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PHOTO: Charles Forerunner

In an age of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual assistants, machine automation and autonomous equipment, it’s easy to forget that the cornerstone of any organization is its people. Companies may become preoccupied with output and productivity — but it’s the human element that builds brands, and ultimately, creates business value.

In this series of articles, we’re looking at the steps organizations must take to become more mature in their brand management. People are critical in that pursuit.

Brand Management Is Key for Brand Success

Before we jump into the subject of people, however, let’s quickly review why brand management is important. Brand management is critical to enhancing customer experiences, improving speed-to-market, developing new products and services, discovering new markets, and driving revenue growth. Strong brand management also helps you better utilize your brand assets: photography, video, documents, audio files, charts, illustrations, and so forth. In most firms, these assets number in the thousands. Understanding their value and using them effectively is a major factor in brand success.

Many organizations employ a digital asset management (DAM) platform to create, manage, publish and analyze assets from a central repository. When your assets are maintained in a focused manner, so is your brand management. They reinforce one another to push your brand forward.

A brand management maturity model helps you advance all five interconnected dimensions of brand management: strategy, people, process, technology, and impact. It allows you to benchmark the effectiveness of your DAM technology and your brand management program at the present time, as well as at various milestones in the future.

The first installment in this series looked at strategy — the element that not only drives alignment with your organizational vision, but also guides continuous improvement in the other four dimensions. Next, we want to detail how people can make or break a successful strategy.

Related Article: A Brand Management Maturity Model, Part 1: Strategy

The Evolution of a DAM Administrator

Because digital asset management fits hand-in-glove with brand management, proper DAM staffing is vital to brand maturity. At the earliest stages, organizations often have no one assigned to administer their digital assets. As their needs develop, one person will typically be given this responsibility — but it will be of secondary importance. In most cases, 10% to 20% of the administrator’s time is devoted to DAM maintenance.

Over time, the goal should be to ensure consistent, accurate and up-to-date use of all content. This requires not only that the administrator is thoroughly trained, but also that formalized training programs are initiated for others. IT personnel, as well as content specialists, will be increasingly involved, and the DAM administrator’s time will increase to fit the need.

At the highest level of maturity, VP-level executives are aware of — and actively engaged in — the process of utilizing brand assets to advance the company’s marketing goals. About 80% to 100% of the administrator’s time is devoted to DAM platform effectiveness.

Related Article: Librarians: Digital Marketing Needs Your Skills

A DAM Team Plan

Ideally, businesses appoint someone with a library or information science background to maintain the DAM platform. This individual will be the focal point for system maintenance, global process and procedural development, communications, metadata creation and consistency, training and user support. Organizational and documentation skills are paramount.

To move from the lowest levels of maturity in terms of staff development, outside coaching can be helpful. A qualified DAM vendor can make recommendations and review progress. If a small internal team is sharing responsibility for digital asset management, find ways to share the work, or start a weekly or monthly rotation. As the team progresses, it can form a coalition of stakeholders to drive things forward. HR can assist by making asset utilization a part of new employee onboarding.

Next, encourage the team to join an external user community to learn best practices, share experiences and gain inspiration. This momentum will make the highest maturity goals possible, in which you land direct support from your senior marketing and brand executives. It will ensure you have the right financial and strategic resources to optimize your management practices.

Remember that brands are built by the sum total of customer experiences. Managing your brand well means, in large part, that you manage your brand assets well. Delivering a consistent brand experience is difficult — but not impossible, especially when your strategies, people, processes, technology and desired impacts are aligned.

In the next article we’ll discuss how to organize your marketing technology (martech) ecosystem for consistent brand success.