Giving the gift of ubiquity to your assets
BY JÜRGEN BURGER
Do you know how much of your marketing content is duplicated in your company? Do you know which team in your company, be it marketing or communication, is the biggest consumer of your last photo shoot? And this image found on Twitter, do you know who produced it? “How do you tackle these challenges? With the Single Source of Truth,” announces Olivier Grenet, Wedia’s Chief Technology Officer.
Olivier, what are the recurring problems you see in terms of content in large companies?
Everything starts with a usual trend: the ease of production – and increased assets consumption – has gradually led to a high level of complexity. It has been generated by the profusion of creative tools, hosting offers, broadcasting platforms, etc. Typically, in large enterprises, everybody stores images by their own means, i.e. communication uses the corporate website, marketing has its merchandising tools and e-commerce solutions, corporate communication relies on its Brand Centre etc. This phenomenon is amplified by the number of subsidiaries and countries.
And what are the consequences?
Beyond the obvious consequences, such as costs, for example to crop the same picture in several countries, security, or low efficiency, there are real problems. First, in relation to the production quality, such as degraded photos, missing links, missing fonts, heavily compressed images and videos, that cannot be repurposed anywhere. Then there are issues related to duplicates that lead to confusion, for instance by not indexing it the same way as the original content, or when the naming of documents and attached keywords are not unified and thus create discrepancies. Last but not least, there are copyright issues. When an asset is copied, its actual rights will likely not be copied, leading to improper usage and legal risks. There are also channel usage rights problems, for example when an asset acquired for digital use may only be printed. Model releases will be ignored. This will get companies into legal trouble, and believe me, this can be a real mess. It is therefore urgent to manage those topics more smoothly and easily. Without a doubt, the only solution is the centralisation of the assets.
What is the “Single Source of Truth”?
This expression comes from the world of computer sciences and industry. It is not only a matter of creating a unique documentary reference, but also of using it as a single source of distribution. From a digital point of view, it is like a database also used as a content server. In practice, pre-existing software won’t change, but will use links (i.e. URL) toward contents. This is a very smooth transition: rather than copying the asset to a local library, you are just embedding it. Consequently, the Single Source of Truth is a perfect match for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution.
Can you remind us what a Digital Asset Management solution is?
A DAM is the central repository for all marketing and communication contents such as photos, videos et al. It enables them to be stored, managed and shared easily among teams, channels and markets. A Digital Asset Management platform also offers the ability to control these assets with validation workflows, enforcing their associated rights and ensuring their history and traceability.
Let’s go back to the Single Source of Truth. What are the major benefits?
Its main benefit is the ability to truly cope with the usage of content on several axes, starting with the famous copyright management, which is a puzzle without it. Thus, you can prevent the rights’ expiration when you choose to automatically archive the image and plan its replacement on a specific date, or simply to negotiate an extension. One can also control its geographical and/or network usage, because content can be authorised on Facebook for example, but not on Instagram.
What else does it allow?
The Single Source of Truth allows you to react very quickly in case of a crisis. Because the withdrawal (or modification) of an asset is instant, it can be very useful if an inappropriate photo is inadvertently found online. But it also enables the possibility of setting up embargos on a selection of images or videos. For example, it is possible to blur the future assets of a new model of a car brand, up until the moment of its launch on stage by the CEO. For educational and training videos, material may be updated without having to change anything on the website. It is just a matter of pushing the new version from the DAM.
What is the place of data analysis in this process?
The other strong advantage of the Single Source of Truth lies precisely in the analytics. In fact, it is the only way to instantly obtain the performances of an asset. With the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms in a Digital Asset Management solution, it is possible to detect trends and to predict the success or failure of content. This allows customers to produce popular content again or vice versa, to change it so it doesn’t get boring. The data analysis also makes it possible to automatically suggest contents adapted to the diffusion, orienting the creativity on what pleases or is requested in each of the brands’ Business Units (BU), or in each country where it is present. Ultimately, the Single Source of Truth is making content management easier.
In which environment does the Single Source of Truth evolve?
The Single Source of Truth is only useful if the DAM solution, for example, is connected to an entire ecosystem, that is e-commerce sites, Content Management System (CMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), mobile applications or a Brand Centre. Each participant in this ecosystem draws its content directly from the DAM, but also retrieves all the metadata associated with its assets. This information can be as varied as the name of the product on the picture, its size, GPS location of the photo shoots, legal information or product references. A picture of a blue bike for a child, which is on the site of a retailer, will therefore automatically see its “alt” tag filled with essential information for its SEO. And on an e-commerce site, the URL of each image will contain all the references to the product.
Lastly, what is the Return of Investment (ROI) for the implementation of a Digital Asset Management solution with Single Source of Truth?
It is quite a difficult question to answer, because a Digital Asset Management solution contains many additional features that contribute to making it unavoidable. On the other hand, unification gives actual value to each and every content because it is easy to divide the production cost by the number of impressions to measure its ROI. Besides, IT services have only one database and solution to keep up to date, which will be the unique reference for dozens of different applications. Marketing services are also pleased, avoiding duplication or unnecessary purchases of art. And it also saves more time to focus on higher value tasks such as strategy and creation, with less tedious and time-consuming activities. Finally, we end up with a diffusion of contents that has a much better technical quality thanks to the automatic insertion of keywords (SEO), the relevant naming of images, or the use of mirror servers (CDN) which guarantee a fast display everywhere in the world, and thus a better search engine optimisation and ultimately a strengthened user experience for the consumer. In conclusion, the Single Source of Truth is profitable.
Olivier started his career in 1997 with Accenture, and joined Wedia as CTO in 2000. He has since led the product team at Wedia. He is a graduate of Dauphine University and holds a Master’s degree in computer science. He believes that creativity is all about connecting things, and loves building the tools that empower people.
Wedia is an international group and a leader in marketing solutions. Its cloud platform for Marketing Resource Management makes it easier to centralise content and to quickly create print & web supports.
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin, issue Q4 2017. Picture credit © Jan Tong/EyeEM/Getty Images