By Alan Porter, Sponsored by Nuxeo

Do you ever think about where the images on your product packaging comes from? How do they get there? How do the right images, text, and designs end up on the various different labels? How do you make sure that the same images are used in the appropriate marketing, commercials, or even on the in-store signage?

The answer is Digital Asset Management (DAM). Unfortunately most brands don’t realize they lack visibility into their digital assets until they have a problem such as an inconsistent customer experience or mislabeling. It’s not uncommon for outdated images of products or packaging to show up during customer interactions. This can have a negative impact on the brand experience.

Digital assets are also the foundation of any successful eCommerce platform. Today’s consumers demand engaging, relevant, images that successfully communicate the brand story and help them with product selection. Even if customers are not buying online, they are doing all their research in the digital space, so you want to give them the best first look you can, no matter what platform they are on. To keep pace with the speed of business today you can’t afford to use antiquated systems where you can be spending hours searching for assets, or wasting resources and money by unnecessarily recreating photo and video assets.

Photo and video, as well as other emerging rich media types (such as audio, or 3D), can become invaluable business assets when connected to product information and other business systems. This allows the right content and information to flow across the enterprise’s digital supply chain, ensuring that the right brand-focused information is always available to various teams as they need it.

Placing product image assets at the center of the digital supply chain

By its very nature, product photography is central to the creation of digital content. The product must first exist for it to be captured visually; so things such as ingredients, production, and packaging design need to be in place and available. Similarly any associated marketing campaigns need to be developed so that the creative studios or agencies know what is required.

Once the rich media assets have been produced, they will be used in the aforementioned marketing campaigns, and potentially on packaging, as well as for eCommerce platforms, social media, signage and many more uses. Experience shows that once a well organized and integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is in place, then the number of use cases for the assets across the enterprise increases rapidly.

A DAM system allows teams across the enterprise to determine at a glance not only what’s available but also which photos are approved, which markets they can be used in, which variants may exist, and how frequently and where certain images have been used. Many food companies make substantial investments in producing appetizing and innovative food shots. Without access to a full library of images, older images tend to get recycled when there may be newer, better, more appealing ways, such as lifestyle shots, to showcase a product. 

Managing your image assets

Is your creative team spending too much time doing busy work such as data entry and validation when they could be doing more productive brand-focused activities? A digital asset management system can automate a lot of those tasks as well as handle things like large file transfers between systems.

Many large companies either suffer from “process paralysis,” or have inconsistent workflows across different business units or subsidiaries. A true enterprise DAM can help manage the work-in-progress through effective workflow planning and management, or integrate with specialist project management tools, to ensure an underlying consistency, while also accommodating working with external agencies, varying local preferences, and regional regulatory needs. This is particularly useful for managing images and labeling, health claims, etc. on food packaging.

For distributed teams, a system that facilitates collaboration as well as handling repetitive tasks frees up creative staff to be creative.

Content hubs

The continuing expansion of so many delivery channels for customer-facing content creates exponentially more opportunities for food brands to interface with their customers. However without underlying asset management and control, such omnichannel publishing strategies can also create more opportunities for error or inconsistent customer experiences.

An asset management-based content hub allows you to control how your content is stored, discovered, managed, and used across multiple delivery channels and platforms. Managing the assets means you can control the accuracy of the messaging, ensuring that the right combination of images and content are delivered to the right channels formatted for the right device.

For companies that work with exterior agencies or suppliers, a content hub also provides a central location to ensure third parties have the latest images and information, as well as providing a syndication platform for their content to be used across the parent company.

A true enterprise digital asset management platform that connects content and operational data turns simple food photography from image assets into true business assets that enable the business to be proactive rather than reactive, and accelerates the time it takes to get the right food products on the shelf for the consumer.

Alan is an industry-leading content strategist and Nuxeo’s Director of Product Marketing. He is the author of “CX Trinity, Customers, Content, Context” and a regular conference speaker, workshop leader, and writer on Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Customer Experience, Brand Management, and Content and Localization Strategy. Named one of the Top 25 Content Strategy Influencers and a Digital Strategy thought leader in 2016 and 2017, Alan is a catalyst for change with a strong track record in developing new ideas, embracing emerging technologies, and introducing operational improvements. When he’s not at work, Alan makes even more creative content — like comic books (including the official Cars graphic novels for Pixar) and novels.