Listen to Madeline Velez 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 Madeline Velez. Madeline, how are you?
Madeline: I am good thank you. How are you?
Henrik: Great. Madeline, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Madeline: My career in Digital Asset Management started over 15 years ago with the Yankee Candle Company organizing their digital merchandise assets. I then worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb with digital pharmaceutical assets and now I’m the digital assets specialist for the marketing and communications department at Shriners Hospitals for Children Headquarters in Tampa. In my new position, I played a key role in the implementation of a brand new Digital Asset Management system and I made recommendations on how the system would best fit our needs and that was HIPAA Compliant and that offered the right tools for our organization.
Henrik: Madeline, how does a hospital focusing on innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education use Digital Asset Management?
Madeline: Here at Shriner’s Hospital Headquarters, we use the Digital Asset Management system to organize all of our marketing materials. That includes our historic photos and videos, our photography for print and social media, our patient videos, commercials, and our consent forms. It’s also used to share files with our designers, our internal departments and externally with our 22 locations, the Shriners temples and our vendors.
Henrik: What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Madeline: One of the challenges in the medical field was finding a system that was HIPAA Compliant and that would safely store and protect our patient data. Another challenge is the change in processes and workflows within a department. When implementing a system, you have to help your users understand the value that the digital asset management system brings to the organization and the cost savings in the reuse of your assets. Over time, users will establish their own workflows and change can be troublesome for some. So it’s very important to offer continuous training either in groups or 1 on 1 so that they can adapt to the new workflow and become comfortable with using the new system.
Madeline: For our successes, I would say when a user adapts to the new system and you receive positive feedback from your users on how easy it was to locate and share files and how the system helped them reduce time in locating them, and the delivery process. Successes are also streamlining the processes and brand consistency. So we no longer receive requests that are manual and the work requests become automated. That’s definitely a success. It really changes the way teams work in a very positive way.
Henrik: And what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Madeline: My advice would be to keep up with the industry changes and how they benefit the organization that you work for. So continue to learn, take classes, join discussion groups and search the Internet. There’s a lot of very helpful information out there and ask a lot of questions. Even though I’d been working in this field for quite some time, I’m always learning from other DAM professionals. I can then take those learnings and apply them in my organization. So always take time to speak with your colleagues about their work and how the DAM system can help them.
Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Nick Felder. Nick, how are you?
Nick Felder: I’m good, I’m good. Great to be here.
Henrik de Gyor: How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Nick Felder: I’m probably a very non-traditional, adherent proponent, advocate of digital asset management. My background is production. Here, at Coca-Cola, I’m the global head of film and music production for the entire enterprise, all territories and all brands. I really come at it from a user standpoint of the person in charge of making the stuff that’ll go into the DAM, and also the person who would use the stuff that he would take out. I’m kind of coming at it from a much more practical standpoint.
I do not have an IT background. I do not have a technical background. I’ve learned a boatload about both of those along the way. That’s how I found my way into this space in really helping the company globally, Coca-Cola globally, move forward, digitize its processes and get on capable platforms that can be deployed worldwide, right? We’re not looking at Europe has one, North America has another, South America has a third, you know, an individual company in South America has a fourth, that kind of thing. Keeping us all in the same platform.
Henrik de Gyor: Nick, how does the world’s largest beverage company use Digital Asset Management?
Nick Felder: It’s a really good question, because it has evolved over the years. Our first foray into digital asset management was mostly about distribution and getting assets from one part of the world to another. I should say probably the single word that describes the strategy, really underlines everything we do, is reuse. It’s all about reuse for us. Reuse of work is where the productivity comes from, where the efficiency comes from, where the speed to market comes from and that goes across all brands, all channels, all methodologies really. Everything needs to turn into everything. That is the mantra we use around here.
If I take a still image that was originally intended for out of home and it ends up on my phone, it may end up being a digital image or at least being distributed on a digital platform, but that doesn’t change what it is. Inherently, it is still an image with rights, if there are people in it, frames, resolution, this kind of thing. That mantra of reuse really, really is the main thing, if not the only thing, the company is really looking for in doing that. That means distribution globally, all media, movie media, still image media, audio and interactive, that means being able to do that with rights management components.
Parallel to the DAM system, we have a global rights management system where we’re able to pay, actually extend the usage rights of any work that got made anywhere in the world, so that any other market, anywhere in the world, can reuse it if it wants to. We’ve got a way of paying those rights’ holders reliably in their currency, in their market, globally. Actually unlocking that was really the key, the hidden key, to standing up a viable enterprise-wide DAM platform. It’s got to be transactional. People are going to reuse stuff around the world. Once they can reuse it, they always need to adapt it.
As they adapt it, change out their packaging, change out their logos, change out their branding, however they need to tag it before they put it on air, because that’s where the rubber hits the road, and then reloading that adapted version back into the DAM, so we have a parent-child structure set up to accommodate that. Everything gets associated with the initial core created unit that was made. Probably the last piece I’ll add to that, in the reuse thing is … The other piece of reuse is not just reusing the thing as the thing it was made for, so again if I made a piece of out at home and it gets adapted, another market to be reused as more out of home, that’s fine.
I think if we approach this stuff more … If we tag it and bag it, right, going into the DAM, we can reuse it more like a commodity. Footage, images, audio, it’s really just a commodity. We try to think of it like lumber, where you can remake anything out of it that you want. Here’s some footage of a Coke and meals, that’s interesting. You’re really just looking for some beach … A still image for a beach thing that you’re doing on a web-related platform. If you can … If that moving footage was captured and stored at a high enough resolution, and there is indeed a beach shot while you’re eating food in the Coke and meals spot on the beach, you can still it. You can grab it. You can reframe it, and then you can reuse that image however you want. You can even frame out the people, don’t get involved with rights issues.
It’s all that reuse for what I described initially, and then the last piece is really approaching it like a commodity. That commodity aspect has been mind-bending for a lot of associates around the world. Our agencies tend to understand it much better when we direct them to the DAM and say, “Go look for this. Go look for that. You can find the images you need to stand up whatever application, microsite, whatever social conversation you’re trying to put forward.” Just being able to approach it like a commodity has just provided a lot of freedom.
Henrik de Gyor: It sounds like reuse is the main way to get the maximum return on investment to your point.
Nick Felder: That’s the ROI. That’s the only ROI that I’m really judged on here and so far, so good. Fingers crossed.
Henrik de Gyor: Excellent. Nick, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Nick Felder: Wow. You know, it’s also a really good question. To be incredibly practical and non-BS about it, I think, at the end of the day, it really all boils down to the user experience. At no point, at least in my travels and really in everybody I’ve ever spoken to, at no point will you ever be in a position to get senior management or budget holders to dive into the details the way you need to dive into the details, and work out all the parameters that need to be worked out for the thing to work. Authentication, permissions, etc, etc, etc, all that stuff that makes it work the way it does, people are just going to look at it like “does search work?” If I put in some terms and I get some awesome results, excellent. It works.
If I put in terms and I get wildly results, or conflicting results or all the rest of it, it doesn’t work and thumbs down. As far as successes, I mean it’s one of those things where like all the homework that … It’s like good comedy. Actually that’s a better metaphor. Doesn’t matter how much research you do, doesn’t matter where you set the location, who you cast, all the rest of that, it’s did I laugh? If you laughed, then it’s funny. If you don’t laugh, it’s not funny and it’s really that way for digital asset management as well, at least in my experience.
The main challenge is always the return on investment. I described ours previously as reuse. That may not be, and I actually know in a lot of the markets, that’s not necessarily the ROI that people are after but that’s certainly ours. I think just being clear, it’s not complicated. Man, I’ve seen some cases studies where things get so involved and you can just tell there were like three, five different consultants brought in. The language is confused. The outcome is confused. The measurement and the metrics are confused. Keep it simple, keep it tight. Give yourself an easy to judge against premise to the point where even if the numbers don’t necessarily add up, everybody can feel it in their gut, right? That things are moving forward, that things are now happening reliably, consistently and that use is growing amongst whatever your user groups are.
Clear, simple, easy to understand ROI. I think a lot of times, budget holders and super senior management, I’m going to use a bad word here, but see a lot of ‘bullshitery’ around technology that goes this deep, because it’s not familiar to them. They feel like they might be being hoodwinked. If you can keep it in common, normal, or regular, plebeian language, English or whatever your native tongue is, just keep it simple. You can go a lot further towards winning people’s hearts. Avoid corporate speak, avoid tech speak. Just keep it real, and you can go a lot further. I broke my pencil trying to stand up a few versions of DAM before I got my first one off the ground, so I can speak to that pain firsthand.
Henrik de Gyor: What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Nick Felder: I’ll talk to the aspirationals first. I would say probably the easiest, again things that I learned the hard way, which is that, from my experience here, it’s not all about senior management sponsorship. That’s a piece of it, and it’s not all about massive consensus on the worker bee level. You need both. If I can give any advice to anybody trying to get into this space or struggling in this space, it’s to work both those angles at the same time.
Presentations, videos, messages, experientials, hands-on trial, whatever you need to do for senior management, and the same thing probably couched very, very differently, so strategic messaging for seniors and much more tactical, demonstrable, how this will make your day better kind of messaging for the worker bees. Working from the bottom up and the top down, so that there is a mix of strategic messaging and tactical messaging, strategic benefits and tactical benefits that are clearly being demonstrated in parallel, I think that’s the path. One will always point to the other and say, “Yeah. That’s all great. That’s awesome up at 30,000 feet but how does it really … Where does the rubber meet the road? How does it really work?”
If you figure out really how does it work, you’re going to get the exact opposite. That’s awesome, but what’s the strategic play here for bringing the country or the region, the territory, if not the planet, together onto a single platform. Approach both, and I think you probably have your, simultaneously, and you probably have your best chance for success, your best chance for winning.
Advice to existing DAM professionals, this with a smile, I’m not sure I can give much. I think most DAM professionals have probably struggled through a very, very, very long road. They already know where they are. Sometimes there’s not a lot of talking to them and, again I say that with a smile, I’m barely a DAM professional coming from the production side. I would simply say some of the developments in the last 18 months in the industry, going towards semantic graph databases and, yeah, neural networks and machine learning, all the buzz words that we’re hearing around the industry right now, but there’s real stuff in there that can toss out real, tangible benefits that were almost science-fiction four and five years ago.
It’s like, “Yeah, that’s nice. That’s just not happening in the real world in my lifetime.” Lo and behold, it’s happening and that’s great, at a consumer, or rather at a commercial grade level, and that’s great. Just stay on top of your tech.
Henrik de Gyor: Thanks, Nick.
Nick Felder: Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much.
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Victor LeBon. Victor, how are you?
Victor LeBon: [0:10] I’m very well, Henrik, how are you?
Henrik: [0:11] Good. Victor, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Victor: [0:15] Henrik, I’m the Director of Marketing Technology at a company called ICP.
ICP is a company that started in advertising production which is we still do today. That’s my background and why I joined the company.
[0:28] Advertising production relies on the key principle of reusing and repurposing contents. In essence that its core business, but doing so in a way that is compliant and it complies with legal, regulatory, and brand guidelines as well. That’s the key principle of Digital Asset Management as well.
[0:46] I started working on the advertising production side. My first opportunity with DAM, was helping a client with their migration they wanted to have from one system to another. Then, I worked as a Business Director for Unilever ‑‑ one of our key clients in this area ‑‑ supporting their asset management solution.
[1:02] These days, I look after all of our clients here at ICP and any services supporting marketing technology, of course, of which DAM is a central part. My day-to-day role these days focuses around digital transformation. How to integrate asset management effectively within the wider digital transformation ecosystem.
Henrik: [1:21] How does a marketing communications production company use Digital Asset Management?
Victor: [1:26] That’s a great question. We use DAM in all aspects of our business, both the advertising production and marketing technology services. For the marketing communications and production side of things it’s essential for the work that we do. We have to ensure we reuse and repurpose the content for our clients. Effectively reuse their assets.
[1:47] We have to be compliant. We have to provide our clients with visibility and transparency both on the creative process, the review and approval process, as well as the final output.
[1:58] Touch points with DAM, is restricting master creatives, downloading those key assets, the whole MRM aspect which is approval and work flow, as well as uploading the adaptations, which we ourselves produce. Then of course, distributing it to the end points.
[2:14] ICP took a slightly different strategic direction from other marketing communication production companies in the sense that we don’t develop our own software. We very much wanted to remain agnostic and ensure we use whatever solutions best suited for our client needs.
Victor: [2:30] If a client has a solution, a DAM solution which they themselves have chosen, that’s best suited to their needs in our production areas we can also make use of that. We have a solution that we use in‑house but we are not wedded to it. We can make sure that whatever we chose and recommended is aligned to our client needs.
[2:46] For example, for one of our clients Diageo, we offer both production services and marketing technology services. That works really well because we have an overall understanding of the end‑to‑end process for the assets that we work with for our clients and both the creation thereof and the management thereof in the systems as well.
Henrik: [3:05] Victor, how do you see the role of Digital Asset Management in correlation with digital transformation?
Victor: [3:10] I think this is something that’s changed very much in recent times where digital transformation initiatives are happening everywhere we see. Prior to digital transformation, asset management was happening. It was really about finding ROI and finding efficiencies in the clients process. The key change now is that DAM, or Digital Asset Management is now no longer really optional.
[3:38] If a company wants to go through a digital transformation program, they really have to have DAM as part of their core pillar of their capabilities. You need to look at the end‑to‑end states, with digital transformation.
[3:50] You have to start off with sometimes what might be a very mature DAM system. Or if you’re starting at this from scratch, you might need to go on and start an new DAM system or consolidate, but you can’t have services that operate in silos. You can’t have technology that operates in silos, as well.
[4:06] No matter what your technology or supplier landscape in, digital transformation is really about bringing those together and providing a consolidated ecosystem, both of services, and technology, and capabilities to offer that seamless experience for the clients and customers.
Henrik: [4:23] What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Victor: [4:28] I’ll try not to be too controversial here. One of the biggest challenges that we’ve seen and I think this is probably the same thing for many companies like ourselves, is internal stakeholders at our clients, and working with lots of different parties. Indeed, they all have their different priorities, their different agendas, their different KPIs and the key things they need to try and achieve.
[4:51] That brings different requirements to the party, and different perspectives, I say, as on what is critical for success. I think the bigger the solution, first of all, the more stakeholders you have to involve to ensure success. That brings in itself its own challenges in getting those individual stakeholders to align. Of course, looking at the reward at the end of that is the bigger the solution, the more the stakeholders, the greater the potential benefit.
[5:16] One other key challenge which we’ve seen as well is technology never moves as quickly as the requirements. Everyone wants something and they want it now. By the time it’s available, they want something different. Looking at change, how technology is implemented, and how support around that technology is implemented, that will stand the test of time.
[5:37] Providing support to the business, and to the various department who uses this technology whilst at the same time continually improving the solution is a big challenge which I think we’ve got a lot of experience in doing. We’re quite excited about delivering that.
[5:52] In terms of successes, again, I’ll be slightly controversial and say that for me the biggest success is when we can get clients to the stage when we can step back and a lot of our core services are no longer required. We will have achieved our goal of embedding that solutions part to business as usual processes.
[6:12] We’ve helped work with software developers and business to make the system more refined or work towards making data gathering process much more efficient. We’re really starting to see success now as when that DAM system achieves a certain level of maturity, that it can really be integrated effectively, within the wider ecosystem.
[6:35] It’s like a well‑oiled machine that operates very effectively on its own sometimes and very independently from us. We’re happy to embrace that because we work almost sometimes to develop ourselves and the services we have into obsolescence because we want to deliver value for our clients at every stage. We know if we deliver value there and demonstrate that to the clients, then they’ll find something else for us to do.
[6:57] That’s something we are quite excited to work in partnership with our clients to deliver.
Henrik: [7:02] Victor, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Victor: [7:08] First of all, I’d like to say that this is a really exciting industry. I’m massively passionate about this. I get to quite excited thinking about working in this area. So much is happening in this space and this is going to be so fundamental to the growth and success of organizations everywhere.
[7:24] My advice would be have a passion for what you do and for delivering value and quality. Start by delivering value in your role in your job, in your company or whatever. Whatever area of the DAM industry that you work in, whether you’re on the client side, or the software vendor side, or the services side as we are.
[7:42] Then the opportunities grow. I think taking that approach of doing the job you’re been asked to do. Doing it really well and passionately, then the opportunities come to you because clients and partners can recognize you’ve got a really good investment in getting it right. Then after, you can grow it from there.
[8:03] The other piece of advice I would say is never stop learning. Never stop asking questions and being curious about the world around you. The technologies change, organizations change, the relationship between marketing and customers has fundamentally changed.
[8:19] Big organizations are getting this now, that they need to embrace change and making it part of their day‑to‑day. Embracing change all together, with all the different parties working together and being OK, with that makes for a really exciting journey that we can go on.