We have truly entered the age of video. YouTube alone has over a billion users worldwide (with 80 per cent of viewers being outside the US), add to this all the other video channels in use today, from Vine to Vimeo, and all the video that is embedded in websites and social media. Of course, this growth is not simply a response to an insatiable appetite for more video content but also because video has never been so easy to create: the rise of teenage v-bloggers is proof of this.

On a corporate level, brands no longer need to commit large budgets to professional videographers (though these still most definitely have a role) and some of the most impactful videos in the business world have a charming ‘off the cuff’ amateurish appeal.

However, the fact video has opened up visual creativity to just about anyone with a camera is a double-edged sword. As well as managing the sheer volume of video, brands are having to deal with the fact that anyone in the organization might be creating video, so keeping track of these assets becomes a challenge. Video is also notoriously capacity-hungry - so it can be using up vast amounts of computer storage, often with no controls in place – and does not naturally lend itself to easy cataloguing.

Does this matter? Most definitely yes: apart from the cost of storage, no brand wants a whole host of content ‘in the wild’ that it cannot be monitored and filtered. Ensuring that brand values are being maintained, that no rights or IP are being infringed are clearly important, but so is making sure that video is not being unnecessary created when suitable assets already exist, albeit on the hard drive of a colleague on the other side of the world. Where video is not being managed, bottom line risks range from wasted money through to being at the receiving end of a lawsuit.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact we live in an ‘always on’ world: colleagues in one country might be posting video content in direct response to something that has just gone viral on social media. While no one wants to stem this spontaneity, central marketing and brand departments are becoming increasingly concerned how to manage video that bears the organization’s name in one way or another.

With the video explosion showing no sign of slowing down (YouTube reports that the number of people watching YouTube each day has increased by 40 per cent since March 2014), organizations clearly have to find an efficient way to manage video content.

Five steps to better video management

Keep audio and video separate – this does depend on the production method, but ideally, keeping both tracks separate will help make the video easier to re-use in the future (for instance, adding a new soundtrack in a local language).

Transparent video lifecycles – encourage everyone in the organization to use the centralised digital asset management (DAM) system for video. As well as being a repository for finished content, consider using the DAM for the entire lifetime of an asset. A good DAM can provide a single platform that encompasses workflows, approvals, collaboration, contextual search, version control, content rendition based on the delivery mechanism (such as the specific needs of a social media campaign) and integration with other systems, for instance campaign management or ecommerce tools.

Smart meta tagging – effective cataloguing of video content and then making it easier for other potential users within the organisation will help to encourage re-use of existing footage, rather than unnecessary duplication. Effective metadata management and archiving techniques is key to this and it is essential to use a system that lends itself well to video (not all DAMs can recognise unstructured data).

Don’t forget rights management and IP – a lot of video has rights around it, especially if artists are involved. Make sure that the relevant information ‘travels’ with the video asset, so that no-one can risk exposing the brand (or infringing someone else’s rights). Include local or industry regulatory guidelines too.

Educate – technology can only go so far: explain to employees throughout the organization that it makes sense to see what video already exists before commissioning new content, and emphasise the need to observe rights management and local regulatory issues (what may be acceptable in one country may not apply globally). Also make sure that they understand that ‘snagging’ video off the Internet may be infringing someone else’s rights and IP.

The final message is that video is an incredible resource that is transforming the way brands communicate with their audiences, so this important set of assets needs to be treated with the same thoroughness as any other type of marketing content. Get the right video management framework in place will give employees the freedom to use this content in imaginative, flexible ways, while giving marketers the assurance that the brand is being protected.


By Hassan Kotob, CEO of North Plains Systems

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