How to Avoid Pains in Your Assets

Posted: Updated:

Among your company’s most important assets are the materials used in your marketing and promotional efforts. But do you know where they really are … or who they really belong to?

Your website’s domain name, your product photographs, and those expensive demonstration videos are items you may assume that you own and can access easily. Don’t be so sure. In working with clients, we’ve encountered all sorts of pains in the assets.

For instance? A website that couldn’t be updated without a hefty payment to a hosting company. An entire library of videos produced by someone who no longer works at a company that may not exist anymore, all out there on YouTube and packed full of outdated information that can’t be removed or corrected. Beautiful photos shot for a brochure that can’t be used in advertising. The list goes on and on.

When clients hire companies to produce videos, photos, and web content, they often assume that because they’re paying the cost, the materials automatically belong to them. But when they sever the working relationship, or need to use the item down the road, they discover there’s no ownership … or no way to access those materials.

Take websites. Companies often bristle at what marketing agencies and design firms quote for sites, pointing to those mighty cheap “do it yourself” companies. Familiar with the adage that you get what you pay for? Or the one that says if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Uh-huh.

We’ve had numerous situations in which a client has asked us to make what seem to be remarkably simple changes to their website, only to discover that the company hosting that site uses a closed, proprietary system. A change that would take us 15 minutes on an open-source platform winds up taking several hours, and because proprietary systems are often ridiculously complex, making a change to one page often disrupts a dozen others.

A company’s domain name is one of its most critical assets, because it controls your web presence. If whoever set up your website years ago thoughtlessly registered that domain in his or her name, you may have lost control. Remember Joe Schmoe, that IT guy you fired in 2011 after discovering he was drinking on the job? Guess who legally controls your company’s domain?

Who set up your company’s Facebook and Instagram pages? Your entire social media presence may be registered under the name of someone who no longer works for you, or a vendor you stopped using years ago. So content full of outdated information, products you no longer offer, and people who no longer work for you are still out there popping up in web searches, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Another common asset management problem involves items such as artwork and photography. Few companies have a central repository for photos and art, so when someone needs the original image used in a brochure three years ago, nobody knows where to find it. The digital files of the product art? Wait -- weren’t they on Jenny’s computer? Or was it Ian’s?

A separate issue with items such as artwork involves usage rights. For example, if a photographer takes a product photo for you to use in a brochure, her invoice probably states that you have the rights to use it in that brochure. If you put the same image on your packaging and your website, she may be able to come after you for additional fees -- because you bought rights to use the image, not the image itself.

Many companies believe they can pull anything they want off the web and drop it into an ad, a video, or a PowerPoint presentation. Not so. Those materials belong to someone else, and if they discover you’re using them, you’ll find yourself on the losing end of a costly legal action. Many content creators regularly scan the web to see if someone is using their materials without permission. You may not want to pay money upfront for licensing, but I can assure you that the cost will be a fraction of what a legal settlement will set you back.

My advice is simple: if you don’t fully understand what’s involved with managing these assets, don’t try to do it on your own. Find yourself a knowledgeable partner who understands the rules and will take steps to cover your assets … and your rights to use them.

Deborah Daily is co-owner of Buckaroo Marketing | New Media, a Fishers-based advertising agency.

  • Perspectives

    • Richardson is a practice lead with Centric Consulting.

      How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

      Everyone knows that keeping the consumer happy is the first priority. The importance of considering the customer’s experience in all areas of engaging with your business, not just customer service is becoming even more clear. I’m seeing an increasing number of my peers in the marketing world take ownership of the customer experience with their brands. As a result, we’re all learning how to borrow and...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      U.S. Steel Updates Layoff Notice to State

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has updated the State of Indiana regarding its previously announced layoffs at the East Chicago Tin Mill. The company says 314, rather than 307, workers will be displaced when the mill is idled this fall. 

    • Red Star announced plans to expand and add 18 jobs.

      Larwill Medical Device Maker to Expand, Add Jobs

      A Whitley County-based medical device maker has announced plans to expand its facility in Larwill which should mean new jobs. Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. says it will invest $1.6 million in real estate improvements and additional equipment and will create 18 new jobs by 2022. 

    • Regal Beloit is closing in Valparaiso. (photo courtesy; The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Bearings Plant to Close, Eliminating 160+ Jobs

      Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. and the union representing workers have reached an agreement about the closing of a helicopter bearing factory in Valparaiso. According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the decision will cost between 160 to 170 workers their jobs. 

    • (WISH-TV Photo)

      Clif Bar Expands Indy Bakery

      California-based Clif Bar & Co. has completed a $10 million expansion of its commercial bakery in Indianapolis. The company says the project involved a more sustainable redesign of the facility for its employee-owners with a greater focus on energy efficiency.

    • AM General & Fiat Chrysler announce plans to build military grade Jeep Gladiator pickup trucks.

      AM General, FCA Collaborate on New Military Grade Jeep

      Nearly 80 years since the first jeep rolled off the assembly line, and helped support American soldiers throughout World War II, it appears the trusted four-wheel-drive machine may be making a comeback in the U.S. military. South Bend-based AM General LLC has teamed up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build military-grade versions of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.