Turning advertising production costs into financial assets

One of the most overlooked assets are the digital assets created by the advertiser’s agency, design companies and direct marketing companies. It seems that for many advertisers the production process is a consumable one, with new advertising created with each campaign and then once run, usually relegated to at best a “guard book” at the agency.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets comprise photography, illustration, logotypes, design templates and the like. But increasingly this can also include moving digital assets such as film and video footage from commercials and corporate and training videos and music and audio tracks from radio, on-hold music and the like.

Basically any creative or production element can be now stored in a digital format on a server or similar storage system.

Why are they assets?

Firstly in each case there is a financial cost or investment inherent in creating these elements. The initial investment is often just seen as a cost of production, and if the elements are discarded then they are simply that – a cost.

Secondly, if these elements are stored in a system that allows version control, systematic access and cataloguing then these become assets that can be reapplied and re-purposed to create new materials with minimal cost, thereby realising the value and providing a return beyond the original investment.

Finally, these assets appropriately managed can add value to your brand and business. Likewise, mismanagement through incorrect version control and the use of old or out-dated assets can negatively affect the value.

What are the obstacles?

The obstacles to realising the value of these digital assets:

  1. These assets are created by external suppliers and often reside in their control. Some suppliers are unwilling to provide copies of these to the advertiser, even if they are contracted to do so, because they see that possession of these can provide assurance for the continuation of the relationship.
  2. The assets are often encumbered by poor negotiations and agreements regarding talent fees and copyright ownership, which makes the realisation of the value of these assets complex and costly.
  3. Few advertisers can justify the time or financial investment to collect the assets and populate a catalogued storage system because they are unable to determine the value of such a system to build a business case.

What are the opportunities?

At the ANA Marketing Financial Management Conference last year, Nancy A. Nelson, manager, Marketing and Communication Services, and Dale R. Bohnert, manager, 3M Brand Identity and Design at 3M Corporation provided a case study in how they partnered with their external creative partners to revamp the brand identity system, resulting not only in a lightning fast global roll-out and execution, but in solid business growth for all involved.

While there are many products on the market and many suppliers who can provide these services to advertisers, relatively cost effectively, the biggest issue is identifying the size of the opportunity.

By undertaking an audit of your current digital assets and reviewing your future requirements you can determine the potential value such a system would deliver.

What do you think is the value of all of your digital assets?

One thought on “Turning advertising production costs into financial assets

  1. Darren –

    We're so glad you've highlighted the issue of digital asset management in this blog post.

    Copyright and IP ownership management can be a especially challenging for creative and ad agencies who are handling the intake of creative assets from a multiplicity of suppliers external to their organization. At Kunvay, we're on a mission to make the world safe for creativity so companies own their work, and clients own their future.

    It's hard to realize or calculate the full value of digital assets, especially when the basis of ownership is itself in question or unclear. Thanks for helping educate the advertising industry and for bringing more needed attention to the subject of digital asset management.

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