How long do you currently spend searching for your brand’s images and videos? How often do you go to Google Drive or Dropbox and scroll endlessly through a list of digital files, hoping the one you want will miraculously appear?
You get frustrated at your teammates who asked for the latest product shots, not because you don’t want to help them, but because you can’t remember what the file’s called or what folder it’s in. 🤦♀️
It’s honestly a nightmare.
That’s why digital asset management (DAM) is your saving grace. 🙌
What is digital asset management?
Digital asset management is a software tool that lets you manage your brand’s assets from one central location. It’s the single source of truth for your images, videos, graphics, audio files and brand guidelines. Often used by marketing teams, DAM lets you find, share and deploy creative files to your channels. 🚀
But that’s not all. From downloading specific crop sizes to creating portals for your freelancers and agencies — DAM has loads of features that’ll save you time, money and let you get back to the job you were hired to do.
So let’s get into them, shall we?
12 key digital asset management features
1. Search your files
One of the most important features of a digital asset management system is being able to find your content quickly. You won’t be trawling through shared drives or getting lost in file names like ‘img.1982734.JPG_final’.
A good DAM will use auto-tagging, custom tags and filters to make finding digital content quick and easy.
For these examples, we created an ecommerce houseplant brand, Planto, to show you how they might use Dash. Say we’re looking for a cactus. 🌵All we need to do is type the keyword into the search bar.
Auto-tagging means Dash can find any image that has a cactus plant in it. We can also use filters on the left-hand side to narrow down our search. In this case, we want to find a plant that is as easy to care for as possible. We can do this by using a custom field that we’ve already set up: ‘care level.’
“Un-killable” —that’s my kind of houseplant! 🙏
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No credit card, no auto-renew.
2. Upload your visual content
Uploading your assets is the first thing you’ll do when you purchase a DAM. Your team members, agencies and freelancers will likely be uploading too. So it’s important you make sure your images go into the right folders and are tagged properly. (Don’t worry, you’ll have the ability to approve and reject assets uploaded by external teams. But we’ll get into that later).
When you upload into Dash, you’ll get auto-tag suggestions as we’ve already mentioned. But you can also add your own tags, custom fields, title and description.
Look at this image that I want to upload into Planto’s Dash.
Dash has already recognised that this is an ‘aloe’ and ‘plant’. So if anyone wants to search for an aloe vera plant in the future, this image will show up in the results.
What’s more, Dash’s duplicate detection feature can see that this image has already been uploaded. Oops! At least this avoids any clutter (like you might get on your network drives). 😅
3. Download different size and image formats
What goes up, must come down. ⬇️
Downloading is a core feature of digital asset management. And just like uploading, you’ll get the option to make your download as relevant to you as possible.
Let’s download this lovely Fishbone Cactus.
Here we’ve got the option to download it in different image file types: JPG, PNG or WEBP. And you can select what dimensions you need the image to be, depending on the channel you want to deploy it to. For example, let’s say we need to download an image for social media:
This means you won’t have to faff around trying to reduce your image size or adjust it for social. Simply download in the dimensions you need and off you go!
Filling Pieces, one of our ecommerce customers, uses this feature all the time. Alberto, the brand’s Marketing Manager says:
“Anyone producing content, like the social team, are able to download specific sizes without relying on a graphic designer. For example, IGTV and Pinterest. It’s very convenient.”
What’s about the specs that are specific to your company? Good job you can set custom presets in the admin section. 🙌
For example, your website or online storefront will have specific dimension requirements. If you set this up in your admin section, it means anyone can download images to the exact size required. No more dodgy, out-of-proportion banners!
You can also use the crop tool to cut down an image to the size you need.
Uploading and downloading are the things you’ll be doing a lot in your DAM. So if you pick one with a good download and upload user experience (UX), you’ll thank yourself in the long run. (Luckily, Dash has you covered there 😇).
4. Share files with your team, agencies and resellers
Sharing your brand’s marketing materials is super-easy in DAM, and there are several ways you can do it.
Share by URL
In Dash, you can generate a share link from a selection of images. Simply send it to your recipient on Slack, email, or however you communicate with your team.
Share by email
You can also email the link directly from Dash. Simply pop in the recipient’s email address and off it goes. 📨
Unlike certain email providers (yes Gmail, we’re looking at you 👀), you can send up to 500 assets in one go. You won’t be getting any ‘your file is larger than 25MB’ notifications. 🙄
A collection in Dash is a private selection of assets that you can share with teammates or external teams. For example, you might want to share a collection of lifestyle images with your social media agency. Simply add the images you want to share to your collection and invite people to join.
Collections won’t expire, and your contributors will automatically see any news images you add.
Want to give your resellers a place to search and find your assets, but don’t want to give them full access to your Dash? Set up a public portal (with or without a password). Anyone using the portal will have access to the same filters and search capabilities as a regular Dash user, but they won’t be able to make any changes.
Haws have a public portal that they share with resellers. You can see it looks just like a regular Dash account, but with select assets. It gives external teams that professional, on-brand feel every time they log in. 🪄
5. Assign permissions to different teams and users
Another key feature of DAM is being able to assign permissions to your users. Imagine you’ve got some hot-off-the-press product images that have come in from your photographer. Not all of them will be suitable for social media or your website. So you might want to hide certain images from your social or marketing team.
To do this in Dash, you can set up groups of users and hide certain folders from them.
In Planto, we’ve given our social team access to the products and campaign folders. This way, you know your teams are only using approved assets. And, from their end, they won’t need to sift through loads of unnecessary assets or come to you for approval every time.
Speaking of which…
6. Give feedback on content
It’s easy to keep your image and video files free from clutter in Dash. With approval workflows, you can make sure everything that’s uploaded is exactly as you’d like it, and you can give feedback if something’s not quite hitting the mark.
This DAM feature is handy if you’re dealing with external content creators and need to simplify your approval process. Say you’re a brand manager who needs to make sure all photography follows your brand guidelines. If a freelance photographer uploads something that’s not quite what you were hoping for, you can make a comment and ask them to upload a new version. They’ll be able to reply to you and any new versions they upload will replace the previous one.
What’s more, if you’re providing feedback on video content, you can add time stamps to specify at exactly what point in the video you need a change.
7. Manage different versions of your assets
Designers, you know how time-consuming it is to update a graphic or logo and then email everyone the new designs. But it’s got to be done —nobody wants to see last year’s summer campaign ad doing the rounds. 🤦♀️
With DAM, you won’t have to worry about it. Version control’ has you covered.
In Dash, you can upload a new version of an asset and it’ll automatically replace the old one. Anyone who’s downloaded it previously will get an email notifying them of your shiny new version. This will free up your time and means you can get back to your content creation.
8. Set image usage rights and expiry dates
You don’t want to get into hot water with expired images or video files you no longer have rights to. You may know that the photos you rented last year are no longer available to use, but does the rest of your team know?
With DAM, managing rights is a breeze.
In Dash, you can add expiry dates and usage rights to individual images.
This image can be used on the website, but it will expire in 2025. When the expiry date is reached, anyone who’s downloaded it will get an email notification. You can then archive the expired assets so they no longer show for non-admin users.
9. Feel inspired by your visuals with a beautiful user interface
Anyone currently using Dropbox or SharePoint will know that these systems are clunky and uninspiring. Thumbnails are tiny (or non-existent) and you often have to know the exact name of an image, or else spend ages opening and closing different files before you find what you’re looking for.
It doesn’t do your assets justice. That’s why we’ve built Dash to have the best interface and user experience possible — a DAM feature that many enterprise vendors forget about. 🤷♀️
Take COAT, one of our customers, as an example. They picked Dash specifically because it was a design-led DAM, which is perfect as their brand is driven by aesthetics.
Just look at their Dash homepage. 😍
They’ve customised their branding (which is super-easy to do in your admin settings) and their folders and assets are organised as large thumbnails so they can find what they need at a glance.
Here’s what Nichola, COAT’s Senior Marketing Manager, has to say about it:
“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.” ✨
10. Integrate with your favourite tools
Any good DAM will come with a host of integrations. These allows you to connect up with your favourite tools and build a tech stack that’ll make your job a whole lot smoother.
At Dash, we have loads of integrations for you to choose from. Here are just a handful:
- Figma, Sketch and Adobe Creative Suite - perfect for designers who’re fed up with the constant downloading and uploading to network drives
- Canva - for marketers and brand managers creating blog headers, social posts and other marketing graphics. Simply drop in your assets from Dash and away you go.
- Shopify - for ecommerce brands managing product shots and product listings
- WordPress - upload your images from Dash directly to the WordPress CMS image library
- Hootsuite - for scheduling all your gorgeous brand images in social media
- Slack, Asana and Gmail - pop images from Dash into your email, to-do lists and message thread
- Zapier - the tool for connecting up with pretty much any app that Dash hasn’t got a native integration for (yet).
11. Keep your your assets secure
Your visual content is valuable, so it should be kept somewhere safe and secure. A good DAM should have security measures in place.
If you take Dash for instance: we’re an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (ISO 27001) certified supplier. This essentially means we keep up to date and adhere to many compliance programmes. Your Dash account, along with all your digital assets will be hosted in the cloud by Amazon Web Services (AWS) — a leading cloud hosting provider.
Find out more about Dash’s security measures.
12. Can grow with your brand
As your brand grows and evolves, you need your digital asset management tool to adapt with you. That could be anything from increasing users, adding additional integrations or new features to meet your needs.
With Dash, you only pay for what you need. You’ll get all the core DAM features as standard including searching, sharing, uploading and deploying. You can then add on any extras like portals and custom presets as and when you need them. Take a look at our pricing page to find a plan that works for you.
We also have an Ideas Hub where you can let us know anything extra you’d like to see in Dash. Our Developers and Customer Success Managers continually monitor and prioritise your requests, so don’t be afraid to tell us what you think!
Which teams will benefit from DAM?
Your digital asset management system won’t just benefit your marketing teams. As long as you choose a DAM that’s accessible and easy to use, you’ll find that most of your company will benefit from it. Here are some teams we see using Dash, along with the DAM features they find the most useful.
As we mentioned, these are the folk that’ll be using your DAM day in and day out. In fact, you’re probably the marketer we’re referring to! A DAM will help you manage the content of your marketing campaigns. You can share creative assets with your agencies, track the performance of your content and deploy product images to your channels.
🤓Take a ready of our article all about marketing asset management for a full run down.
Your sales team are talking to your customers every day. They need access to your product images so they can show customers exactly what they’re buying. If you work in ecommerce, your sales managers might be trying to list your products with resellers and online marketplaces, so having access to assets is super important.
🤓 See how Haws use Dash to get their product shots over to their 100+ retailers.
Having consistent assets across all your channels is essential for the integrity of your brand. Your brand managers know this better than anyone. In DAM, they can keep all brand assets up to date including logos, guidelines, colour palettes and fonts.
🤓 Find out more about brand asset management in Dash.
A digital asset management solution isn’t just a place for your designers to store their design files - it improves your creative workflows, too. Whether you work with a graphic designer in-house or you hire freelancers, external users can upload their designs for approval and you can provide feedback within Dash.
🤓 Learn more about digital asset management software for design teams.
Which DAM is best for my brand’s images and videos?
If you like the sound of all these features, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get all of them in Dash for just £79/$109 a month. 🙌 We’ve built out DAM for small and growing brands, so you’ll get all the same features that large and enterprise businesses enjoy, without the price tag. To compare different digital asset management vendors, take a look at these useful resources:
- Canto alternatives: which DAM should you pick?
- Bynder alternatives: which DAM is best for your growing brand?
You can also download our free DAM comparison worksheet to help you compare features, pricing and ease-of-use.
Ready to try a digital asset management platform for yourself? You can try Dash free for 14-days, no strings attached. 🙌 Simply pop in your email, open your Dash and start uploading your assets. of your research.