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Rich Media: Images, Video, Business Asset and Intellectual Property

"Content chaos" is something organizations have become very familiar with, but discussion about it is often limited to email, documents, forms, contracts and spreadsheets. Many organizations overlook the importance of rich media as a valuable component of their enterprise’s collective intellectual property. Primarily the realm of marketing departments, so-called digital assets must be considered essential to any sound enterprisewide ECM strategy.

Take, for example, the recent findings from independent research organization GISTICS Incorporated, indicating that the absence of a digital asset management (DAM) system forces the typical company to spend upwards of 2.9 minutes searching for a single file. More importantly, the user typically fails to locate the desired file 39% of the time. Similar to the problems with locating and accessing traditional business content, such as email and documents, the inability to readily find and retrieve rich media files leads to cost and process inefficiencies.

Adding to the challenge, organizations are faced with a mounting number of file types and distribution channels. In order to deliver their critical marketing message to target audiences and stakeholders, organizations must fully leverage their rich media across a variety of distribution devices—such as TV, Web, cell phones, digital media players and in-store advertising.

Rich media usage is exploding, and it will continue to expand within the typical corporate enterprise. Although DAM has traditionally been used in companies where media drives the business (entertainment, advertising, media, etc.), digital content is also having a profound impact across virtually every business. DAM has clear and tangible benefits to a wide variety of industries, and progressive organizations are beginning to treat rich media as the intellectual property that it is—leveraging to generate competitive advantage and incorporating it with broad ECM strategies to generate a truly holistic view of business content.

The Opportunity to Control Brand Assets
Regardless of the industry, marketing is a ubiquitous function, one that has traditionally managed the lion’s share of a company’s rich media — logos, collateral, TV and radio spots, corporate video, photographs, product packaging design, graphics and presentation materials. Marketers managing both established and emerging brands need to understand that today’s multichannel, digitally oriented environment requires a well-conceived digital asset management strategy to ensure ongoing brand integrity with the ability to scale up your marketing team’s ability to produce new types of digital marketing products. As budgets remain tight and new regulations impose greater scrutiny on marketing spend, marketers must justify expenses with a defensible return on investment.

Certain companies need a strong marketing asset management solution more than others. Companies who spend a lot on advertising and work with multiple agency partners can realize an incredible return on investment by creating and controlling a centralized repository for all brand assets. Companies with large sales teams, especially those in the hi-tech, pharmaceutical and financial services industries, are challenged with keeping digital marketing materials up-to-date and disseminated. Companies that deal in "packaged goods" have complex workflows and policies involving large digital media files that surround the packaging of products. Marketing departments need to distribute these assets from the points where they are created ("production") to the points where they are used ("operations") and in the formats needed for those uses. Whether the media are meant for large format print or broadcast (very large files in the multiple gigabyte range) or for presentation on a Web page (as small as several kilobytes), organizations must craft efficient ways for rich media to be located and used by those who need them.

This means both the rich media elements and the metadata that describes them need to come together; beginning with the collaborative creative process, and flowing smoothly into the media distribution processes where the media are used. Imagine product photography created by a retail company to support its product marketing campaigns. The asset management solution must ensure that business-related metadata, like the all important product code, SKU or UPC information, is captured and made available as the assets are received from the creative services department, approved for usage and delivered to the Web department for use in an online catalog, or the marketing operations group for use in a print brochure. Without this information, the effort required to actually use digital media will remain very high.

Rich Media Chaos?— Help Is On the Way
While the recent focus of "content chaos" surrounds the burgeoning amount of email and documents, organizations often overlook the importance of rich media to broad ECM and intellectual property management.

Even though the flavor and amount of rich media assets differ among industries, DAM provides similar (and tangible) benefits:

  • Increased revenues due to the flexibility of repurposing assets (e.g., the licensing and resale of easy-to-find rich media);
  • Lower costs result from collaborative workflow, business processes and productivity enhancements (e.g. reduces duplicated work and workflow bottlenecks);
  • Strategic advantages resulting from the efficiency that DAM provides (e.g. faster time to market);
  • Sophisticated support for unstructured rich media content types—video, audio, images and desktop formats from Adobe and Quark; and
  • Greater control over brand messages across all your media campaigns, encompassing print, television, Web, mobile devices, etc.

DAM: Clear and Significant ROI
There is no single metric for measuring the ROI for DAM. Measuring ROI depends on how the DAM system is implemented. Oftentimes, DAM is employed to establish a clear brand message, while other times it is integral to the full content development, production and distribution lifecycle. Over recent years, organizations have identified a variety of business drivers for DAM systems. These include: excessive time locating and accessing files; lack of flexibilitywithin business processes and workflows; poor collaboration around rich media; and the inability to include rich media as part of holistic compliance programs.

Beyond the significant cost and time savings, process optimization and the ability to streamline the flow of rich media across required channels, organizations that deploy DAM will increase their ability to control the brand and include rich media in broad enterprise content management strategies.

The bottom line is that rich media represents intellectual property and regulators are beginning to consider them "business assets" in the same way that a contract, email, product design or financial report is treated under the many regulations that are being imposed today. Progressive organizations need to begin considering rich media assets as "business content" and not just the realm of marketing departments.

DAM at Work: A Brief Case Study

The world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of more than $18 billion, 68,000 employees and 50 manufacturing and technology research centers around the globe, found itself struggling with establishing distinct brand identities and messaging. They needed assurance that accurate images were delivered in the correct manner to the correct channel, in order to protect, sustain and expand their worldwide market.

For example, the company was dealing with an average of 10 or more phone requests per day for images. The current manual process of burning 10 or more CDs per week, some with only one file intact, was extremely wasteful of time and prone to human error. This laborious, manual process resulted in increased potential for the distribution of incorrect product images and model numbers, which in turn irritated trade partners and confused consumers. The company needed a solution that was appropriate for an industry leader.

The Business Solution
This industry leader was in need of a totally digital environment, one that would convey the message of consistency, reliability and speed-to-market to their customers. However with email and manual processes providing the vehicles for product, brand and advertising manager communications, a backlogged workflow chain was created, which resulted in frustration and extreme counter-productivity.

The frustration of dealing with multiple agencies internally and thousands of trade partners externally meant that the best-case scenario for fulfilling image requests was one to three days, on average. Obviously, with an average waiting period such as this, speed-to-market was not the message that customers were receiving.

A robust digital asset management system was required to ensure this critical speed-to-market brand image was reaching customers. A centralized and accessible repository of images for licensed products images, and for repurposing images and content, was critical.

They chose the Artesia DAM implementation to organize, manually retrieve and distribute approximately 48,000 images (this number rose from 3,000 images per year prior to DAM). Their Artesia DAM repository now protects over 13,000 product shots that represent their entire house of brands.

The Business Value
The Artesia DAM implementation provided the "anytime, anywhere, anyway" edge for meeting internal and external customer needs, which was deserving of the image of this industry leader. Thanks to DAM, the company is now able to easily manage brand messaging by ensuring that accurate images are delivered in the correct mode to the correct destination. Trade partners are now provided with quality images for branded co-promotions and product demonstrations, which translates into global brand consistency as far as trade partners and customers are concerned.

An estimated savings of at least $400,000 per year was the result of DAM’s automated search and retrieval functions, simply by eliminating CD-based and manual fulfillment, and establishing easeful recovery of in-house photography. Now a centralized repository brings in-house control over product shots, eliminating the cost of image recreation, storage and retrieval. The company can now provide trade partners with branded imagery according to their market and geographic needs, and departments can offer "image-enabled" applications to external customers via a Web-based, self-service merchandising tool, point of sale materials and product specification sheets, as well as print advertising to trade partners and buying group representatives. Suddenly the company is able to create and distribute a collection of assets for a particular marketing campaign or product launch—for example, reusable digital packages that can be used for multiple deliverables including point of sale materials, literature and e-commerce websites—in an efficient, organized and timely manner, which saves the company time and money, and ensures a solid and trusted brand identity.

The ROI that resulted from the DAM implementation is revenue-generating, productivity-enhancing and competitively profitable, because DAM provides trade partners with a self-serve, zero-cost environment to support sales and marketing efforts. That translates to a clear and measurable competitive market edge.

Artesia (, Open Text’s Digital Media Group, is focused on helping organizations maximize the value of rich media assets—however unique they are. Marketing departments understand the need for digital asset management, but many have overlooked the importance in their overall ECM strategies. By incorporating the benefits of DAM, organizations realize tremendous business value by enhancing responsiveness and service to customers, partners and distributors, by providing greater transparency into projects, by maintaining historical records of campaigns/products for compliance purposes, by cutting superfluous marketing costs and by establishing increased collaboration across their entire enterprise.

Source: KMWorld, Rich Media: Images, Video, Business Asset and Intellectual Property
Posted Oct 30, 2007
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