, how does a multinational technology company use Digital Asset Management?
Alex: Well, that’s a crazy question. Basically, they use it in multiple different facets. There’s production pipelines. Might have heard the term creative value chains or creative value pipelines and these are basically the production from concept to final assets. And final assets actually can mean several different things. So they’re using Digital Asset Management all the way along the way and sometimes multiple case in multiple ways. They use it in project management and then they use it for distribution. I mean, the short answer is distribution in all cases. That’s what Digital Asset Management is all about. But depending on your user base, it depends on what that distribution is.
Henrik: Alex, What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Alex: That is a question that has two different parts. What are the challenges and successes for me and what are the challenges and successes in the field. For the field, I think what we’re seeing is more of a transition or more of a user-friendly attitude towards content management basically blends brand awareness and brand control with Digital Asset Management. We kind of transitioned into that from content management systems and just being…. seeing the potential for being able to distribute out to multiple users and multiple ways. Especially with… for the web or specifically for the web. For myself, it’s been a long road, so I’ve gone from creating digital library… Digital Asset Management systems before we had a term for them. I used to think of them as digital libraries and then kind of evolving with the industry as it transitioned into, I think basically going into distribution and then getting mixed with legal and I think maybe the challenges and obstacles we faced are now that we’re able to provide organized sets of assets on a massive scale, how can we protect the legal at that point and what kind of interaction with legal and licensing do we want to take? Or we the gatekeepers, are we the organizers? That’s really the fundamentals of the industry right now I think is can we transition as librarians, gatekeepers into a communicative role where we basically are helping users determine whether or not just where something is, but whether or not they can use it, so user control is a big deal now.
Henrik: Alex, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Alex: I mean, depending on which aspect of the industry they want to go in, there’s a big difference between academic and tech…technology fields where I’m at. I would get to know the marketing production, the process of it from content creation, which is at the producer level, at the project manager level and get to know how that works and how those assets are transferred from concept to creatives to postproduction. There’s so many tie-ins from asset producers who are creating images and handing them off multiple ways. Those handoffs become the critical mass for any assets, like who’s getting it, when they’re getting it and those are the timelines that you were working with. I think that those are really the things I would pay attention to if I was starting out. Now it’s can I get more involved in marketing and can I understand the marketing world because they’re the ones really creating these asset banks, really just get to know marketing agencies and how agencies work. It really becomes more of a people process when you understand why and when things are being made.
Listen to Nancy Price talking about Digital Asset Management
Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Nancy Price. Nancy, how are you?
Nancy Price: Great, Henrik, how are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Nancy, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well Henrik, I kind of stumbled into Digital Asset Management after working as a cataloging librarian at an academic library. It’s actually pretty funny because when I started I really wasn’t very clear on what I’d be doing other than applying metadata, but it turns out that I really performed that day to day activities that make Digital Asset Management magic happen. So on any typical day, I would upload assets into the system. I applied descriptive metadata so the assets can be discovered by our corporate users. I manage the assets for different stages in their lifecycle. I developed system workflows for onboarding new types of asset. I version assets. I provide user assistance and customer service. I fulfill requests for asset location and delivery. I document system processes and communicate them to users. I develop training materials and provide system training and I work with IT to troubleshoot the system and for upgrades and a UAT testing. So I can typically have a pretty full day and I really liked the variety that might position offers, so I do really enjoy Digital Asset Management.
Henrik de Gyor: Nancy, how does is a premier brand for girls use Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well, I think we use Digital Asset Management and any other corporation in our industry would. We use it to organize and store digital assets such as images, videos, graphics, and those are all used to support the creation of our content and for our marketing purposes. I’m actually very fortunate that our company were pioneers in Digital Asset Management adopting the system in 2006. At that time, when I started I was charged with gathering assets off the departmental servers and ingest them into our new Digital Asset Management system. The 27,000 files I found on the servers had file names like hair or blue dress and then, there were a duplicate file of the thing image that had totally different file names. So I know for a fact that Digital Asset Management has improved our productivity here and it’s my opinion that a digital file is just that, a file, but once it is entered into a Digital Asset Management system and metadata is applied, it becomes an asset because I believe it’s the metadata that gives it value.
Nancy Price: For example, if you had a system with 400,000 assets, but you didn’t have any metadata, people wouldn’t use the system because they had to page through every asset, define what they need, which isn’t very efficient. So I really do believe that metadata provides the access points to discover the assets, whether it be by brand or category or a year. And it also allows that asset to be discovered for purposes other than for which it was intended. And that will increase the value of the asset. So there’s plenty of reasons to use Digital Asset Management today and I believe that we are using it in a very efficient manner as we use it for workflow and for versioning and for managing other aspects of the system. Like when assets need to be retired or for usage rights, so we use it in a variety of ways and it is been very productive for us.
Henrik de Gyor: Nancy, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Nancy Price: Well, I would say that some of the successes is that when we first went into Digital Asset Management, our system was more of just a repository for digital assets with rudimentary functionality and now it’s really grown into become quite the dynamic graphical database with the ability to search, display, transform, share, download, and link assets within the system. Some of the challenges that we face are integration with other systems. For example, the ability to push assets from your DAM into your content management system or the ability to link your assets in your DAM to Adobe Creative Suite products such as InDesign. We’ve also had some challenges with vendor’s proprietary software limiting our ability to automate certain processes. We also have problems with vendors not really offering some of the features that we would like, like versioning. We had to do customization on our and have the ability to version the assets. It wasn’t something that came with our system, so there are some challenges in features that we’d like to see and have not yet been developed yet.
Henrik de Gyor: What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals to become DAM professionals?
Nancy Price: Well, you know, I have such a unique background. I really do believe that my master’s degree in library science and experience with international bibliographic standards for description access gave me a really solid understanding of the theory behind information organization and management, but I do know that an MLS degree is not very feasible for a lot of people, so my suggestion would be to seek out a course or a workshop in metadata standards for digital collections and learn about the different international metadata standards such as Dublin Core or metadata object description such as mods. The Visual Resource Association Standard, which is the VRA. Library professionals have been developing these standards for decades and we can really learn from the effort that they’ve already expelled in this area. DAM professionals can learn a lot from the metadata standards that exist today. I would also like to offer one other piece of advice is when you get that first Digital Asset Management job, the first thing you should do is locate that one source of truth for accurate data. When I started over 10 years ago, that’s the first thing I did. It took months to find it, but I did end up finding the fountain of truth and that way I know that the information that I am entering into my system is accurate. It’s correct data, and it’s coming from a reliable source. If you don’t have correct metadata in your system, users will give up on it and it ended up compromising your system and its efficiency and how it’s used. So I really, I’m a big stickler for accuracy. I also think that consistency is vital to any Digital Asset Management system. Your metadata should be well documented along with the parameters around how it’s applied. So this maintains consistency on how you will apply metadata throughout the system and throughout the years, and that is extremely helpful and especially when you’re. You try to automate processes. Consistency is key.
Henrik de Gyor: Well, thanks Nancy. For more on this, visit anotherdampodcast.com for 200 other episodes like this. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again.