01 Feb 2024 Bulent Dogan

Agency Ownership of Digital Assets 

Welcome to our #2 of mini-series blog post written by Bulent Dogan, President and Solution Architect at CyanGate.

Unless your company has the internal resources to produce all your content, you are most likely dependent on agencies to produce and procure the content that is used in your marketing initiatives. You usually have an agency of record that sets the strategic vision of your marketing around your brand or products. You can also have a production agency that works in tandem with your agency of record that handles the mechanical aspects of producing digital content such as retouches, layouts of pages, color corrections, etc. 

All these agencies charge you money for both the acquisition of content and the creation of content. These charges can also include hefty fees paid to different parties including talent, videographers, photographers, venue owners, etc.  

Delivery of Digital Assets: Company's DAM vs Agency Ownership 

Once the content is created, the company plays a role in approving the content so that it can be executed. After this step, two things can happen; 

Delivery of Digital Assets

Either all digital assets can be delivered to the company’s own DAM, or all digital assets continue to live with the agency. In the case that assets are delivered to the company’s DAM, agencies can also possibly deliver just the final assets or the working files. If the files are not delivered at all, similar to when the working files are not delivered, switching the agency with a new agency can be problematic and expensive. At this point, the agency owns a big bargaining chip in its hands. They will be able to charge a large fee to deliver this content.  

Continuous Asset Delivery

Ideally, agencies should be contracted so that assets are delivered to the company’s DAM as work is approved along with the working files and metadata. This process should be a continuous process throughout the relationship between the agency and the company. Smart companies also put this as a requirement for holding payments so that they can avoid an unexpectedly large charge at the end of a contract. Additionally, this strategy can allow the company to leverage cheaper resources to execute mechanical production work or small changes without having to rely on an expensive agency. Assets delivered before production by the agency of record can then be handed off to a more cost-effective agency for production. 

Campaign, Asset, and Rights Metadata  

In the whole process, assets get tagged usually both in the agency’s DAM and then tagged again in the customer's DAM. Campaign metadata, asset-specific metadata, and also rights metadata should all be present at this time on the assets for better discoverability and reusability.  

This blog post just gives you an overview of how external agencies work with the customers, but it is missing the process of procurement of content and rights by the agency. My previous blog post mentioned this.

In my next blog post, I will talk about how companies leave valuable information with their agencies and leave the large-scale content production and procurement costs in the hands of their agencies. I will try to make the argument that agencies should also deliver the rights contracts to their customers and customers should have a way to approve the terms they are signing under.