Brandfolder alternatives: which DAM is best for your business?

Lorraine Forrest-Turner
11
minute read
March 30, 2023

“The #1 Digital Asset Management Platform for Enterprise Usability.” That’s how Brandfolder describes itself on the home page of its website. And our research findings wouldn’t disagree.

If you’re a marketing or creative exec for an enterprise business like Zoom or McLaren, Brandfolder could indeed be the perfect digital asset management (DAM) system for you. It has a massive library of features, most of which have been designed for huge organisations.

But if you work for a small or growing business, Brandfolder could end up like that sophisticated microwave or washing machine you bought—an expensive and complex tool you only ever use parts of. In which case, you’ll want to weigh up how Brandfolder compares to other DAM systems.

And to save you having to go through umpteen review sites, we’ve done a deep dive into Brandfolder and its competitors, read hundreds of customer reviews, and put our findings in one neat place so you can make the best decision for your brand. (And yes, we’ll be comparing our own DAM system, Dash, which is built for growing brands 😇).

Pros and cons of Brandfolder

We’re all for making life that bit easier here at Dash so we’ve summarised the main pros and cons of Brandfolder. Let’s get into it shall we?

Brandfolder pros

Overall, Brandfolder is big. It’s used by big brands such as Slack and Mastercard. It provides a huge range of extras as well as standard digital asset management features. It’s also super speedy when importing and exporting large media files.

There’s a massive range of features

We lost count trying to see how many features Brandfolder offers but we got close to 100, broken down into 14 categories. These include ‘Ingesting and Storing’, ‘Branded look & Feel’ and ‘Organization & Curation’. You can do everything from storing and finding assets to editing, sharing and understanding how they perform. Perfect if you’re a large enterprise with tons of assets and users.
 
Use multiple options for filtering, tagging and sorting

With its advanced AI-powered search, Brandfolder lets you file and search your asset library by different criteria, including product SKU, performance and popularity. This could be useful if you have high numbers of people accessing creative files using different search criteria.
 
Keep creative control when collaborating across teams

Brandfolder gives your team the ability to customise your assets while retaining your creative control. Your teams can create branded materials with templating tools and content. It also integrates into existing workflows such as Smartsheet and Workfront.
 
Get asset analytics and user insights

Brandfolder’s analytics tools let you export data on every aspect of your assets. You can see who’s been using what, where, how often, and what for. You can even monitor your top performing images, videos and audio filesD as well as see who’s been downloading your assets.
 
Send your assets to print

If your retailers, distributors or colleagues need to print your assets on the other side of the world, you can ensure consistent quality with fast, local, on-demand printing straight from Brandfolder. A useful feature if your brand needs printing services.

Brandfolder cons

As is often the case with many large DAM solutions, Brandfolder’s strengths can also be its weaknesses. The sheer breadth of features and capabilities can make it a little cumbersome.
 
Big learning curve

Many people find the initial set-up and on-boarding long and complicated — particularly if they have thousands of assets. Also, with so many different features, there’s a lot to get your head around. Getting used to the structure can be tricky and you might need to find some creative ways to get it to do what you want it to do. You’ll probably need dedicated teams to train new people as they join.

 For example, Tracy isn’t happy with the amount of work needed in the back end:

 “The biggest challenge is finding what I need quickly. As a small startup organization, it's tough to tag thousands of images in a way to make a search quick and easy. If you don't have the resources to tag and sort, Google Drive or intranet shared folders might be a more cost-effective option.”

And Chris is still figuring out ways to make Brandfolder do what he wants it to do: 

“In the beginning, getting used to Brandfolder's structure was a little tricky. We spent hours with our account rep on training our team on how to get around Brandfolder. While it's still not 100% where we had hoped to be, we're figuring out creative ways to make Brandfolder do what we need it to do.”

Tricky search and navigation

Most of the negative comments about Brandfolder relate to search. With so many different search parameters, Brandfolder can bring back irrelevant results—especially when searching for specific file types like PDFs. Filters can be a little tricky if a file’s data isn't inputted exactly as it should be. If you don't have the time to spend tagging and sorting your assets, you might want to opt for a simpler and cheaper solution.

 One graphic designer says:

“The page navigation is quite annoying. It's not always intuitive to click for the next page and navigating can be a little annoying. It would be nice to see some other ways to navigate.”

Tags are not intuitive

When adding new assets, Brandfolder doesn’t score highly on auto-tagging. Customers say that sometimes it’s intuitive enough to pick the tags they need, but for the most part the auto-tags need to be manually adjusted and they often lead to confusion. This is time-consuming, especially for smaller businesses with fewer people.
 
Brandfolder’s pricing is expensive

Brandfolder doesn’t display pricing on its website. You’ll need to request a demo so Brandfolder can find a “solution best suited to your needs”. However, our research suggests that costs range from around $1,600 a month to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, depending on the solution you pick and the complexity of your business demands. Many people say that some of the features they want are only available in higher-priced packages – but they don’t want to pay for the other features they don’t need.
 
One small business user likes the concept but feels Brandfolder is for enterprise accounts:

“Seems to be geared toward Enterprise scale accounts. Convenience has a cost.”

Thumbnails are too small

Another common complaint about Brandfolder is how you view your assets. It’s not always easy to see them. Thumbnails don’t always appear to fill the entire space, or they look imperfect and pixelated. It’s also difficult to see many images on a page. You have to scroll between multiple pages to find what you’re looking for.

One user finds scrolling irritating

“I was hoping to have something where we could divide into folders and then place product information into those folders. Having to scroll and scroll to get to the item you need is kind of irritating. We have to scroll through the photos section. Then we scroll through the product videos. Then scroll past the presentations, then scroll past... you get the picture.” 

Alternatives to Brandfolder 

Dash (for SMBs and growing brands)

Dash (that’s us) is a better fit for small brands and growing businesses. It provides a single location for different asset types and makes it super easy to search and share your images, videos and marketing content. And it’s affordable. Prices start at just £79/$109 a month. Scoot down to read our comparison of Dash versus Brandfolder. Or read our guide on digital asset management for small businesses to get the full lowdown.

Canto (for middle market companies)

Canto has several plusses for bigger organisations who don’t have the budget for Brandfolder. It too provides branding capabilities and detailed reporting. Although, starting at $600 a month (or $7,200 a year), it’s still pricey. Also, some customer reviews suggest there are a few issues with the platform, including its ease-of-use. We’ve compiled a thorough Canto comparison if you want more detail.

Bynder (for enterprise brands)

One of the most established DAM systems on the market, Bynder is also ideal for enterprise businesses. Like Brandfolder, it’s used by big brands such as Five Guys and Boohoo. It works well for large companies who need to send digital media files all over the world. It’s also less expensive than Brandfolder, a basic Bynder package will still set you back around $450 a month. You can read more in our full Bynder comparison.

Widen (another option for enterprise businesses)

With brands such as Dyson, New Balance and Energizer using Widen, and annual subscriptions costing $29,000 a year (no, we didn’t accidentally type too many zeros) you get a good idea of its target customer. Widen encourages its users to “Take the guessing game out of your workflow with the cloud-based Widen Collective”. The focus is on ‘collective’. Widen enables big companies to “send content anywhere” and “accelerate workflows”.

PhotoShelter (for creative workflows)

Used by both brands and photographers, PhotoShelter certainly looks good. Its tagline “transforming the way creative people work” sums up its main features and benefits. Focusing on visual brand storytelling, it very much pushes its creative workflow capabilities. However, some customer reviews suggest it’s pricey, especially when it comes to giving new people access to basic DAM functions.

Dash versus Brandfolder: which is better for your growing business?

Let’s drill down to the main features of both digital asset management systems and see how they stack up.

Dash vs Brandfolder: number of features

Brandfolder’s website lists nearly 100 features. That’s a lot of stuff to digest – especially if you don’t need most of them. Plus, they offer services like web-to-print that only certain large businesses might want.These are things that you’ll end up paying for that you may never use.

At Dash, we focus on the DAM features small and growing businesses need. You can use artificial intelligence (AI) tags and fields to help you quickly search for visuals. You can collaborate with freelancers and agencies by giving them feedback on their assets. And deploy your content seamlessly to your marketing channels. 

Take a look at the core digital asset management features that Dash offers (all for just £79/$109 per month). ✨

Dash vs Brandfolder: price

Like many enterprise DAM providers, you only find out how much Brandfolder is likely to cost you once you’ve sat through a long and complicated sales call. Yawn.

We believe small and growing businesses have better ways to spend their time. So, we’re transparent about our pricing which starts at an affordable £79/$109 a month. “£79/$109 a month? Does that mean there are hidden extras and we’d actually be paying a lot more for anything above the basic services and just a few people accessing the system?”
 
No Siree. With Dash, you get all features and unlimited access from day 1. Our bundles are based on the number of assets you store and your monthly downloads. In other words, you only pay for what you use. There's even an unlimited bundle if you don't want any download restrictions. 

We know money is a big issue for our clients – that’s probably why they voted us Best ROI for Small Businesses. 😇

Brandfolder, on the other hand, charges from around $1,600 a month up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. That’s because its core audience has tens of thousands of users across multi departments. These teams need complex user permissions and creative workflow support that typically come with bigger brands. If you don’t, why would you pay for gear you don’t need?

Dash vs Brandfolder: onboarding

Once you’ve made the decision to use a DAM, you want to get up and running ASAP. You don’t want to have to spend weeks learning how to create folders, custom fields, permission groups, search tags, etc.
User ratings on G2 score Brandfolder lower on ‘ease of set up’ (8.6) than Dash at 9.1.

 One Brandfolder user said:

 “We had a pretty complicated set-up. The organisation I worked for had a ton of assets and the sheer volume was unwieldy. Also, we had to be super careful with access and permissions on various instances of external and internal only assets. It took a ton of time to get set up properly.”

We make onboarding as painless as possible. You won’t need intense training or lengthy onboarding calls. You’ll find easy tutorials on our website. Or you can book a call with one of our customer success managers. Here’s what one of our customers said about the onboarding process:

“The team behind Dash listened to my needs during the onboarding process and have provided solutions to problems that couldn't be solved with other digital management platforms. You can tell they are really about serving their customers.” 🥰

Our team will also help you migrate your assets from Google Drive, Dropbox or another DAM if you’ve been using one. 

🤓 Read more about migrating your assets to Dash. 

Dash vs Brandfolder: user interface and user experience (UX)

The last thing you want with a digital asset management system is a slow, clunky interface that doesn’t allow you to see your visual content easily or in the best light.

As we’ve mentioned, a common complaint about Brandfolder is the difficulty seeing folders and images. Many people say browsing through assets is difficult and not particularly user-friendly.

If searching for assets on a DAM isn’t easy, you might as well save yourself some money and carry on using Google Drive or Dropbox. 🤷‍♀️ This is, after all, one of the primary reasons people purchase a DAM.

Luckily, Dash uses a combination of auto-tagging and custom attributes to make searching super easy. It has an intuitive user interface which means it won't take you long to get up and running. Here's what it looks like to search in Dash: 

Search in Dash-1

In fact, if we’re allowed to blow our own trumpet here, G2 says Dash is officially the easiest to use DAM around. 🙌

Dash vs Brandfolder: integrations

Brandfolder makes a big thing about the number of other software systems and platforms you can integrate into the DAM. There are already over 50 and they say it’s growing all the time.
 
At Dash, we build integrations to cater for the needs of small and growing brands. For instance, growing ecommerce businesses find our integrations with Shopify, Hootsuite and Canva particularly useful for managing, editing and dropping images straight into Dash without leaving their favourite platforms.
 
Also, many of our customers come to us having used Google Drive and Dropbox for storing their assets. So we integrate with these tools to make the Dash setup so much smoother—you can simply drop images from your Google Drive and Dropbox directly into Dash.

As for the useful integrations on Brandfolder – such as Zapier, Adobe Creative Cloud and Figma – we have those on Dash as well. 💅

Which is the best DAM for you?

There are oodles of benefits of using the right DAM – all of which make your workday so much easier. Who doesn’t want that? So, the last thing you need is an unnecessarily complex DAM with loads of (pricey) features you might never use.

 Here are some things you might want to think about before committing to one:

  • Who’s going to be using it? Talk to your marketing, creative, design and sales teams and find out which key features they need. It’s worth finding a DAM that your entire company can benefit from. For example, maybe your design team needs version control and the ability to make large file transfers. Or your brand manager needs to collaborate with external users like agencies and freelancers. You can do all of this in Dash. 
  • How much do you want to spend? We hope that, by now, you can see that you don’t need a super-expensive digital asset management solution—especially if you’re a growing brand. A DAM like Dash will be the single source of truth for your marketing teams to find, share and deploy your digital content. It’ll also scale you and help your business grow, like it has for Goodrays. ✨What more do you need?
  • What time and resources do you have? You’ll probably want to get up and running quickly and if you don’t have the time to train all your people, choose a DAM vendor with excellent customer support. If you pick Dash, you can simply drop us a message within the app and we’ll get back to you ASAP (usually in under 5 minutes).

If you still want to continue your research, we’ve created an editable DAM comparison spreadsheet to help you compare your shortlist.

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Still not sure? How about a free, no-strings Dash trial? You'll get unlimited users and you'll get to try out all our features. We don’t even ask for your credit card details. Sign up below. 👇

Lorraine Forrest-Turner

Lorraine Forrest-Turner is a professional copywriter, published author, playwright and communication skills tutor.

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Lorraine Forrest-Turner

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