Get Creatives in Your DAM Business for Incredible Customer Experiences
by Mike Carley
posted on 07-31-2020
Chances are you’re trapped inside at your desk, so let me paint a relaxing picture for you — it’s 73 degrees at the golf course, and nothing but bright blue sky and green grass await as you step into your stall at the driving range. You tee up your first ball and hit an absolute beauty dead center down the range. You’re excited to replicate that success with your next ball and maintain the focus you began to build.
Now imagine this driving range makes you keep your extra balls in a bucket about 20 feet behind your stall. Imagine how the mindset and focus you curated for that first shot would evaporate during that short walk for ball No. 2. My guess is this driving range session wouldn’t last for more than a few inefficient minutes.
Not surprisingly, unplanned or forced context switches can be a massive impediment to productivity, and it’s easy to see why when we apply these context switches at the driving range. But when it comes to experience creation, far too many internal creative teams are forced to leave their tools of choice to find the content they need to work within their organization’s digital asset management (DAM) application.
The dreaded content bottleneck
This comes at a time when every day, teams find themselves struggling to create, manage, and deliver the massive amount of content necessary to drive their business and exceed consumer expectations. Many brands turn to tools like DAM to help solve these problems of content velocity. But if those efficiencies don’t extend upstream to your internal creative teams, your ability to create content to fuel personalization will continue to be hampered by email-driven workflows, needlessly duplicated content, and low ROI.
Any DAM you choose should be able to provide creatives the content and feedback they need, directly within Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator, to eliminate email-driven workflows and speed content from creation to approval.
For example, at Adobe we have the privilege to natively connect our DAM offering, Adobe Experience Manager Assets, to these essential Creative Cloud applications via a plug-in called Adobe Asset Link. Creatives can leverage this panel to quickly check out assets, make requested changes, and check assets back into the DAM, seamlessly updating the version history.
By ensuring creatives can find the content they need, in the applications they enjoy, tools like Adobe Asset Link eliminate email-driven workflows to speed content through the creation and review process, ensuring your organization has the required content velocity to populate personalized experiences with dazzling, device-optimized content.
However, the synergies between DAM and creative operations don’t stop at providing content access within creative tools. Let’s take a look at a few specific examples of how a DAM can help supercharge creative operations across Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Fantastic DAM photo shoots with Photoshop
Global teams working with the output of extensive photo shoots can save massive amounts of time leveraging DAM and tools like Adobe Asset Link directly within their Photoshop work streams. Despite working across multiple time zones and locations, creative teams
can utilize Creative Cloud collaboration capabilities to track versions and check-out and check-in assets, without ever leaving Photoshop, in order to avoid duplication of efforts.
Organized collections provide detailed tracking of each asset’s evolution and help streamline the approval workflow. Using preset rules, creative teams can then provide a single master asset and leverage the DAM to generate all necessary renditions, automatically. The finalized assets retain a complete history of edits, as well as metadata that makes them easy to search, sort, and share with internal and external stakeholders.
Automated design for every team with Illustrator
No product design team works in a vacuum. As a result, it is important to think about how you can best work with those around you to successfully produce and launch a new product using Adobe Illustrator and DAM.
A DAM can and should integrate directly into other enterprise systems, such as the content management system ( CMS) used by a marketing team to run a website, or an e-commerce platform used by merchandising to lay out and sell products, ensuring important data can be shared automatically. As production-ready files are approved, downstream users can export these files from the DAM and import them into their own environments. Collections can also be made automatically (such as “Summer Casual Wear”) and shared directly from the DAM to other applications.
Here are some ways in which collaboration can be automated through integration with other departments.
- Share finalized production-ready assets and metadata directly from the DAM
- Automate sharing of proofs and approvals
- Keep product delivery timelines updated in product delivery software
- Create layouts in a commerce engine using design drafts as placeholders for product photos
- Design outfits and featured items based on product data such as unit cost and order quantities
- Use production-ready designs to produce photography shot list
- Share a collection of finalized assets to use as base materials in planning campaigns
- Plan product line launch with delivery dates from manufacturing
Automate and appreciate with InDesign
One of the greatest points of synergy between DAM and Creative Cloud can be found in InDesign Server, a server-based companion tool built on the same code base as desktop InDesign and released in tandem with InDesign updates. InDesign Server can be used to automate complex InDesign workflows and can be triggered by workflow events to make it easy for non-designers to create and update InDesign files without having to open InDesign.
For example, let’s examine the problem of catalog creation. To tackle these challenges, an organization can build sophisticated and flexible catalog templates using InDesign software and then automate production using a data source and business logic. The template can include images and text in Adobe Experience Manager Assets, product details from a product information management (PIM) system. Through plug-ins and scripts, the catalog could be laid out automatically and output to a print-ready PDF or brought back into InDesign for further design work. By leveraging InDesign Server, brands can streamline and automate the production of professionally designed catalogs, without requiring additional creative resources.
DAM — what’s next
There is so much more to look forward to as the connection between a DAM and creative tools continues to develop. When it comes to customer experience, it is no longer enough to create customer journeys by assembling random pieces of individual content. It’s now more important than ever to equip creatives with new tools that allow them to design that user experience holistically, using the same efficiencies their colleagues have available for image and video design workflows.
That’s why here at Adobe, we are extending our Adobe Asset Link functionality into Adobe XD to provide CX design professionals the same efficiencies already leveraged by image and video designers, ensuring they can find the content they need, directly in their UX design tool of choice.
However, the innovation doesn’t stop there. Imagine if you could extend API-driven automation across your content lifecycle, leveraging your DAM as the central staging engine. At Adobe, we’re developing intelligently automated workflows with API-based functionality from popular Creative Cloud applications like Photoshop and Lightroom, allowing marketers to automatically execute common tasks needed to get assets ready for production.
Imagine equipping your marketing teams with unique services like intelligent background knockout, automated image straightening and sharpening, and AI-driven saturation optimization. These could all be simple workflows that would run on any and all assets during ingestion, ensuring content hits the DAM looking ready for production.
By eliminating these formerly manual manipulations with API-driven automation, marketers can both free up their creative teams to focus on higher ROI activities and scale their own ability to populate segment-specific experiences with fantastic looking, conversion-driving content.
As digital experiences become more important than ever, the demand for content to fuel personalized experiences across channels will continue to grow exponentially. Ensure you’re prepared to meet that demand by leveraging the game-changing efficiencies found at the intersection of creative operations and digital asset management.
Did you miss our July Experience Insider webinar where we discussed the Four Things Your DAM Should Do Outside of Managing Your Assets? View the recording here!
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Topics: Personalization, Digital Transformation
Products: Experience Manager, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Creative Cloud