A broken down train can force you to arrive late to an important meeting or miss it altogether. It disrupts your day, not to mention makes you look bad.

Similarly, a broken image on a website gives you an adverse feeling about that site and as a result, that brand, which may cause you to head to a competitor's website.

But when everything goes smoothly while traveling, it’s akin to your brand looking good from every angle — in print, online — even in augmented reality. 

Success with any journey depends on appropriate planning. And in today’s digital world, getting to your destination on time and on budget requires the use of proper tools and awareness of relevant rules, regulations and practices — so that risks and delays can be avoided or eliminated. 

With that in mind, here are five ways that digital asset management (DAM) helps protect your brand and ensure a successful digital journey — for your customers, clients and creative teams:

1. Find Your DAM Hub

Organizations looking to convey a consistent message across multiple digital channels need to put the optimal work processes in place at the start. 

A digital asset management (DAM) system provides a central hub for maintaining rich media assets and plays a big part in these processes. DAMs ensure a single source of truth, so you know that deployed assets are always the most recent version, are approved and have the appropriate digital rights. 

Using a DAM system in this fashion allows an organization to reduce complexity as well as confidently design processes around an optimal digital experience. It also allows creative teams to act quickly and with agility as operations change, which is a given in our fast-moving business world.

2. Avoid Delays

A successful digital journey begins when creative, communications and web teams are able to find exactly the files they need in the moment they need them, without emailing colleagues or hunting through file folders. 

We’ve all experienced fire drills of this nature in the workplace, possibly even multiple times in one day. And it’s not uncommon for even large organizations to struggle with this challenge. 

From locating the latest version of an image, to ensuring you've secured the digital rights to distribute the file, to knowing the image has been approved for use — access to a DAM system can quickly address all of these issues. As the ultimate digital organizer, DAM allows a systematic approach to managing content, eliminates bottlenecks in the digital journey and minimizes the impact of human error inherent in ad-hoc approaches to asset management.

3. Share the Asset Wealth

Letting your friends, family and colleagues know your travel plans is always a good idea. 

When it comes to a successful digital journey, sharing your important images and files with ease — with clients, colleagues and others — is also essential. The advent of branded DAM portals has made it possible for creative teams to leave clunky email behind as a vehicle for sending large files as attachments, and to forget about storing those same critical files on shared drives, where they can be accidentally deleted. 

DAM portals make assets accessible to offsite creative teams, customers or partners, whether sending a URL for a single file or a full collection of assets. In some cases, managing permissions allows you to make provisions for specific colleagues based on the access needed. 

DAM gives creative teams a brave new world of secure file sharing capabilities. Available 24/7 to support urgent and around-the-clock marketing needs, they can save time and reduce headaches as well.

4. Integrate Well With Others

A common rule of thumb in travel is to fit in. While you may be a tourist, you typically don’t want to look or act like one. And experiencing a destination is always better when you follow the lead of the locals. 

When it comes to the digital journey, that same philosophy holds true. Your DAM system should have the capability to “fit in” or integrate with the platforms needing to work with digital assets, whether they are large ERP systems, creative tools, workflow solutions, content management systems or any of a number of other systems you use in your daily work. 

DAM can become infinitely more valuable to your team and your organization when it plays nice with other platforms. The biggest benefits are seen in the areas of time savings and productivity. 

Consider this example: some enterprise-class DAM systems offer two-way communication with Adobe InDesign, providing automatic linking of assets between the two platforms. This eliminates the need to switch back and forth between file directories, browsers and more, saving time and countless headaches for your team. 

5. Protect Your Assets

Safety is everything in travel, and essential to the digital journey as well. 

Your brand must be protected at all costs, and that means digital rights management (DRM) always comes first as creative efforts unfold. DAM systems can ensure that your team follows DRM best practices, while also empowering creative teams to establish effective user access permissions that map to digital rights information for image review, selection, delivery and usage — all in full support of associated usage restrictions. 

In other words, creative directors will sleep much better knowing their DAM system is fast at work keeping their digital rights in line. 

These rules are just the beginning when it comes to creating a successful digital brand journey. As you guide your creative teams, clients and customers to their intended destination, don’t leave it to chance. Remember that proper planning, along with the right tools and an understanding of the rules, makes for smooth sailing from point a to point b every time.