If you’re in the business of making, marketing or selling products, you know that visual sells. Customers have high expectations about seeing a rich set of images and videos closely matched to the actual product, their individual circumstances and their relationship to you as a brand and a provider. If the images are poor (or poorly placed), the product either doesn’t sell at all, or the product gets returned – and whoever’s left holding the inventory loses.
So, while your lightbox may be your sandbox, you can’t be an ostrich about mapping out workflow beyond the usual creative process. Where you are in the supply chain, who you’re publishing assets to, and why those particular assets go to that touch point, all make a huge difference to your B2C, B2B2C or DTC success.
And here are the top 5 reasons why your DAM workflow approach has to grow up:
Reason # 5 – Your Best Product Images Need to be Routed by Touch Point
Different asset variants are required for print, online and mobile channels, and increasingly are different not just by form factor but by how they’re scrolled (horizontal versus vertical). And having more than one angle on a single product is also often necessary. Make sure you consider routing workflow by every downstream touch point when ordering shoots and producing variants. And be sure to tag and label appropriately – see the GS1 Product Image Specification Standard for digital asset labelling as a starting point.
Reason # 4 – You Need to Coordinate Handoffs Across Teams
For an operation of any size, it’s rare that only a single team will need to handle, repurpose, tag, reuse and publish a digital asset. Be sure you’ve mapped out all those handoffs, who will perform what tasks on a given asset or asset group when, and where they’ll be stored along the way. The Adobe XMP standard allows metadata and product attributes to be stored within the asset itself. This allows modification of tags and other metadata in real time as the asset moves through the production process, rather than having to enter information separately in each repository. And understanding manual workflow paths can often be more important than those that are automated in improving quality and time-to-market.
Reason # 3 – Assets for the Same Product Vary by Brand, Geo-Location or Distributor
If your business distribution model involves packaging the same products differently by brand, location, reseller or other repurposing, your product assets will likely need to vary as well. In some cases, even your own customer support and service teams will require more detailed assets (as well as a copy of every asset by distribution route or brand). And make sure you’ve considered how you’ll control access, rights and routing tags for each of those downstream publishing workflows.
When assets are created as lifestyle shoots or to represent multiple products, the workflow for publishing, association with product SKUs and integration with non-product content is usually different than for single Product Information Management (PIM) assets. The “lifespan” of each product in the shoot will have to be considered. How, where and when the asset will be displayed may depend on a combination of Content Management System (CMS) templates, dynamically determined by site search or even personalized by shopper. Mapping, tagging and retiring these special asset workflows will both avoid confusion and provide for greater engagement and personalization opportunities with shoppers.
Reason # 1 – Your Assets are Destined for Social Media, Social Commerce or Augmented Reality
Finally, whether you intend it or not, your product assets are destined for contexts outside the control of your Digital Asset Management (DAM) ecosystem. Whether it’s intentionally publishing “ephemeral” assets for rapid test on Instagram (using analytics to see if a product or trend has enough interest to catch on), using Rich Pins on Pinterest to generate Social Commerce, or just because shoppers or downstream partners made copies or AR variations you didn’t control, consider workflows for each “go wild” scenario and make them into opportunities rather than liabilities.
Tag by each DAM workflow scenario. And your DAM strategy will grow up (and reach out).