How always-on and mobile-first strategies start with smart content operations

After I graduated from college, I grabbed as many business formal clothes as I could find or afford. I thought I would strut into my new job as the model young professional, only to realize when I showed up that everyone around me was “business casual”, and more on the casual side than the business. Fast forward a few years, and I've amasses a heap of business casual clothes in my closet, just I'm realizing that the tech and marketing worlds are quickly shifting toward styles loosely defined as “casual”, “smart casual”, and “athleisure”. I’ve business-casually dropped hundreds of dollars on clothes no longer in style at the office.

Fashion changes in an instant, and how customers choose to approach and consume fashion changes even faster. The last thing that fashion marketers need to be worrying about is creative operations — content production, management, or distribution —but all too often, that is the case.

When a consumer views a fashion product image on his/her phone, as 87% of shoppers will before visiting a store, where did that image originate? How did it reach that web application so that it could be viewed by the consumer? Was it a long and arduous process, or was it streamlined?

If you could make that process more straightforward, and less agonizing for those tasked with managing it, would you? What would that look like in terms of time and resources? How many people would love you for it?

Creative operations at a fashion company is the vehicle that drives marketing forward; improving efficiency in that arena sets off a positive chain reaction that ripples all the way to the consumer and the point of sale. Digital asset management is a tool that fashion brands can adopt to streamline the management and usage of all the digital content that goes into making a fashion brand stand out.  

Here are the top 5 uses of DAM for fashion brands: 

1. Collaboration


DAM can make the web a little less tangled for a brand manager or creative director in fashion, centralizing all media onto one tool. This is beneficial not only to the brand team, but also for third parties like agencies and photographers:

• Sharing: simple transfer of large files with existing users or external parties
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• Permissions: everyone can work with the same files, but not in the same way. The creative director and designer need a different set of permissions than the intern or the retailer, with all due respect to the intern. A DAM solution can configure that automatically. 


• Annotations and revisions: Instead of sending different versions and revisions over email, annotations on assets can be made right where the work-in-progress asset lives, with new versions uploaded to that same workflow. 


Who loves the collaboration element?  Photographers, agencies, and the brand team that works with them

2. Creation


A DAM creative suite connector can be the bridge that automates the sourcing of assets for designers, eliminating manual downloads and re-uploads. Designers are equipped with a full library of company logos and graphics, and aren’t limited to their own desktops or forced to ask fellow creatives for additional assets. 

 Furthermore, the creation of collateral can start within the DAM by use of creative briefs, so anyone in marketing or even across the organization can request the creation of new content . Warning: designers may find themselves flooded with even more requests than usual, and will have to prioritize accordingly. On top of that , the ability to collaborate all in one place will no doubt result in cleaner inboxes and quieter Slack threads!

Who loves the creation element? Graphic designers and illustrators

3. Categorization


How many different images—from product shot variations to lifestyle shots—is a single item featured in at a fashion brand? Dozens? Hundreds? Without a sophisticated system that categorizes them and makes them easy to find, those valuable marketing assets are destined to get lost at the bottom of the pile. That’s why categorization based on these multiple factors is key:

  • Metadata: the attributes assigned to an asset (department, file type, etc..) that will be associated with it for indexing and retrieving assets from the digital library. 

  • Tags: “on the fly” categories, typically more topic-based or visually-driven than a metaproperty. For instance, if a metaproperty for an asset is “Fall”, a tag could be “flannel” or “boots”. 

  • Collections: a unique grouping of assets that exists as its own web page with a link that’s shareable. Collections are typically created when a large group of otherwise unassociated assets need to be shared via a single link. Instead of sending bulky files, the sender just has to share the link. 
 


Tagging assets to individuals, like models, photographers, or designers, is especially useful in fashion. Everything is the brand’s intellectual property, but filtering by an individual person ensures a clear snapshot of who exactly has been involved on what, and it’s a very obvious way to search through assets. Additionally, it provides the  creative individual with a catalogue that they can automatically transfer into their personal portfolio—if the brand allows it!

Who loves the categorization element? Creative services managers

4. E-commerce


The state of e-commerce for fashion is best described in this “Think With Google Fashion Trends 2016 Report”:

Fashion may have gotten fast, but consumers have gotten faster. On Google, they're shopping in countless micro-moments every day—looking for ideas, finding the best, and buying with a tap.

DAM for fashion e-commerce can serve as the one central source for all images that eventually make it onto the webshop, mobile app, and any other endpoint that engages with the online customer. The appetite for inspiration and information via digital content is clearly there from the consumer, so the question is: can the brand deliver?

Getting e-commerce content published on time is always chaotic, but it’s a little less chaotic when everyone involved knows exactly where to find the media they need. Moreover, with the right integrations, content can be sourced to the e-commerce platform automatically.

Who loves the e-commerce element? Product managers and e-commerce directors

5. Brand distribution


It’s hard enough for assets to progress along the content lifecycle to the point of finalization, and even after that there’s a whole host of problems that can pop up at the point of publishing, promotion, or distribution. That’s why it’s so important to have a system that has built-in rules for brand distribution. The most suitable assets are then always in the right hands when they’re needed.

Fashion brands rarely work in isolation. Often there’s a complex network of distribution partners, retailers, vendors, and collab brands. And they all need each other’s brand identity elements! Public-facing brand guidelines with downloadable assets and detailed permissions are huge on this front, as it automates so much communication and transference of assets traditionally done via email.

Who loves the brand distribution element? Brand managers and merchandisers

Dying to learn more? See how 10 different marketing roles make their daily lives easier with DAM. 

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