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How to build a digital asset management workflow with Canto

by Canto  |  June 18, 2024

9 min. read
A DAM workflow being created in Canto over a content library with a green background.

Content chaos is a common complaint among marketing and creative teams. As generative AI accelerates content creation and market demands surge, you may find yourself buried under an avalanche of digital assets more often than you’d like.

Locating and accessing your prized digital marketing assets when they’re most needed can be an overwhelming task. Marketing materials get lost, permissions are mishandled, and on-demand access is just a dream.

This chaos makes it challenging to find content and complicates collaboration among remote teams.

If that sounds familiar, you need a digital asset management (DAM) workflow. In this guide, you’ll learn the benefits of a digital asset management workflow and how to build one.

What is a digital asset management workflow?

A digital asset management (DAM) workflow refers to the processes and systems you use to manage all your content across the digital asset lifecycle. Digital asset management workflows include processes such as managing access permissions, ensuring assets are easy to locate, and approving content before it goes to market.

DAM workflows streamline content management by setting up predefined workflows for all your content to run through. These workflows accelerate content production, shorten review cycles, and help maintain brand consistency.

What are the challenges of operating without a digital asset management workflow?

From losing files to communication struggles, here are eight challenges your organization may face without a DAM workflow:

  1. Struggling to scale workflows: Without a centralized asset library that includes predefined workflows, businesses can struggle to expand their operations, adapt to increased demands, or keep projects on track.
  2. Using disjointed tools: Operating without a DAM platform often leads to using multiple disjointed tools to handle different aspects of asset lifecycle management. With disconnected tools, workflows get complicated, costs increase, and more training and coordination are required to keep content production moving.
  3. Managing manual workflows: Each content management step, from editing to approval, relies heavily on human intervention. Without a DAM workflow, the process is slow and prone to errors, leading to slower content launches.
  4. Increasing security risks: The absence of a DAM solution can increase the risk of unauthorized access and misuse of digital files. It’s impossible to keep tabs on licensed and copyrighted content when you only use cloud storage.
  5. Finding files takes longer: Without workflows inside a digital asset management platform, searching for specific files can become a time-consuming task. Delays occur because files are often scattered across different storage locations without any centralized indexing, metadata systems, or AI search functionalities.
  6. Collaborating is difficult: Without the right tools, team members might struggle with sharing files, version control, and communication, making it harder to work together.
  7. Launching off-brand content: Maintaining brand consistency is challenging when all content doesn’t run through DAM workflows. Without content controls, DRM, and approval controls, teams might use outdated or incorrect branding elements, resulting in the publication of off-brand content.
  8. Losing, misplacing, or not being able to access files: When there isn’t one source of truth for workflows, it’s easy to lose, misplace, or store files in inaccessible locations. When teams cannot find files, duplicates are created as replacements, consuming more resources and time.

Eight benefits of a digital asset management workflow

A small team of marketers looking at a laptop with a content library over an orange background.

From increasing content ROI to improving team collaboration and project management, here are eight benefits of implementing DAM workflows at your organization:

1. Centralize content operations

DAM workflows ensure that everyone—from marketers to designers—works cohesively by centralizing teams, processes, tools, and content into a unified workflow.

With all brand assets and workflows in one place, the DAM platform becomes an essential part of your marketing stack. DAM platforms like Canto make it easier to manage all aspects of campaign content production, track asset usage, and maintain brand consistency across multiple channels.

2. Accelerate digital assets to market

Digital asset management workflows significantly speed up the process of bringing digital assets to market. When you use workflows built into an AI-powered DAM platform, files are organized, searchable, and accessible — perfect for improving dispersed team collaboration.

DAM platforms also include essential sharing tools as part of your workflow such as portals and share links, so you can easily share assets directly with your audience or stakeholders.

Plus, when your DAM software integrates with your existing MarTech tools, it’s easier to build faster and more cohesive workflows.

3. Improve team collaboration

Workflows powered by DAM software feature annotations, comments, and workspaces to improve content project communication and collaboration.

Team members can leave feedback directly on media assets, encouraging real-time discussions and swift decision-making. Workspaces within DAM software offer a private digital space for teams to collaborate on the latest versions of projects or campaigns. Workspaces are super handy to house all relevant in-progress project assets and communications.

4. Scale content production and expand reach

When you place your workflows within an AI-powered DAM like Canto, you get advanced AI features like auto-tagging, AI facial recognition, and visual search, making it easier to scale content management.

Since you can create workflow templates for all your projects, manual processes become a thing of the past. You’ll replace them with linear workflows that align teams on content projects, even with dozens of projects and dizzying deadlines.

5. Increase content ROI

When you put your marketing workflows in a DAM platform like Canto, you get access to powerful AI search capabilities. Your teams can quickly find and repurpose the latest designs and content across various projects — you can even access content just launched from other workflows. Having easy-to-find polished assets helps you consistently use high-quality, relevant content in your campaigns.

Plus, by facilitating the reuse of top-performing content across different channels and markets, DAM software helps organizations maximize their asset lifecycle and value. By reducing the need to constantly create new assets from scratch, you’ll improve cost efficiency, too.

6. Maintain brand consistency

DAM workflows are your one-stop shop for reviewing all content. You can integrate various stakeholders — from compliance officers to marketing heads — into the review process, ensuring that every piece of content is scrutinized for brand alignment and compliance before it’s released.

Having a structured approval process means that only on-brand, accurate, and up-to-date content goes to the market.

7. Use resources efficiently

DAM workflows eliminate the need to use multiple tools for content management and collaboration and make your teams super efficient.

With marketing, content, and creative teams working on content in one platform, everyone’s time gets used efficiently. Plus, you’ll lower your dependency on other tools.

For example, rather than navigating through a mix of emails, Slack messages, and work management tasks to track updates on a project, team members can simply access a project within the DAM platform to view all relevant comments and changes. Everything is all in one place, so you don’t need so many tools to complete your workflows.

8. Enhance risk management and compliance

By running all content through a DAM workflow, all assets are protected under stringent security protocols. Also, every asset gets reviewed for compliance before being released.

DAM platforms like Canto include advanced permissions, encryption, and routine audits to ensure data integrity and security.

Running all content through a DAM workflow ensures that every asset is consistently reviewed for compliance before being released.

What DAM platform is best for building a digital asset management workflow?

Choosing the right digital asset management platform to build an effective workflow depends on your specific needs.

Due to its advanced AI search capabilities, Canto stands out as a top choice for scaling organizations with growing, complex content collections. Canto’s DAM also includes features like auto-tagging and facial recognition. And Canto has a user-friendly interface and robust collaboration tools, enhancing accessibility and efficiency.

Canto also integrates with many popular MarTech tools, supporting streamlined operations across marketing and creative teams.

How to build a digital asset management workflow in Canto: A step-by-step guide

Ready to say goodbye to content chaos? Canto Workflows save time, eliminate bottlenecks, and reduce the likelihood of miscommunication. Here are five simple steps to build a digital asset management workflow in Canto.

1. Select Workflows from the App Switcher menu. The workflow page will show up.

Screenshot of a Canto library showing off Canto App Switcher over a blue background.

2. Click on New to create a new workflow.

3. Type in the Workflow Name, Description, and Start Date. Assign a new owner if needed.

A screenshot of a digital asset management workflow being created in Canto over a green background.

4. The initial Status cannot be changed while setting up your workflow.

5. By default, the Type is set to Advanced (Rules-based). Click the dropdown to change to Basic.

6. Click Add Task to add a new task to your workflow.

7. Type in the Task Name, Description, and Due Date, and click Save. Repeat for all tasks in the workflow.

Screenshot of a task being added to a digital asset management workflow in Canto over a red background.

8. Click Save to complete your workflow.

Pro tip: Learn more about building Advanced Workflows.

Streamline your digital asset management workflow with Canto

Canto makes it simple to streamline workflows by giving you all the content management features you need inside an AI-powered content library. With Canto’s Workflows, AI Visual Search, Workspaces, and more, your teams will be able to find, collaborate, and share content faster than ever.

Ready to scale your content programs using AI and DAM? Get your free guide to scaling content programs using AI today.

Digital asset management workflow FAQ

What are the top use cases for a digital asset management workflow?

Digital asset management (DAM) workflows are incredibly versatile, but here are some of the top use cases:

  1. Brand management: Ensuring all marketing and communication materials are consistent with the brand’s standards and easily accessible.
  2. Content management: Streamlining the creation, approval, and distribution process for digital content to ensure timely release across multiple channels.
  3. Collaboration: Encouraging better cooperation among teams, especially those that are remote, by providing central access to assets and communication tools.

What is an example of DAM workflow?

An example of a digital asset management (DAM) workflow could involve the process of producing and distributing new marketing materials, such as social media campaign images:

  1. Upload and tagging: A team member uploads new images into the DAM platform. The software uses AI to tag each image with relevant keywords based on the media, and teams can add custom metadata as needed.
  2. Review and approval: The images go to the appropriate team members for review. Team members can leave comments or request changes directly within the DAM workflow.
  3. Revision: Based on feedback, a designer makes necessary changes and re-uploads the revised images. The latest version is now accessible for further review, with previous versions archived.
  4. Distribution: Once the content is approved, the marketing team accesses the final image version from the DAM platform to use in upcoming campaigns.