Guru Talk: Kristy Smith – SBC Advertising

Kristy Smith - Digital Asset Manager

When building a digital asset management system, Smith knows it’s most effective to start small and do what makes sense to your organization.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I started my career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located in Columbus Ohio. Recently I became the digital asset management administrator for a large advertising agency, also in Columbus, called SBC Advertising.

I started as an assistant in the photography department for Nationwide Children’s. This was a new role created to fill a need on the photography team. My main focus was to assist the in-house photographers in managing day-to-day task like: coordinating and assisting on photo shoots and creating new standards for how we digitally manage assets on our network servers. At the time I was hired, the hospital was growing very quickly, and so was the need for a DAM system to manage the growing number of assets and accessibly to these assets. The Marketing & Public Relations department was charged with acquiring a DAM provider and implementing the new system. Since I was already managing the photography assets, I took the lead in the implementation of the new system. I continued to work with Photography and also started to work with the in-house Design team, so I could effectively manage all assets going through the creative services team.

At SBC, I have just begun the process of implementing a new DAM system for the agency and their clients. We are at the beginning stages of implementation but the goal is to improve the way assets are ingested, managed and distributed through the agency and to our clients.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I learned by doing. I definitely fell into this field- because I am good at problem solving and have borderline OCD tendencies when it comes to organization, I naturally excelled at managing assets and the data associated with them. I was also fortunate enough to work with an amazing DAM provider (Widen) on my very first implementation. They have an excellent resource library where you can access white papers, videos and webinars.

I also subscribe to CMSwire news and they provide a lot of relevant DAM content and free webinars.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

If you are implementing a DAM system for the first time- start small and grow the DAM in a smart way that makes sense to your organization.

I also think it is important to take the time to talk to as many groups/teams as possible within your organization- understand how they currently interact with assets and in what ways the DAM could help alleviate some of the pain points in their workflow. By gaining this insight, you can later provide personalized examples of how the DAM is going to help improve the efficiency of their daily tasks and in-turn receive valuable DAM buy-in from your core user groups.

If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?

I went to school to be a commercial photographer. I think the end goal was to eventually get a job with a large commercial studio or retailer and take product shots for their ecommerce sites. But it didn’t take long for my roadmap to change. I think you start in a field that you are interested in and you will naturally go in a direction that fits your personality and individual strengths.

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Guru Talk: Don Middlebrook – Hyatt Hotels

Don Middlebrook - Sr. Analyst – Digital Asset Management

Having worked for three major enterprise companies, Middlebrook knows the value of a solid digital asset management system is derived from sound taxonomy structures.

What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?

I have worked as a Digital Asset Management professional with three companies. The first one was with Baker Hughes an oil and gas company. And the second was with ContinentalAirlines/United Airlines. I started off as a contractor with Continental, then the two companies merged. Currently, I am Associate Product Development Manager with Hyatt Hotels.

At Baker Hughes I was a Web Content Specialist and maintained all of the assets from marketing materials to the source files and illustrations for those documents. The company used the system called MediaBin. I started off as an illustrator for the company coloring the engineering drawings of the tools the company produced. From there I placed each image on the intranet on individual pages in order for the marketing and engineering employees to have a single place to retrieve the assets.  This was the dawning of my DAM career.

With Continental/United they also Used MediaBin as their DAM tool. But my job there was much more extensive than with the previous company. Not only did I maintain marketing assets (web campaign assets) but also the photos and licenses for all the source photography. I set up and maintained the brand design teams SharePoint. And also managed the brand portal. This was the point of contact for the company for all branded assets such as logos, photography, brand statements and guidelines. I also helped with the setting up the taxonomy for the assets and created new metadata fields as the company assets and needs evolved. One way that it evolved was with the integration with the CMS from the web production team. We used MediaBin to store all assets and used the CMS to pull assets into templates that would then get pushed to the website.

How do you describe digital asset management to others?

My description of digital asset management has evolved over the years because of the change in type of management I have done. I originally just told people that I maintain files in a database and added meta tags to the files so that they are searchable.  These days I go into more detail on what all I manage, such as photography and all of its derivatives. I explain that I also manage the licenses for the photography and describe how those licenses differ from agency to agency. And I explain about the brand portal and how managing those assets in one central website allows for easy access from internal employees and external agencies to the companies branded assets and content.

How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?

I was doing DAM before I even knew of the term. It was only until the company purchased MediaBin that I came to understand what DAM was and what it meant for a company to start managing assets. And from there it has just been a continuing learning process. For me DAM blogs have been my main source for information.

What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?

Being thoughtful about setting up proper taxonomies and metadata is important. It took me a while to understand that concept. Because I was the only person overseeing the digital assets I created taxonomies and metadata based on how easy it would be for me to find assets. I quickly found out that it wasn’t about how easy it was for me to locate assets, rather it was more about being thoughtful in how the end user would search for files…and customizing the data for their benefit.

What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?

My biggest success with DAM is in continuing to grow my career by expanding outside of just maintaining files within one system but across many systems. With my last positions I oversaw the DAM along with the companies brand portal and I was reaching out to other groups to utilize the system for their work as well. The DAM was also integrated with the CMS for easy access to files that would be pushed to the web. In essence I was working towards creating a corporate solution for managing all files.

What more would you like to learn about DAM?

Learning is what makes you a stronger in the field. I attend conferences, read blogs and network with others in the field to learn more about DAM. My main goal is to learn from what others are doing with their DAM in order to draw inspiration on how I will use a DAM.

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  Category: DGP Member Interviews
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