Digital Asset Management (DAM) versus Brand Portal: Understanding the differences

Apples and Oranges

By Gert Fahrnberger

Only exceptional user experiences are good enough

It is apparent that marketing and sales are increasingly content driven and that only exceptional experiences will keep users engaged.

Nevertheless, when you look at the different technical components and solutions at play it becomes clear, that there are many seemingly similar and sometimes overlapping technologies involved in achieving the objective of exceptional user experiences.

Two systems that often cause confusion —and are frankly also described differently depending on which vendor you talk to — are Digital Asset Management Systems and Brand Portals.

Why is that? It’s Because oftentimes one cannot live without the other. Consequently, vendors who focus on Brand Portals also offer DAM components and vendors who focus on Digital Asset Management Solutions also offer light-weight Brand Portal functionality.

Let’s take a closer look at the attributes of the different components at play.

What is a Digital Assent Management (DAM)? What is a Content Hub?

Simply put a Digital Asset Management System is a system that stores, shares, and organizes digital assets – including images, videos, layouts, or campaign artwork in a central location. It is built around the content life cycle and supports content related processes associated with creation, indexing and search, workflow, version control and automatic creation of alternative renderings as well as, access control.

A DAM is typically targeted at internal (and sometimes external) users in an organization who either contribute to or download and consume these digital assets.

A DAM may be deemed a central infrastructure within an organization that is connected to many adjacent systems downstream and upstream of it.

A Content Hub goes one step further. It extends the described DAM functionalities towards collaboration, content marketing and omni-channel delivery and thus helps to enhance compliance and improve the brand experience across all channels.

Landing Page of a modern Brand Portal

Brand Portal

What is a Brand Portal?

A Brand Portal is a hub for centralizing and sharing all the elements that affect your brand identity: Best-practice and guidelines, brand news, visual identity and logos, images and videos, strategy, UI elements, fonts, etc.…. Brand portals ensure that marketing teams can take control and easily manage and effectively communicate their brand to stakeholders and thus boost brand engagement.

A Brand Portal, also called Brand Hub or Brand Center represents a significant digital experience around your brand identity and as such serves as your brand ambassador and brand guardian. It is often aimed at a different target audience like external partners such as agencies, channel partners, or journalists as well as internal customers.

In short, a Brand Portal allows you to take control of everything that makes the brand, the brand.

When it comes to internal use cases within a company’s marketing team, the solution is usually a bit broader in terms of functionality and we then speak of a Marketing Portal.

A Marketing Portal helps corporate marketing departments support distributed teams by providing them with approved brand assets and strengthening their collaborative capabilities. Sometimes these portals even allow users to customize on-brand marketing content.

Brand Portal: Logo guidelines and download

When should I consider a Brand Portal? When do I need a Digital Asset Management System?

The answer to this question of course depends on your role and the needs and maturity of your organization. As an organization you would probably have to look at where you stand on a macro level and if you have a high volume of digital assets and a lot of users who are working with them, you either already have a DAM or you need to get one. Whether a Brand Portal is required is a separate question.

As a Brand Manager or marketing professional it is required that you effectively communicate about your brand and brand guidelines and to take control of the way your brand assets are used. So, if your target audience exceeds a couple-of-dozen people you definitely need a Brand Portal or Marketing Portal.

The important questions are:

  • How does a particular solution fit into your existing infrastructure?
  • Is there a DAM in place or not?
  • How long does it take you to be up and running?
  • What does it cost?
  • Will you be able to deliver a top-notch digital experience?

If you have a DAM in your organization, you could look at your DAM provider’s Brand Portal extension. However, these are often very light in respect to functionality, customizability, and user experience.

On the other hand, dedicated Brand Portals typically come with their own DAM and thus leading to the creation of another content silo.

At Smint.io we think its best to separate portal functionality from content getting you a “backless frontend” so to say. That way your Brand Portal leverages existing infrastructure investments while enabling you to take control of your brand assets.

It enables you to deliver a great digital experience around the communication of your brand identity and brand guidelines while offering your users the functionality they need and expect.

Lovable software for beautiful content.

Gert Fahrnberger

Gert is Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Smint.io.

Start a conversation