What is Brand Asset Management (BAM)?

Getting to Know Brand Asset Management (BAM)

‘What is BAM, and how is it different from DAM (Digital Asset Management)?’, is a question that I am often asked. There are different ways to answer it, of which some are more suitable than others, depending upon the role of the person asking. However, there are many aspects to the discussion that are equally valid to all. My preferred response is to say that BAM is a specialised variant of DAM software that is tailored to address the specific needs of Brand Managers. Or, more colloquially, a type of DAM application designed to help people manage their brand’s assets more easily and reliably.

So, we understand now that it targets a particular role or group of people, but what are the actual differences? There are, of course, several technical differences, however, to address those first, before looking at the more human side would be doing a disservice to the bigger picture. To understand the differences entirely, we must consider how the users of BAM and DAM differ, only then can we really reflect on how the value proposition differs between the two.

The Traditional DAM User

Let’s first make sure we’re all familiar with the traditional DAM user’s characteristics before moving on to consider the differences with a BAM user. A DAM user, traditionally, is seen a type of digital librarian, the sole guardian of an organisation’s accumulated wealth in digital media, be that images, photography, video, PDFs, or office type documents. They are responsible, in much the same way as a traditional bricks and mortar librarian (the building, not the person), to the extent that they are concerned with the quality and findability of the assets or content their library holds. The main tool librarians have to manage the quality and findability conundrums is asset metadata, the additional information that resides alongside the actual file to provide business context and to enrich our understanding of the asset and its history. To empower the librarian user to fulfill their role, a DAM application’s interface is feature rich and information dense, allowing complex and comprehensive information and functionality to be exposed through a single interface, designed for a well trained, experienced, and regular user to quickly and efficiently execute a particular task, often in bulk. For this role, Northplains' Telescope is the world leader and should be on your checklist to review.

Who Uses BAM?

In contrast, a BAM software user is more often than not, accessing the system on a less regular, more ad-hoc basis and is looking to perform a simpler task. Their roles and job titles vary greatly, and accessing the BAM software is a smaller aspect of their role, as opposed to a regular, daily task. They are unlikely to be a brand asset management specialist and are likely to have access to many other systems alongside the DAM. Formal training is unusual. For this type of user, a wholly different design mantra needs to be employed. We must consider carefully the usability and intuitiveness of the interfaces, designing in such as way as to ensure the application guides a novice user in their choices, and provides clear indications to the primary actions available to them. So, whereas a DAM is about power and control, a BAM is about accessibility and usability, which can be seen clearly in Northplains' On Brand, our specialised Brand Asset Management (BAM) application.

There are, of course, as already alluded to, technical differences, too. In fact, BAM, at its heart, is a lightweight DAM system with some additional features, Brand Guidelines being the key one. Brand Guidelines sit alongside and support the assets within the BAM, providing a space for Brand Managers to not only present their Brand assets, but also provide context and usage guidance to their audience. So, whereas a DAM provides access to the latest version of assets, a BAM extends this to provide context and usage guidance, too. Other features often, but not always, seen in a BAM are collaborative type capabilities, allowing people to work together within the BAM, and social media type sharing, too.

If you would like to know more about Northplains’ DAM and BAM tools, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information and a demonstration.

Rory McClelland
Product Manager On Brand & Unify