MediaBeacon Blog

How DAM Drives the Design Process for Digital Maturity in Brand Packaging

April 10, 2018 by Tracy Askam

Team working on color selection with color guide on desk near computer for brand packaging

This article originally appeared on Simplify My Packaging on April 10th, 2018.

Packaging often needs to be updated based on consumer demand, legal regulations, product alterations, or market trends, therefore a digital asset management (DAM) solution is an essential technology for packaging companies who strive for maturity in their digital ecosystem. Without a DAM, it can be difficult to find previous versions of packaging assets when updates need to be made. Once the content is found, the process updating the packaging can be slow and costly.

A DAM helps speed up time-to-market and improves the content creation process; it is a solution for brands to store, search, manage and distribute digital assets. As a single source of truth for brand assets like images, videos and symbols, it can transform the packaging design process.

So, where does DAM fit into the digital maturity model for brand packaging?

The model provides a framework for the different stages that a brand goes through as they strive for digital maturity in their organization. It identifies five stages:

  • Reactive: Manual, offline tasks and processes are triggered by external pressures.
  • Organized: Tasks are triggered for established stakeholders by defined processes, timelines, and physical quality measures using basic computerized tools.
  • Digitized: New projects, tasks, and processes are completed and measured digitally using hardware and software specific to packaging.
  • Connected: Software and hardware is continuously integrated with the other business processes and systems such as color control applications, packaging workflow software, etc.
  • Intelligent: An integrated ecosystem of complete product information and imagery automatically improves and synchronizes across internal and external interfaces.

Ideally, a DAM should be implemented as a brand moves from the organized stage into the digitized stage so that it can evolve with the company as it progresses through the maturity model. As this shift takes place, CPG companies need to be able to search, create, review, approve and distribute their digital packaging assets from a single source. Powerful search capabilities give brands the tools to repurpose images and refresh packaging assets with agility. A DAM that includes workflows and analytics allows managers to identify and correct bottlenecks and hold stakeholders accountable for assigned tasks based on progress. Since managers have real-time insight into their workflows, they have visibility and control of the content creation process.

What DAM looks like for companies in the Digitized stage of the model

For example, a snack food company is getting ready to launch their newest healthy snack: veggie chips. The snack will be a mix of kale, beet, and sweet potato chips. The brand already has each of the chips as their own product, but making them into a mix is new.

Because this company has digitized its packaging process and assets, the project manager can search for images of kale, beets, and sweet potatoes in the company’s DAM and is able to find assets of all three vegetables, eliminating the need to re-shoot or purchase new images. The manager adds the images, logos, and labels into a project folder in the DAM and initiates workflows that assign the packaging design tasks.

The assets in the folder are synchronized locally to the designer’s desktop, where they can open the assets directly in their design program. The designer creates the packaging asset and saves it to the DAM, while simultaneously completing the task directly in their design program. Upon the task completion, the reviewers are automatically notified for approval and can review, annotate, and approve or reject the asset from their desktop or mobile device.

Once approved, a version is saved and shared with team members, like prepress and marketing, who can start the printing process and create campaigns with materials for distributors who will sell the product in their stores.

Because they used a DAM, the asset metadata is available in the details section of the digital asset. Metadata is information about the asset, such as the creative link, colors used, disclaimers, parent/child relationships with other assets, and other important information that may need to be referenced in the future.

The packaging asset is stored in the DAM, where it is easily accessible with a simple search. When an update is needed, the packaging asset can quickly be found and manipulated as necessary by using the workflow described above. The DAM provides complete control of the content lifecycle of the digital assets.

A DAM is an essential element for digital maturity and should be scalable to move with an enterprise as they navigate through the digital maturity model so it’s important to consider the broader digital ecosystem and connectivity with other software and systems when selecting a DAM. With the right DAM in place, brands can mature to have complete control of their packaging content process from start to finish.

Interested in learning more about the digital maturity model for the packaging process and how to deepen your company’s digital capabilities? Download the whitepaper here.