By Peter Andrew, Head of Innovation, Alba Innovation Centre

As a startup or small business you are more than likely to have at least some digital assets. How aware you are of the value of these and the opportunities they afford will depend to a large extent on your business and how you came about the assets.

Unlike other business assets, digital assets often aren’t tangible and normally aren’t something you put on your annual statement of assets and liabilities for your accountant, but they can hold more value for your business than you might realise. As a result, managing those assets is an important part of the overall management of your business. In this article, we explore:

• What are digital assets?
• Why are they important to your business?
• How could/should you organise your digital assets?
• Steps you can take to protect them
• The importance of making the most of your digital assets

What exactly are digital assets?

Digital Assets are defined by Wikipedia as “any item of text or media that has been formatted into a binary source that includes the right to use it”. Typically digital assets will include your text, images and multimedia (such as videos). What’s important here though is the right of use. If you don’t have right of use for any of these items, then they’re not considered a digital asset.

Why are they important to your business?

If you’ve paid for the creation of, or invested time in making a digital asset then the chances are you did it for a purpose. The most common purpose or need for digital assets is as a marketing resource for your company. It may be that you paid a copywriter to write marketing-rich texts for your website, industry-relevant articles or detailed white papers? Alternatively you might have paid a photographer to create images that reflect your brand at its very best? No matter which medium you’ve chosen, these things are all potentially a rich marketing resource for your company, so need to be used to its advantage and protected.

What are the best ways of organising your digital assets?

When you start to develop your digital assets, the objective is normally to reinforce and reflect your brand values. In order to achieve that, it’s essential to provide guidelines to whichever professional you’re working with. What’s more, it’s also essential that when you’re investing in digital assets, you aim for consistent and professional messages.

Once you start to pull your digital assets together, it’s important to organise them in a logical file/naming structure so they are easily accessible by all staff in case of PR enquiries/opportunities that you have to move fast on.

At the point where you start to build up a significant number of digital assets, you may want to consider using some digital asset management software, such as one of those listed on the Capterra website.

What can you do to protect them?

Although protecting your digital assets in today’s access-all-areas world is a tough call, it’s always worth thinking about protection. It’s well worth claiming copyright and obtaining trademarks where you can. This will strengthen your case if an abuse situation does arise.

…and the final word…

Once you’ve got your digital assets organised and protected, get out there and use them. At the end of the day, they’re not providing you with much of a return on investment while they’re sitting in a folder! If you haven’t done it already, let now be the time to focus on creating a sound and sensible marketing plan and implementing it.