But as businesses race to produce more creative assets to get their brand’s message heard, digital asset management (DAM) software has emerged as the best platform to coordinate assets and ensure that an organization's brand is being presented correctly and consistently.

What can organizations do to not only get people using DAM, but build stickiness into the experience? Here are five steps to achieve strong user adoption for your new DAM software.

1. Build a Team of Cheerleaders

It’s always easier to accomplish a big task with a team than by yourself. Before deploying a DAM platform, create a project committee -- a DAM cheerleading squad of sorts -- to oversee how the software is implemented and adopted. For the most impact, include managers from different departments with a vested interest in the success of your DAM deployment.

Together, identify the metrics for measuring how the new system is being adopted and how successfully it is alleviating pain points. This means having a concrete set of goals from day one about the achievements you want and how to measure them.

2. Communicate Early and Often

To get people on board with a new system, you must effectively communicate the change. One form of communication doesn’t work, and one message alone won’t drive adoption. Take advantage of every channel your team uses -- email, the company intranet, employee portals, etc. Remind people that change is coming, and do so repeatedly in a concentrated effort.

Consider the Rule of Seven, one of the oldest concepts in marketing. It states that a prospective customer should see or hear your message at least seven times before they purchase your product. Apply this to your internal communication strategy for DAM. Start communicating with your team about the new DAM early, and repeat the message on all relevant platforms for the best results.

Approach your communication plan as an internal marketing campaign around the DAM deployment. The more entertaining and engaging your communications are, the better your team will respond to the new software. Don’t hesitate to get creative -- for example, create t-shirts for your team before rolling out the software. Or create a competition or game surrounding DAM adoption. Positive reinforcement works much better than negative reactions. Reward the individuals adopting DAM and make them role models for the whole team to follow.

It’s also important to present DAM as the best solution to an existing problem that everyone encounters and can relate to. This will drive more engagement than simply mandating that your whole team adopts the software because you said so.

3. Transitioning - Rip Off the Bandage or Take it Slow?

One approach to deploying DAM is to rip off the metaphorical “bandage” -- eliminate your existing system for managing assets and implement DAM in one fell swoop. It’s an effective strategy, but you may not end up with the happiest users. Still, replacing your existing system with a new DAM platform in one go is a good way to get everybody on the same page at the same time. To ensure success, make sure managers effectively communicate with their teams about expectations for the new platform.

The bandage approach won’t work for everyone. Rolling out the new DAM platform in phases or by individual features gives people flexibility between systems as they learn the new platform and begin adopting it.

If you’re finding it difficult to wean some users off the old system, lead by example. If a team member continues to email you files, respond using only DAM. Surrounding them with the new software establishes that DAM is here for good, and that adoption is important to everyone’s success. Again, buy in from other managers across all departments is a must.

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4. Narrow Down Your Metrics and Never Stop Measuring

For strong DAM adoption, metrics are vital to holding people accountable. Of course, the sheer volume of data that is available can be overwhelming. Narrow down these numbers to a list of about five key metrics that you should follow regularly. Remember -- never stop measuring!

For example, if your goal is to centralize branded content from different global teams, track the number of uploads, how frequently files are being uploaded and other relevant statistics. Mapping your analytics to your original goals for DAM is the best way to determine the ROI of your deployment.

Staying on top of DAM metrics works best when you get the whole project committee involved. For example, assigning metrics like metadata quality to one team makes everyone’s workload easier. Making analytics and reporting a team effort will make the numbers digestible and give you a well-rounded view into the long-term success of DAM.

5. Long-Term Adoption - Pull Up a Chair and Integrate

Even if 100 percent of your staff adopts your new DAM platform from day one, that probably won’t last forever. Keeping up adoption requires regular follow up to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Following metrics is important, but you can’t stop there.

For long-term success, you need to pull up a chair and watch how users work with the DAM system. Make note of where people use workarounds and other clues about adoption. Sitting alongside your team and engaging in their day-to-day use of the DAM platform will help you optimize your plan and drive long-term adoption.

Also, take opportunities to connect your DAM platform with other software like product management or creative platforms. Integrated software is easier to adopt -- users have one less place to log in, one unified username and password to access several systems and key data is synched between systems. Integrating software is a great way to make your product sticky for users.

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