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Another DAM Podcast interview with Brooke Holt on Digital Asset Management

Brooke Holt discusses Digital Asset Management




Henrik de Gyor:  [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Brooke Holt. Brooke, how are you?

Brooke Holt:  [0:08] Good.

Henrik:  [0:09] Brooke, how are you involved in Digital Asset Management?

DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team.

Brooke:  [0:11] DAM is a large part of my daily work. I’m a one woman DAM team. Our system, which we call SEAL, houses photos, videos, logos, marketing collateral, and all the typical files you would expect to see.

[0:24] I’m the only team member with DAM responsibility and we have employees all over the country, so I spend a lot of time training them, serving them, maintaining the health of the system.

[0:35] I created the taxonomy metadata fields, standards, workflow, user communication, and overall aesthetics of the system. I also have a number of non‑DAM responsibilities, but they are not as fun.

Henrik:  [0:46] Can I ask what SEAL stands for?

Brooke:  [0:47] It stands for SeaWorld Entertainment Asset Library.

Henrik:  [0:50] Brooke, how does a chain of marine mammal parks, oceanariums, and animal theme parks use Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [0:58] We use our system in three major ways. One is an archive. Our company is fifty years old. We have a lot of physical and digital assets. So there’s an archive area of our DAM, where we can store files that have historical value but don’t need to be accessed regularly.

[1:13] As a sharing portal. We have teams and partners all over the world. It’s vital to have a central depository in which new logos or key visuals can be stored by anyone with the appropriate permission level.

[1:25] Some of our events are held simultaneously at three different parks, so putting them in SEAL allows us to have one place. It cuts down on sending large emails or worrying about who may or may not have the most recent version of a file.

[1:38] We have two children’s education television shows that air on TV. Each week there’s a new batch of promotional assets for those and I can easily put them in SEAL and get them out to all the various people that need them. They can continue accessing them.

[1:52] The third way is as a development tool. This is kind of new for us. We use it for storage and sharing hub for projects that are under development. So in this scenario a very limited number of users have access to the files as they develop maybe a new show or attraction.

[2:09] It’s unlike the rest of the system which is really final files. It allows us to be able to share things with partners and vendors in a more secure area than just using Dropbox or any file sharing system.

Henrik:  [2:21] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?

Brooke:  [2:27] For me, the biggest challenges are overcoming bad user and past user experiences. I overhauled a DAM system that previously didn’t have standards, an accurate taxonomy, or modern features. Any user that had previously encountered difficulty with the system was hesitant to give it a second try.

[2:45] Another challenge I have is what to keep and what to delete. Everything does not belong in there. It’s tough to balance what should be ingested. Do we want all B‑roll, do we want all of our RAW files, do we not, and how long do we keep these active before we move them into archive? Those types of things.

[3:01] Lingo is a challenge for me. We have teams that fall within the zoological field, entertainment, sales, legal, and a number of other ones. They all use different terminology for things. A good example is that someone in the veterinary field might come looking for a manatee calf, but everyone else that uses the system is going to call it a baby manatee.

[3:26] Making sure that I’m accommodating all those options. We have a lot of internal abbreviations for our Halloween event, Howl‑O‑Scream. Are people going to search for Howl‑O‑Scream or they going to search for HOS and not find anything?

[3:39] Then some of the big successes that I’ve seen are empowering people to do their job. When a user is able to get what they need without asking anybody else for help, that’s a huge success for both of us.

[3:51] Also security, so without DAM, you know we have very little security. People can have assets wherever they want and we have no way to monitor what’s happening. We have a EULA in place for non‑users who receive files from the system to just agree to our terms and conditions.

[4:08] We can track anyone who has shared a file, downloaded a file. I can immediately replace things that are outdated. I can get very granular with the controls over somebody who can see something, versus someone else may be able to download that or of those types of things, so improving security.

[4:23] Also culture change over my last year and a half there, I’ve created a DAM culture that has gone from basically, “Like ugh, I hate this thing”, “I can never find anything”, “This is the worse”, to more like, “This is so much easier to use, oh my gosh, it made a PNG for me”.

[4:40] “So and so should be using this” or “The rest of my team should be using it.” This is still a work in progress. I certainly don’t hear these things every day. Culture change is a big success for me.

Henrik:  [4:54] I don’t think any DAM Manager hears wild reviews every single day.

Brooke:  [4:58] Yeah.

Henrik:  [4:58] No worries.

Brooke:  [4:59] I’ll take one every six months.

Henrik:  [5:00] That’s fair. What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people who inspire to become DAM professionals?

Brooke:  [5:07] I would say DAM is awesome. I’ve been working in this field for about ten years and a variety of industries. I do not have a library degree or an IT degree. I have a degree in Spanish and a Masters in Linguistics.

[5:19] The beauty of that is that you can have any type of education background, basically. The field is a good combination of many things. My passion is photography, helping people, teaching, art, grammar, I love arguing about commas, organizing language, and then technology.

[5:37] Still working with people and also working with technology. I fell into this field I think a lot of people at this point have just kind of fallen into it, but it’s growing a lot. One of the things that I would like to see professionally would be more standardization, DAM job titles, and departments.

[5:57] It’s really hard to find positions because they might be called content manager, creative services, a librarian, a systems engineer. It can fall under a variety of departments, so maybe it’s IT, a business department, or marketing. The reality is that any major company is getting more and more digital assets, so there’s great job security in this field.

[6:20] I would recommend anybody looking for a DAM job, to just apply. There are not a lot of people that have tons of DAM experience. There are so many facets that if you have experience helping people, organizing files, using a CMS system, or manipulating digital files, that might be good enough.

[6:39] A lot of people just fall into this DAM jobs. I say it’s important to enjoy working with a variety of people, being able to listen to people, having attention to detail, and be passionate about technology and creativity.

Henrik:  [6:55] Thanks Brooke.

Brooke:  [6:56] You’re welcome.

Henrik:  [6:58] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, go to If you have any comments or questions please feel free email me at

[7:09] For this and 150 other podcast episodes, including transcripts of every interview, go to

[7:17] Thanks again.


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Another DAM Podcast interview with Karl Lord, Lovisa Idemyr and Tom De Ridder on Digital Asset Management

Karl Lord, Lovisa Idemyr and Tom De Ridder discuss Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

    1. How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
    2. How does a global organization focused on furniture and housewares use Digital Asset Management?
    3. What are the biggest challenges and successes you have seen with Digital Asset Management?
    4. What advice would like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Karl Lord, Lovisa
Idemyr and Tom De Ridder. How are you?
Lovisa Idemyr: [0:11] We’re good, thanks.
Tom De Ridder: [0:12] Good, thank you.
Karl Lord: [0:13] We’re very well, thank you.
Henrik: [0:14] How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [0:17] Karl and I, we’re working for Inter IKEA Systems, which is the franchise
store of IKEA so for us it’s really important to safeguard all the intellectual
property and the media assets. For me for instance, I’m involved because I was
a project leader for the first Digital Assets Management and rotation with it.
Since then I’ve been working with additional projects related to them and also
the questions that start to pop up once you go into this DAM business.
Karl: [0:44] I work on the IT side so I’m responsible for operations and securing
that the services within the company are working as they should so that the
business has the right availability for the DAM solution.
Tom: [0:56] I am the CTO of a company called Stylelabs and we’re based in
Brussels. We had startups, we started out as a WCMS company but we gradually
moved to the dark side. The back office for marketing solutions and then
DAM is our main thing right now.
Henrik: [1:15] How does a global organization focused on furniture and housewares
use Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [1:20] We use it for a lot, and we even have multiple DAMS with them
because we are so many different IKE A companies. We as a franchise to work
we need to protect the brand and also secure intellectual property. We are
making sure that the officially approved assets are available in our DAM so
that we can make additional usage of the assets, so that we can use it for local
marketing, etc. [1:46] We are using it both for the global marketing which is more
about the IKE A catalog, and so on. Then we’re also enabling local marketing activities
because the retailers can click the assets and make additional assets for,
let’s say additional artwork productions based upon that. So we kind of provide
the original assets that have the furniture design, everything is “hunky dory”
and good. Then they can further utilize the assets.
Karl: [2:15] We also use them in addition for the marketing purposes, we use a
lower resolution version for 3D for internal requirements for commercial planning
and store design. We build in 3D complete stores before they’re actually
in the world. The 3D products which we have in the assets as in the DAM will
be used, placing within a 3D model of the store. It’s for the building and design
of the stores and for the retailers. [2:41] So when we go out and deploy a new
store, we’ve already gone through and seen exactly what the flows are. The
passenger, the traffic requirements and so forth, and where the products and
volumes are necessary. Put that all in.
Henrik: [2:52] Excellent. What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve
seen with Digital Asset Management?
Lovisa: [2:58] Well I would say that when we started this that we were kind of
a bit naive in terms of what DAM meant so it was kind of happily naive [laughs],
because we didn’t really understand what it would take from the business.
Everything from business to IT to infrastructure, and so on. We started off with
this great idea of having [laughs] the possibility to manage all the assets in a
nice way and being able to store and distribute that. [3:23] Then of course we
started a bit small having images, now 3D and product information. During this
roadmap basically getting to learn more about what is DAM all about, what are
the opportunities? A big help there has also been getting good support from
Stylelabs in terms of advising how can we use this technology in a way that fits
us. I would say that having good advisers, that has really helped us in that work.
Henrik: [3:51] Excellent.
Tom: [3:52] Generally speaking for Stylelabs, we’ve done other implementations
also. I can say that next to the technical challenges, the biggest challenge is
user adoption but it’s also the biggest reward. So if your community likes it then
the solution grows and you get back response which is great. So that’s the best
reward and the biggest challenge at the same time.
Lovisa: [4:14] For us for instance, we come from a quite scattered landscape,
having assets available at a dozen number of suppliers. So instead of people
having to find the right person at the right agency or production company, now
we actually know that we have at least one copy in our DAM, and we have a
good support organization for that. [4:38] It’s also a security from a corporate
point of view that all the assets are safeguarded, and it’s not so dependent on
only one person knowing who to call and so on. So that has been quite a reward
I would say because it’s actually working. People are more happy with getting
access to the assets and now it’s getting more popular also to talk about DAM
and intellectual property.
[5:04] Everyone is quite happy that the basics are in place because that’s the
biggest hurdle I would say, getting commitment, getting buy in, getting investments
and so on.
Henrik: [5:12] Of course.
Tom: [5:13] Doing it one step at a time is actually the way to overcome this. Take
it easy, the maturity of the client or the customer plays a big role in how much
we, as an integrator, allow in a first phase. We always try to say, take it easy because
big bang solutions are ready to fail. You shouldn’t try too much at once.
Henrik: [5:34] Makes sense. Baby steps.
Karl: [5:36] Yes.
Lovisa: [5:37] It is a lot to cope with in Germany, within IT, within business. So
many things that are popping up. So basically when you’re doing those kind
of questions, you have to drive additional question marks within the company
that no one has addressed so far. So you’re getting into taxonomy, archiving,
lifecycle management, you name it, search tags. [6:01] All the kind of things that
make sense to put together in a nice harmonized way but no one has really had
the chance to do that in the past. So I would say stepping into DAM that’s also
stepping into all those open, let’s say small silos. [laughs] Getting that into one
big you know [laughs] .
Henrik: [6:20] And what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals
and people aspiring to become DAM professionals.
Lovisa: [6:24] I would say, I went to one of the global DAM events four years
ago as a kind of “DAM for dummies” for me. It was totally new to me. That I
found really good because I got quite a broad input because you had the business
track, you had the technology track, and so on. Also being able to speak to
the people behind the project. Both the successful ones and also the failures.
Henrik: [6:49] Exactly.
Lovisa: [laughs] [6:50] Which was even more interesting. Basically getting to
know people, also being able to listen to, what were the pitfalls. Can we avoid
doing the same mistakes? Are there people there that can help us with certain,
let’s say parts that we cannot manage within our organization? So I think a kind
of mixture of trying to understand what you want to do. [7:13] Having good advisers
on board and having a good network of people that you can call and say,
“How do we manage this? How do you do that?”
Henrik: [7:21] Excellent.
Karl: [7:22] Yes, having that advisory board and being able to get that feedback
about the good and the bad. What’s good about being here now this time
around is that we’re now able to present our success and our discoveries back
and contribute now to the other people working with DAM. Having had the
access to the information now being able to contribute information back is a
good thing.
Henrik: [7:44] Excellent.
Tom: [7:45] I think what’s interesting also in this DAM space is that it’s almost in
between marketing and IT. An impossible bridge to make most of the time but
that’s the beauty of it that you open up your eyes and you hear the stories from
both sides which I think is a rich experience for anybody to have.
Henrik: [8:08] Excellent.
Karl: [8:09] If you’re going into practical requirements, for example, I would say
preparation, preparation, and preparation to go into a project. Really know exactly
what exactly it is that you want to accomplish, and what the requirements
from the users are. Don’t just build a DAM because it’s cool to have DAM. If
there’s a need, use case, take that, establish and use that as your grounds for
going forward.
Henrik: [8:30] Great points.
Lovisa: [8:31] I think also, in terms of a rise or looking into what we can gain
from it. I think not only calculating what does it cost or what do we gain, but
also say that it’s not really a choice, it’s really necessary. There isn’t really a, “No
we can’t do this.” So it’s more about saying, “What can we gain over time?”
[8:53] So there’s a basic implementation first, and then you can do anything to
gain leverage based upon that so the more you add, of course, the more return
on your investment you will get. It’s really nice to have the foundation in place
and now everything we add to that will just be beneficial to the business.
Henrik: [9:11] Excellent.
Tom: [9:12] I could add something about technology if you want. So technology-wise
I would advise to be open for anything and pick the best in breed of specific
use cases. Don’t try to go just with one silo big thing. Just open your eyes,
talk to a mixologist, and he or she will help you get your solution together.
Henrik: [9:37] Thank you.
Lovisa: [9:38] Thanks.
Karl: [9:38] Thank you.
Henrik: [9:39] For more on this and other Digital Asset Management topics, log
on to Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom
and iTunes. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to email me
at Thanks again.


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Need a Digital Asset Management Consultant?

Another DAM Consultancy can help. Contact us today.