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Create once, use many – the story how one asset can live many lives

In this article, we cover the topic of including digital sustainability practices within the entire lifecycle of an asset, from creation and deployment to storing and breathing in new life with simple tweaks that can make something old seem completely new. All you need is a little bit of creativity and a good plan. So, let’s start!

Create less, impact more

In today’s consumeristic world of digital marketing, there’s a tendency to do everything over the top: flashy campaigns at least 2-3 times per year, new product launches and regular product refreshing, sea of content of any and every kind. Yet, consumer attention was never shorter – some studies say it takes less than 2 seconds for a consumer to form their opinion on the content and move on if found inadequate. There is quite a fight between us marketers to grab that attention, hold it, and ultimately convert it into sales, as you may imagine. Although our tactics may surprise you a bit – we at CMG are actually content minimalists.

What does it mean to be a content minimalist?

What does it mean to be a content minimalist? Basically, it’s all about reducing the digital clutter and focusing on what matters the most – connecting consumers with relevant content in the shortest amount of time. It’s all about quality over quantity. We encourage not producing new content until you’ve fully explored the reuse potential of your existing assets, and once you do create something new, always have in mind all possible applications for the future. However, keeping your content at a minimal doesn’t mean minimum impact. Therefore, the minimum number of assets you decide to create really should hit the bullseye. And the best part of it? Streamlining your digital content not only means streamlining brand budgets, but is also extremely environmentally friendly. And that is the story about why we believe a single asset can live many purposeful lives.

Read more about how creating less content is connected to sustainability here.

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Incorporate sustainable practices within your asset creation and management process

If you’re thinking about how to make your digital business more sustainable but don’t know where to start, here are a couple of practical tips to help you organize and begin your journey within digital sustainability:

  • Data, data, and data: Being sustainable is more data-driven than you would guess – to have the best-performing content, you need to know your end consumers very well and know what triggers them. In that way, you’ll be able to reach them in less time and with less content.
  • Content plan: It is crucial to distinguish between content musts vs. nice to haves, which often turn into excess. The content should be easily searchable and relevant, enabling the user to consume it promptly without being distracted by background noise or large amounts of fluff/off-topic materials.
  • Reusability potential: Create new assets only when there’s no other alternative. Have you exhausted all existing materials, and there’s no way of re-using, re-cycling, or re-applying the assets you have in your storage? Then you go ahead and create something new, but think about where that’s going to be applied in the future, both in terms of markets and platforms. A single creative can be adapted for a website, social, paid ads, and other specific platforms, and the most efficient application is determined by asset specs and formats. Simply put – do everything as layered as possible.
  • To shoot or not to shoot: Even in cases where new asset creation is a necessity, you can always take the sustainable road to your goal. Using stock videos significantly reduces your carbon footprint when compared to live shootings, and reusing different branding aspects and animations from previous campaigns will reduce your timings and costs, all while being friendly to nature.
  • Keeping your campaigns streamlined: Do you really need a single campaign to be present on 7 different platforms? Is creating a new microsite more efficient than a landing page within the brand’s website? In most cases, the answer is no. Better understanding your consumer journey and maximizing the impact your brand has on a few critical touchpoints is more effective than spreading your efforts (and audience and budget!) across the web.
  • Smart storage: The situation we often see when working with big multinational companies is that in the woods of content, a single asset can be overlooked. That is why we always suggest having a DAM platform combined with streamlined and clear asset management guidelines (which can be created as a document, playbook, or online landing page within the platform itself). Within those guidelines, we define everything needed for maximizing an asset’s potential and visibility. Here are some integral parts of asset management guidelines:
    • Purpose – defining the purpose gives your marketing team all over the globe a clear direction and keeps your messaging consistent on every doorstep of the world’s digital consumers.
    • Naming convention – asset type, market, campaign, usage, and other crucial info to be involved in asset title by a specific order. This will help an asset to be as visible and clear as possible.
    • Tagging rules – helps your managers navigate through different requests with ease. If tagging is done well, it saves both time and budget.
    • Deployment plan – connected to the reusability potential described above, the deployment plan already has in mind all different applications of an asset, which can be easily tracked through various DAM platforms.
    • Usage rights – no mistakes allowed here! Usage rights constraints and expiration dates have to be carefully monitored and respected. Within larger companies, librarians are often hired to take care of those and, besides having a clear set of rules, it’s quite an efficient way of protecting your business.

Conclusion: Good for nature, good for business

Talking about digital sustainability these days can seem confusing – almost every company nowadays has a sustainability policy and goals; some mention digital in it, but very few have an exact action plan. As abstract as it might seem, it’s all about being pragmatic. There’s a pretty good chance you are already incorporating some sustainable practices within your business without even knowing, so the key is to identify, reinforce, and cross-spread them. After all, it’s a triple-win situation: happy consumers, healthy business, and happy mother nature – is there anything better than that?!

Need help with making your business more sustainable? Reach out, we’re happy to continue this discussion!