Do you remember HSBC’s unfortunate marketing mishap back in 2009?

The global bank’s ‘Assume Nothing’ slogan was directly translated into numerous other languages to support regional marketing campaigns.

The unfortunate part? The phrase was translated as ‘Do Nothing’, and HSBC was forced to fork out $10 million to rectify the issue.

It was an expensive error, but one from which we can learn valuable lessons: on the need for accurate localisation, a well-managed marketing strategy with all the necessary checks and approvals, and the importance of consistent branding to a company’s reputation and revenue.

We can’t know exactly how the slogan – one of thousands of brand assets HSBC will have had to manage – was created, signed off and distributed across various global channels. Neither can we be certain of the tools the company’s marketing teams had at their disposal to oversee these processes.

We can, however, empathise with the challenges of managing thousands of digital assets, while ensuring brand consistency.

The sheer volume of digital assets is the first marketing and branding challenge – yet also a great opportunity.

These could include everything from video for TV ads, images for print ads, data points, customer reviews, product descriptions, case studies and social media posts. These assets will be destined for numerous channels – the majority of which will likely be digital, and accessible by consumers across the world.

There are a huge number of digital channels an organisation can use as a route into a new market but here I will focus on just one: social media.

Uptake of social media apps by consumers has allowed brands to be visible on a growing number of channels, requiring them to create imagery for Instagram, video for Snapchat, witticisms for Twitter, and so on.

This is of course in addition to assets on a company’s own website, as well as all of those which have been used in the past, are currently in design, or are sitting waiting to be used for future marketing campaigns.

The only way of managing these effectively is via a digital asset management solution – a single, centralised hub which can be easily accessed by teams and individuals in different locations and departments. This will allow for efficient creation, replication and adaptation of assets: a massive money-saver for marketers.

An infographic used for internal sales purposes, for example, could be revamped as an engaging and informative visual on Twitter. Using the same centralised platform would make the ‘revamping’ process a lot more efficient, with a brand’s creative team able to collaborate on the redesign, with others able to develop and approve ideas in real time.

The asset ‘adaptation’ point is important here too. If a company is looking to extend its reach into new markets, its brand values must be championed through a consistent consumer experience which is localised for specific markets.

Hosting digital assets in one platform can give brands greater control over who has access to what. A cloud-based platform that incorporates governance features and logs user actions can provide a company using it with a detailed ledger of who’s accessed what, how and when.

As such, it can cover its back in the case of potential lawsuits or misuse of content claims, and its employees might think twice about blanket-distributing slogans worldwide.

Social media trends change and apps come and go (RIP Google+), which means marketers must be agile, adaptable and ready to make the most of new opportunities. The cloud aspect of a DAM (digital asset management) platform is therefore key, providing brands with almost infinite storage options, as well as the ability to scale up and down, depending on their business needs and growth trajectory.

Emerging technologies like augmented reality, voice-activated devices and chatbots will also require the creation and management of new digital asset formats. And marketers must be ready.

The vast majority of brands seek growth: an increase in their sphere of influence, audience and sales. Unless there’s significant scope at home, this will entail looking at new markets in new regions and utilising new channels.

HSBC’s social media presence might not have been a significant focus for its global efforts back in 2009, but in 2019, this channel forms a key component in the growth strategies of many companies.

As such, brands need DAM solutions which grow with them, and enable them to capitalise on regional consumer trends.

An effective DAM tool will enable even the smallest, most localised firm to effectively gather and manage global digital assets, global personnel and increasingly global customers.