Accidents happen. Servers crash, basements flood, clumsy co-workers spill coffee on your hard drive. The problem is, when it comes to your brand’s creative assets, accidents can come at a high price.
Your media is extremely valuable, and in some cases, irreplaceable. What if someone stole an image you paid a professional photographer top dollar to produce? What if something happened to those archive photos that are the best record of your brand’s history?
You can’t afford to let certain accidents happen. That’s why – in honor of our new on-demand webinar, How to Prepare for the Visual Content Apocalypse – we’ve put together this list of common disasters, and how to avoid them.
11 Common Disasters (and How to Protect Your Brand’s Media Against Them)
1. The Blue Screen of Death
If you’ve ever seen the Blue Screen of Death, you know how it feels. A moment of terror, with an unrealistic sliver of hope that maybe this isn’t really happening to you. For me, it happened 10 pages into a 20 page paper during finals week in college. But comparatively, those are pretty low stakes.
Imagine seeing the Blue Screen of Death – indicating a fatal system error – right after you imported a recent marketing photo shoot and cleared the SD card.
Always back up your files. Whether you use an external hard drive or a cloud-based library, make sure all of your files live in two places at once.
2. Hard Drive Mishap
My external hard drive sits right on top of my desk in the middle of our open office floor-plan. What would happen if a clumsy co-worker accidentally spilled his coffee as he passed by? Is your hard drive in a danger zone?
Keep a cloud-based media library. Backing up your assets safely in the cloud will help you rest easier, and guarantee that you can get to your media whether you’re sitting at your desk or on-the-go.
3. Server Crash
A close relative to the Blue Screen of Death and a hard drive mishap, having a server crash is a nightmarish problem that could absolutely happen to you. While you may be able to get your server back up and running and recover your data, this will take time. If you need your files during that time, what are you going to do?
4. Accidental Deleting and Resizing
When everyone on staff has access to your server, it’s possible (and probable) that someone could accidentally delete an important video clip, downsize a high resolution photo, etc.
Protect your creative assets by controlling who has access to them. Only a select group of people who have experience working with creative assets should have access to your brand’s most important photos, videos, creative files, etc. Other members of your staff should have access to see and download the assets they need, but they shouldn’t have the ability to delete or resize them. Learn more about how to control who has access to your media library.
5. Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can wreak havoc on your organization. When it comes to your creative assets, they can cause irreparable damage. Does your brand have old negatives, film or printed photos stored in your office?
Digitize any media that preserves your brand’s history. Not only will digitizing these highly valuable assets help you protect them against any disaster, but it will also allow you to use them in new and creative ways.
6. Unexpected Exits
What would happen if your photographer, graphic designer, creative director, etc. left your company unexpectedly? Would you know where to find your brand’s most important creative assets?
Have one centralized place for your brand’s creative assets. If someone leaves, you don’t want to have to sift through that person’s computer, email inbox, personal Dropbox folders, etc. to find your brand’s assets. Not only is this a huge time waster, but you may also never find everything.
7. Email Inbox and Dropbox Burial
If you use email or Dropbox to share creative assets, chances are files are getting lost. It’s easy for emails with photos attached or Dropbox notification emails to get buried in your inbox. Plus, these emails are rarely labeled well, which means trying to search for them is a time-consuming losing battle.
Standardize how you share creative assets. Getting everyone on the same page about how to share files with other team members will help you make sure files don’t get lost.
8. Subpar Security with Sites Like Flickr, SmugMug and Dropbox
If you and your team members are using consumer tools like Dropbox, SmugMug or Flickr to store your creative assets, you’re taking chances with your media. Some of these sites don’t require a login, so there’s no way for you to keep track of who is downloading your assets. Plus, they make it easy to make mistakes. For example, Pandora used to use Box to store and share their creative assets, but switched tools because folders that needed to be private were getting unlocked accidentally. Don’t make it easy for someone to steal your brand’s creative assets.
Prioritize the security of your creative assets. Store your media in a secure location – don’t use a consumer tool. When you’re sharing your most valuable media assets, require people to log in so you can track downloads. Plus, use watermarks when you’re displaying your assets publicly.
9. Copyright Infringement
Whether you’re storing assets in an unsecure location, sourcing assets from questionable stock sites, or using media you can’t remember if you have the rights to use, you could be risking copyright infringement.
Get serious about usage rights. Store your creative assets in a secure location. Source photos, videos, etc. from reputable sites or creatives – never pull something from Flickr or Google Images. Use metadata to record usage rights, and store image releases, copyright agreements, etc. alongside your assets.
10. Overuse of Your Creative Assets
When it’s hard to find fresh creative assets, chances are you and your team members using the same content over and over. This is not only boring for your team, but it’s also boring for your audience.
Make it easy to find new content. Store assets in an easily accessible location, so people can find new creative assets whenever they’re available. Plus, use metadata to record campaigns where an asset has been used.
11. Underuse of Your Creative Assets
The flip-side of overuse is underuse. If your team members can’t find creative assets, then valuable media is sitting unused. This means you’re wasting money, and you might be duplicating costs because you’re recreating assets you already have.
Have one go-to place for team members to find content. If people know where to look, your creative assets will be used more often, and you’ll use a wider variety of assets in your brand’s communications. That means you’ll see a higher return on investment on every asset in your library.
How to Prepare for the Visual Content Apocalypse
As you produce more and more visual content, your brand is taking on more risk. Learn how to better manage your content and protect your brand by watching our on-demand webinar, How to Prepare for the Visual Content Apocalypse.
Cover photo by Scott Serfas.