Safeguarding Intellectual Property with Digital Asset Management Platforms

Most brands focus on the technical benefits of a Digital Asset Management system, such as the ability to create, manage and organize digital assets. This is understandable, considering how crucial a DAM system has become to businesses across various sectors.

 The increasing complexity of Digital Asset Management requires a solid understanding of how to use it to its fullest potential. An often overlooked feature of a Digital Asset Management system is its inherent ability to safeguard your brand’s intellectual property. 

Many brands often forget about the value inherent in their assets. Even the process of digitizing and inserting them into a Digital Asset Management system makes them more valuable. The more metadata associated with them, the more unique and important they become to a brand. This is because these assets are, by and large, intangible intellectual property and to someone, somewhere, they will have a value. The more information you have about the object, the more valuable it is to that end customer. Therefore, safeguarding your assets is very important in order to ensure that you are able to reap the benefits of your brand assets.

What is Intellectual Property?

 According to the World Intellectual Property Organization,

“Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” 

In other words, intellectual property encompasses everything your company creates or licenses. This does not mean that everything is of the same value; but it is still in your best interest to safeguard its use. 

Trademark and copyright are the most significant legal protections for marketing teams to be aware of. Trademarks shield items such as company or product names, logos, certain styles, taglines, and other characteristics of (typically) well-known brands, such as colours, at a fundamental level. Trademarks must be licenced with the government, and before you have full rights to avoid unauthorised use by others, protection must be awarded by a legal entity. 

How to define a digital asset with “enduring value” 

While you may understand what constitutes a digital asset,  have you ensured that it clearly defined and communicated to the rest of your team? What exactly is a digital asset with “enduring value?”

According to a definition by the Society of American Archivists (SAA):

Enduring value is the continuing usefulness or significance of records, based on the administrative, legal, fiscal, evidential, or historical information they contain, justifying their ongoing preservation.’

In the context of your digital assets, this means that any and all content that is of significance to your team and plays a role in your operations are deemed valuable and should be protected using a Digital Asset Management system. If you are a small to medium business, you might not believe that your brand assets have a dollar value attached to them yet, but that is a big misconception. Using a DAM system is a quick and effortless way to reap the benefits of data protection along with a whole host of benefits (which you can read more about here.)

An important distinction here is that digital assets are not exactly the same as digital files. An asset implies value and usefulness. Not all digital files are useful and have value.

Why you should quantify your digital assets with a DAM system

In order to safeguard your digital assets, it is important to quantify their value. Some might wonder, “why do I need to safeguard my intellectual property in the first place if it is not highly sensitive or confidential?” To answer that question, we will illustrate some important use-cases below.

During Company Acquisitions and Mergers

When your brand is in talks to be acquired by another entity, your company’s intellectual property becomes an important aspect of the company’s worth. For example, in a business like a pharmaceutical firm, the entire value of the company could be based on the value of an important patent. Therefore, the compilation of trademarks and copyright-protected content for your business will increase your company’s value.

If your content is distributed among hundreds of storage devices and your team doesn’t know where the majority of items are, your content’s value is lower. If everything is in one location with tags and explanations that make discovering, using, and re-using your content simple for your team, then the content, and thus your intellectual property, is worth more. Your team can quickly point to a particular number during negotiation since you know exactly what you have, where it is and can appreciate its value. This is one of the most important reasons why you should safeguard your intellectual property using a DAM system.

During employee transitions 

During employee turnover, DAM systems can assist with intellectual property protection as well. For many businesses, employee turnover is extremely costly. You are losing experience, team chemistry, and you have to invest a considerable amount of resources and time to educate new team members. Sometimes, however, you can lose more than just knowledge, you can lose substantial intellectual property of the company.

If workers maintain all of their own work files on desktops and hard drives locally, or even only as email attachments, when an employee moves on, you run the risk of losing this content. You may not be able to locate it or have trouble in accessing it when required. However, if your team keeps content organised in one place by digital asset management, and everyone knows where and how to find important materials. 

Therefore, by implementing a DAM system in your workplace you can ensure that your intellectual property is safely accessible to your team regardless of employee churn. 

How to ensure your intellectual property is protected 

Now that you have a better understanding of why it is important to safeguard your digital assets, let us understand how to implement it.

In short, digital asset management is equipped with the features to help you secure your assets. There are a few ways you can in order to ensure your valuable data is not lost or exploited by any other entity.

List all your digital assets  

Before you can create a framework for protecting the assets you need to first list them all. This is crucial because even though it might seem like an elementary task many businesses are not even fully aware of the full scope of their intellectual property.

This includes:

Your company website, and all original content.

Social media accounts and all creatives.

Brand assets including colour palettes, fonts and logos. 

Customer information and client lists.

Photos and visuals created by your company.

Trademarks and patents.

In short, make a list of all company assets you own, even ones you believe no one would want to take. 

Implement role-based access to your digital assets

An important way to safeguard your assets is to implement role-based access and cross-functional collaboration. You would want a platform that gives you the ability to share workspaces and manage users from a single portal. If your senior team members have the ability to allow user-level-permissions, you gain the ability to control access to campaign-specific assets. 

This is incredibly valuable because it prevents any intellectual property from “leaking” and helps you keep track of which brand assets are being used by which team member. 

Define assets of enduring value

As previously mentioned, once you have compiled all your digital assets it is essential to define assets with “enduring value” – this will be unique for every organisation and help you prioritize which assets you will want to secure with more detail.

Involve your HR and off-boarding specialists to ensure valuable assets are retained 

It is a good idea to invest in an efficient off-boarding process in order to ingest any company assets an employee might have generated while working for your team. In order to ensure that you do not lose any such assets, you can set up a mechanism whereby they are required to upload any remaining assets to a DAM system as part of resignation formalities.

Final Thoughts 

Protecting your intellectual property is a valuable investment that is often neglected by small to medium enterprises, and a DAM system such as Rocketium allows you to effortlessly store, manage and organize your digital assets. Using such a platform not only gives your team a host of benefits but also eliminates the risk of losing valuable property your company has worked hard to generate.

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