What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Amy Burchill
12
minute read
Written By
Amy Burchill
March 27, 2023

What’s digital asset management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a software solution that provides one centralised, searchable location for your brand’s images, videos and documents. It’s the single source of truth for your digital assets and the home for all of your visual content. 🏡

Dash DAM homepage

In this article, you’ll discover what a digital asset management system is, why it can be useful to your brand and how you can tell when it's time to purchase one. By the end, you’ll be able to decide whether DAM is the next best tool for your brand. (Spoiler: we think it is!).

What does DAM stand for? 

DAM is an acronym for digital asset management. It’s the practice of storing and organising your digital assets in a digital asset management solution. These systems help you manage, find and deploy your digital files to your marketing channels. Unlike shared drives like Google Drive and Dropbox—which is what many of our customers used before moving to Dash— DAM lets you tag creative files (like images and videos) to make them super easy to find. You can also share digital content with your teams and integrate with third-party apps to push assets to your different channels.  

There are several variations of DAM software like brand asset management and video asset management. But no matter the type of digital asset management system you use, it’ll help you manage, share and deploy your digital files from one central source. 

What’s a digital asset? 

To put it simply, a digital asset is a type of file that provides value to your brand. They take time and money to create and contribute to your overall marketing and brand strategy. Here are some common asset types that you’re probably using right now:

  • Brand assets: These are images and videos related to your brand, including different logo variations, brand guidelines, fonts and colour palettes. 
  • Marketing assets: Think about the visual content you use in your marketing campaigns and your website. They could be anything from product images to lifestyle shots, product demos and audio files of your podcast. 
  • Social media assets: These are the images, video assets and audio files you deploy to your social channels including: user-generated content, short-form video ads, infographics, team photos, podcasts and influencer content.  

Digital asset management solutions also lets you store different visual file types including PNG, JPG, and WEBP, along with PDFs and docs. What’s more, before you download an image you’ll be able to convert it to a different format (for eg turn a PNG into a WEBP) - ideal if your content management system has specific image requirements. 

What are the benefits of digital asset management? 

A great digital asset management tool should be built with your needs in mind. Every feature, function and integration should be designed to make your life easier. It’s as simple as that. Here’s an overview of digital asset management benefits. 

Save time and money 

A digital asset management system is basically a search engine for your visual content. Think of it like a digital asset library that you can search in seconds. The less time you spend looking for assets, the more time you can spend on content creation, planning campaigns and all the things you’ve actually been hired to do. 

A good digital asset management platform, like Dash, has features that are specifically designed to save you time. For instance, AI can identify objects within your images so you can type in a keyword and get relevant search results in seconds. You can also use custom tags and fields to help filter your search. 

As Kaitlyn, from Kelly Wynne told us: 

“When we’re looking at the bottom line, I always tell Kelly (that’s Kaitlyn’s boss) that we could be paying Dash X amount, or she could be paying me X amount an hour to search for images in Google. Instead, I'm able to go do other things because of this investment.”

If you need to show your boss how much money Dash could save you, take a look at our article that helps you calculate the ROI of your DAM. 🤑

Get your visual content in front of customers, faster

If you’re a growing business - which many of our customers are - digital asset management software will give you that extra speed when pushing out digital content to your channels. For example, if you’re an ecommerce brand, you’ll want to get your new content for product launches ready ASAP. The quicker you can get your products listed, the faster you’ll see those conversions coming in, right? 😉

Here just a handful of ways you can visual content out quickly with Dash:

  • Get product images into Shopify: You can connect Dash to Shopify to seamlessly drop images into your product pages. You’ll also be able to set up custom crop sizes in Dash, so that anyone adding images to Shopify will use the correct dimensions and file format. 
  • Share content with resellers and marketplaces: Set up public portals (with or without a passcode) and share it with your resellers. They can browse, search and download content just like they would in a regular Dash account. The only difference is that you get to choose what images and videos files they can see. 
  • Deploy visuals to your social channels: Dash has preset crop sizes for Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. That means whenever you’re downloading an image for social you can make sure it's in the correct dimensions. Dash also integrates with Hootsuite so you can easily drop images from Dash into your scheduled posts. 

Protect your brand 

Many DAM providers talk about ‘brand integrity’ which is part of your brand management. It’s about keeping better tabs on your content going out into the world (so you can stop any mistakes before it’s too late). Features such as permissions will ensure that only certain people can access your content. Expiry dates will notify your team when something is no longer available to use on the web. And version control will ensure your teams only have access to the most up-to-date digital marketing assets. 

What’s more, making sure you have the right, high-quality visuals will mean a better experience for your customers. Just think about the times you’ve landed on a website that has pixelated images on its homepage. Or a brand’s social account filled with confusing off-brand content. This is not a good customer experience. With DAM software, you’ll ensure that you and your team always have access to quality, on-brand visuals whenever they need them.

Collaborate with agencies, freelancers and creators 

Many growing brands partner up with external teams to help design creative assets, run campaigns and create content. Getting outside expertise can do wonders to the growth of your business. But if you’re relying on Dropbox and WeTransfer to send assets back and forth, you’ll get slowed down. Trawling through multiple design iterations and trying to gather feedback is no easy job. 

Dash will speed up your approval workflows because you can do it all within the app. For example, you can ask your freelance designer to upload their creatives into Dash for approval. If they’re not quite hitting the mark, you can add comments to their designs and ask them to upload a new version. If you’re working on videos, you can also use time stamps to specify which point in the video you’d like changed. 

This approval process is also ideal if you’re working with influencers or curating user-generated content. ✨

Check out our article all about the benefits of a digital asset management platform for a more detailed look at DAM and the features that will help your brand grow. 

Which teams will use your DAM system? 

If you purchase a DAM, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your company is making the most of it. Generally, marketing teams will be the ones using your digital asset management software the most. From our experience, these are the folk that usually introduce the tool to the rest of the business.  But that doesn’t mean it’s wasted on everybody else. In fact, a DAM that’s accessible will be welcomed by people from across your business. Let’s take a look at some examples: 

Marketing teams

As we’ve mentioned, the marketing team will be using your DAM software day-to-day. You can keep your marketing materials here including campaign graphics, product pics, content guidelines (oh yes, Dash lets you store documents, too), and any creative files you need to market your products. 

🤓 Read about the specific DAM use case for marketers.

Sales teams

Your sales team are the ones talking to customers every day. Whether they’re talking to resellers or consumers, they’ll need to see what your upcoming product lines look like. Sending customers the latest product catalogue is much easier when your sales team can do it from your DAM. They can simply send them a link via URL or email, or set up a portal and let resellers browse products themselves. 

🤓 The H&H Group use Dash to send product brochures to customers around the world. 

Brand managers 

Brand managers know it's essential to maintain brand consistency. It’s what impacts the integrity of your business and will, ultimately, affect the bottom line. So when an outdated asset goes out on your social media platforms or a fuzzy graphic is slapped up on your website, you risk confusing your audience and losing trust. A DAM will ensure approved brand assets are available to your teams.You can also keep your brand guidelines here too, so new hires can quickly get up to speed. 

🤓 Learn about brand asset management and why it’s important for your business.  

Design teams 

Your designers are the ones producing creative for your marketing and brand teams. By keeping approved and ready-to-go designs in your DAM, creative teams no longer get hassled for the latest ad graphics or transparent brand logo for the 15th time. 😅 Plus, Dash integrates Adobe Creative Cloud so they won’t need to go back and forth between different tools to access their design files. This’ll be a huge improvement for their creative workflows.

🤓 Discover why DAM for designers can be so beneficial.

PR and communications 

Even if you don’t have an internal PR and comms team, a DAM will help you get your product and brand visuals over to the press. The media industry is fast-moving, so you need to get content to your press enquiries quickly if you want to get featured in news stories. 

How much does a DAM cost? 

Digital asset management software offers loads of features and benefits, so it's understandable to think it’ll set your business back a lot of money. And you wouldn’t be wrong: historically, DAMs have been built for enterprise companies and priced accordingly. Although many vendors don’t show their pricing, you'll be looking at a minimum of $450 per month for some of the most well-known enterprise DAM solutions like Bynder. 

But if you want a DAM for your small business, you don’t have to settle for these expensive solutions. They’re aimed at enterprise brands for a reason. Instead, consider Dash. 😇

Dash has been built for small brands in mind, so our features are focused on your needs - not those of massive corporations who have complex requirements. Dash costs just £79/$109 per month and you get all features along with unlimited users. You’ll only pay extra if you increase your download limit or the number of assets you keep in your Dash. 

4 brands using Dash as their DAM tool

 Wondering how other companies are using DAM? What better way to show you than with our very own clients! Here’s a look at some Dash customers. ✨

COAT uses Dash to do their visuals justice 

Luxury paint brand, COAT, enjoys Dash’s design-led UI because it does their visuals justice. They’re an aesthetically-led brand, so it’s important they feel inspired by their digital asset management software. Just look at their gorgeous homepage in Dash. 😍

COAT Dash homepage

Nichola, COAT’s senior marketing manager says they shopped around a lot before they found Dash. She says: 

“Most DAMs that I demoed felt really old-school and made for big, corporate companies. Plus, some of the prices out there aren’t realistic or obtainable for a start up brand. Luckily, Dash was user-friendly and affordable. It also felt like a design-led tool which is perfect for us as we are a visual-led brand.“ 

Haws use Dash to sell to their 100 + retailers 

Haws is one of the oldest watering can brands in the world. They have relationships with 100+ brick and mortar retailers globally. Each stockist has access to a Haw’s Dash portal where they can find and download a mix of product images, lifestyle photos and marketing content which are updated in real-time. Here’s what a reseller sees when they open up a Haws portal. 

Haws portal in Dash

Josh, the Purchasing Manager says this is the best way to set their partners up for success: 

“Some of our partners don’t have the budget to spend on beautiful lifestyle images or product photography. By providing that for them, we help them on their journey to sell more Haws. And it’s a win for us, because the more of our products they sell, the more they’ll buy from us.”

Goodrays use Dash to keep on top of their marketplaces 

Goodrays are one of the UK’s leading CBD brands. You can find their products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Deliveroo. Each listing site has specific image requirements and dimensions, so they use Dash to crop and resize their product shots for each marketplace. Here’s a few different product variations in their Dash. 

Goodradys Dash homepage-1

Theo, the brand’s Graphic Designer says: 

“A lot of the images for our ecommerce stores look the same to the untrained eye, but actually they’ve got really specific ratio formats. To stop people dragging out the wrong images, we’ve got an ecommerce family of folders. We have subfolders split by store, like Deliveroo, eBaby and Amazon.”

Gozney use Dash to shorten their content pipeline

Gozney makes it easy to craft top-quality pizza in the comfort of your own home. Not only are their pizza ovens used in the world’s leading kitchens, they’re also found in gardens and patios across the globe.

The team has a solid content and social media strategy. They want customers to make the most of their products so they create cooking tutorials, how-tos and recipe videos. They use Dash to shorten the time it takes to get this content to the teams that need it. The faster they can do this, the quicker they can get content in front of customers. Here’s a look at how they organise their Dash homepage: 

Gozney Dash homepage

Gozney’s Senior Content Creator,Przemyslaw, says: 

“It’s just a matter of creating the content, uploading it to Dash, and either distributing it internally (and most of our teams have their own Dash accounts so they’d have access to it instantly) or adding it to the portals for our external partners. We've significantly shortened the time we spend uploading and preparing the content for use.”

How to pick a DAM that’s right for you 

If you feel it’s time to purchase a DAM, you might want a little guidance around the types of solutions out there. Take a look at G2 and Capterra to get an idea of the types of features to expect, along with the various pricing models available. There’s loads of DAMs out there and it can get overwhelming, which is why we’ve compared some well-known DAMs for you. Take a look at our articles that explore the pros and cons of Bynder and Canto

Alternatively, take a look at our DAM comparison worksheet to help you compare features, pricing and onboarding processes. 


comparison-transparent (1)
Resource

The Digital Asset Management Comparison Worksheet

Whittle down your choices and pick the right digital asset management tool for your brand

Download now!!!

We recommend filling out this worksheet as you do your research. Here are some things to consider:
  • How big (or small) is your budget? Digital asset managers have a reputation for being expensive. Totally fine if you’re in a huge enterprise, but not so great if you’re in a bootstrapped growing DTC brand. If you’re worried about cost, be wary of DAMs who don’t have a transparent pricing page on their site and make you book a call with them to get information on costs. That’s often a red flag. Consider DAMs who make their pricing upfront and clear (like, ahem, us).
  • How easy is it to get started? If you’re picking a DAM to save you time, you don’t want to be drawn into a lengthy and exhausting set-up process. Instead, look for DAMs that offer help moving your assets over from their old location. Check out Lea’s post on the four steps to migrating your assets to Dash which includes a free worksheet. 
  • What features are essential? Sit down with your team and make a list of what features you’d consider essential, and what features are just ‘nice to have’. If you need to get buy-in from your senior manager, you don’t want to end up justifying the cost of an expensive DAM full of features you don’t need. Sitting down with your team also helps you get aligned and makes sure you’re finding a DAM that’s right for everybody.
  • How easy is it to cancel? Who knows where you’ll be in a year or two? If you need some flexibility, be wary of digital asset managers who lock you into lengthy contracts. With Dash, we’ll only need a month’s notice if you ever want to bid farewell.  

If you’re looking for digital asset management software that’s affordable and designed to suit the needs for your growing brand, you can’t go wrong with Dash. Pricing starts at £79/$109 a month. You’ll get all features as well as unlimited users right away. You’ll only pay more if you upload more assets or want to increase your download limit. 

Want to give it a try? Sign up for a free, 14-day trial below. We won’t ask you for credit card information yet and you can cancel at any time. ✨

Amy Burchill

Amy Burchill is the SEO and Content Manager for Dash. She works with ecommerce experts to create articles for DTC brands wanting to improve their campaigns.

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Amy Burchill

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