How to organize your assets

Everyone in the branding and brand management industry will tell you that owning a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is a must to maximize your efficiency when it comes to handling marketing and brand assets.

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If you don’t have one already we suggest you start using one, and if you have one you should make sure that it is well structured. A messy or unstructured DAM won’t make your life easier. But don't be discouraged, after reading this post, you will know everything you need about organizing your DAM according to your needs.

Organizing assets

There are two important ways in which assets can be organized: You can define one or more categories to organize the assets or you can tag them with keywords. But, please keep in mind that we suggest you use categories and tags together to organize your assets better because it’ll be easier to find your assets.

There are some key differences between the two but overall categories are used for grouping assets and tags are merely an identification system.

What are categories?

Categories are groups in which assets are bundled to organize your database.

Although categories are used to organize assets, they are not the same as folders on your local hard drive!  If you want to store files in different locations on a hard drive, the file should be duplicated while a single asset can be placed in as many categories as you like, so use your imagination.

How to categorize

The goal is to organize your materials so they are browsable, searchable, and findable for everyone within the company. A good way to go about it is to put your heads together with key users of your entire organization and implement a category scheme that makes sense for your entire organization, not just the marketing department. So, it is important to have everyone involved during the decision process.

Some examples of groups of similar assets:

  • Per region: Every country can have its specific assets that are only allowed in that region, for example.
  • Per industry branch: Assets can be categorized according to their particular sector or industry. This can be helpful when managing the assets of a conglomerate.
  • Per discipline: Every discipline within an organization can have its category structure to keep marketing separate from R&D.
  • Per product group: If your organization has multiple products and product groups, it can be a good idea to use this as your main subdivision.

What are tags?

Tags are searchable words or phrases that are assigned to assets in your DAM. You can find any file that has been assigned with a tag by simply typing them into the search bar.

Diving a little deeper, smart tagging is when your tags cover different layers of an asset. Always tag your assets in a structured way, rather than tagging randomly with things you think of when looking at the asset. When done properly, it can be very powerful and save you a lot of time.

How to tag

There are several ways to decide which tags can be used in an image, and it is often a good idea to combine these different ways. You can tag assets based on:

  • What it is: Color, subject, composition, perspective,...
  • What you see: Environment, objects, subjects,...
  • Business-related: Service, product, activity,...
  • Brand-related: Target group, personality, values,...

Before you start tagging your assets, it is good to create a list of layers you want to cover in your tags. Define a structure that fits your company’s business identity, way of working, and corporate vision, and do not feel caged in by the examples above. These are merely commonly used suggestions but in no way exhaustive.

Keywords used for tagging make your assets easier to identify and tags are used, mostly in combination with categories to make it easier to find your assets. When looking for a specific asset, you can easily filter by entering tags in the search bar. Generally, your system will auto-suggest tags that already exist in the system to help you search for the correct asset.

Kadanza uses Clarifai, an AI-driven tool to determine keywords for auto-tagging. Users can generate a set of keywords and then decide which ones are appropriate before saving. This way, tagging becomes easier!

Just to keep in mind, Clarifai only provides empirical data based on what you can see. It does not know the business relevance of certain images. For example, a building will be tagged as “building”, or “office”, but Clarifai will not know that it is the main production building located in Mechelen where activity X is done.


As we said, categories are used for grouping assets while tags are used as an identification system.

Also, you know how to tag and categorize… Great!

All that is left for you to do is to choose the right categories and tags with your team although we all know that choosing is losing.

This is why we suggest not picking either one or the other. Combine the strengths of categories and tags to gain full control over your brand assets and unlock the full power of great asset management.

Did you know? Kadanza provides workshops for you on "how to categorize?", "how to tag?" and so on to help you with the migration process to DAM.
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