Cloudinary Blog

David H. Lipsey on the Push and Pull of Visual Storytelling

Why Visual Storytelling Matters

In my communications role here at Cloudinary, I get to speak to a lot of experts across a variety of subject matter areas, technology and not, about what it takes to connect to today’s consumer. The power of images and other forms of digital content is often at the center of these conversations given our focus at Cloudinary. And as a hobbyist and professional photographer for more than 20 years, I care deeply about images and their role in creating authentic connections and engagement.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with David H. Lipsey, a founding Partner of KlarisIP and widely known for his role as Global Chair for The Henry Stewart Conferences. We were preparing our latest eBook, Digital Asset Management: Enabling Visual Storytelling -- which is available for download now -- and I was eager to hear from David on the state of managing digital media. A summary of our conversation follows, and I hope you enjoy David’s insights as much as I did.

In thinking about the power of visual storytelling and what it means today, what are some of the challenges and opportunities facing brands when it comes to managing media content?

David: As brands encounter the management of digital assets it can be easy to forget that these assets are critically important outside the marketing realm and outside a particular campaign. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth a thousand pictures, and there is an incredible amount of power in that. The inverse is also true. A bad video is a like a bad oyster -- you’ll never forget it. The dialogue of managing these assets is that we know where it’s used and how it’s consumed -- and this informs what we do next.

What new innovations in digital asset management (DAM) are most compelling in your view and why?

David: DAM can help with critical A/B testing and can help marketers prevent repeats -- and it is continuing to help with pushing successful campaigns into the future. For example, for a very popular home magazine, when the photographers do their selects for January through November, they need a way to easily know which ones were selected when they go to do the December issue, which is a big year in review issue. They can see the selects so they know what was used. And this solicits brand value to the workflow to help marketing professionals, photographers and agencies make accelerated and more informed decisions.

What are some of the top challenges marketers are facing when it comes DAM and workflow?

David: DAM plays a central role in compression of time in digital planning and digital usage in both expected and unexpected ways. The pressure to respond has gotten shorter and shorter and shorter, and that’s not going to change.

There’s an elasticity in tension with the use of all these business critical assets. How do we help marketers understand that DAM is the authoritative and single source of truth; whether it's a campaign image or the logo. Assets without rights are just a bunch of ones and zeroes. Without this single source of truth it’s very easy for marketers or agencies to grab the wrong asset. Rather than paying attention to the story, your attention is on the flaw.

The marketing ecosystem looks very different today than it did even three to five years ago. What should brands consider when looking to employ a DAM?

David: Think about the opportunities for a rich-media bidirectional customer services organization. Imagine that when a customer calls a customer service line and the staff has ready access to assets -- the ability for a customer to share a video, or for the customer service rep to send a PDF with instructions. Helping CSR’s with “how to” questions, educational and branded videos, managing the workflow around receiving pictures and videos for product issues, recalls, upgrades, clever mash-up ideas (“50 fun things to do with baking soda”) – the list is endless! Rich media customer service may also help with CSR retention as customers feel “listened to” when they can send a picture or video – it’s simply more satisfying communication.

Every opportunity to engage with a consumer or trade partner is a chance for branding and engagement.

This could not only help document and provide better customer service, but also help critical service agencies like the Red Cross in environmental disasters as well. The managers of intellectual property can screen these images overnight, and quickly access their usability.

In many ways, it’s a time of digital exasperation. We live in a time where we’re compressed for time. We’re time compressed with compressed tolerance, and not in a good way when it comes to patience and understanding. We carry big expectations when it comes to the digital conversation. Brands need the ability to respond well and fast.

This extends to nurturing and sustaining customer engagement. It’s the persistence in the customer engagement that DAM can help enable. For example, one of the things that happened with brands when video came out is that they failed to take advantage of YouTube and the world became full of user-generated video about products. Brands lost the opportunity to create their own content, like with instructional videos, to set a higher standard and control the engagement flow. We can correct this with good DAM. And the more mature we all get with DAM, the more innovation in engagement we’ll report on.

It’s that bidirectional relationship again with customer engagement. Imagine if you have a YouTube video, and there's a coupon, and you’re working in parallel with your CRM. You have point of sale data, loyalty card data, credit card data and more. We can even ask a customer to send their video in about making a repair or something clever, and get the rights for it. In many ways this wraps everything together. It’s the power of storytelling that the coupon tells in 2018. Agility, speed to market, master data perspective on metadata and rights. Again, everything is just so incredibly time-sensitive.

A company’s DAM is a living, breathing, connected, kinetic organism. It's never a once and done. It might not be the conductor of the company’s orchestra, but it does live within the center of everything. Throw the big boulder of DAM into the pond and the ripples extend far beyond the edges of the lake. It impacts everything and extends well beyond marketing and sales.

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