We deal with all kinds of clients everyday here at Marmoset Digital. When working with a client at the start of a new web development project, we ask for certain asssets so that we can produce the best possible website. We aim to have our websites not only market the client’s services but also generate real business. We ask for 2 main things at the outset – Copy (text and documents about the business), and Imagery (photos, diagrams and logos). We find that over 50% of the time the client does not have access to photos, or actually has no idea where to find them. We inevitably ask “so you did pay for these photos originally yes?” – to which the answer is invariably “yes we did”.
So this begs the question: what is the relationship the client has to these kinds of digital asssets – photos, logos, diagrams, domain name registration etc. etc.? It certainly isn’t the same relationship they have to say their ABN, or office keys , or security codes. If you ask any business owner that you want their office keys, they won’t give them to you, and they know exactly where they are. Even though they had to purchase the keys or get the keys cut, they don’t ‘leave’ the keys with the locksmith and then search around the place in a panic when you ask for them. So why don’t so many business owners know where their business photos, or advertising copy, or domain name details are?
Let’s be clear, these digital assets are just as, and in some cases are more important, than business ‘essentials’ like your office keys, security passwords and the like. We have a theory as to why this dissonance occurs, and it is because these assets are digital, and in some way related to ‘high tech’ or ‘IT’ stuff. Furthermore we believe that many business owners relegate so much more than they need to in the realm of ‘tech stuff’ that they are doing themsleves a grave dis-service. It is very easy to throw up your hands and ‘let the experts deal with it’ when confronted with anything remotely ‘IT’ or ‘techy’; this is actually the time to be vigilant and to ‘push through’ and demand answers and ownership. Simple questions need to be asked of any service providers who you may purchase digital products or services from – questions like: ‘So will my business own the registration to this domain name?’, ‘Will you be providing me with the full set of orginal photos upon completion’, ‘is my business name going to be on the new ‘xxxxx’ cloud subscription?’. There are endless stories of business people being effectively ‘held to ransom’ by a questionable service provider when attempting to access assets that are rightfully theirs.
With cloud storage like dropbox and Gsuite being so cheap and plentiful, there is no excuse for every business not to have a ‘digital repository’ where they keep all assets such as photos, lists of passwords, and business documentation related their digital assets. At the least you should keep these assets on your local computer or network storage and then also do a cloud backup for safety. But before you can store, you need to ask. Insist on ownership and possession of all assets that your business pays for. And don’t be put off by any talk of ‘well we think it’s best for us to keep hold of that stuff’ or ‘we usually don’t give clients’ access to that stuff in case they bugger something up’ etc.. This is just shorthand for ‘you don’t know what’s best for you and we’re the experts’. Ask them for their office keys and see what kind of answer you get then.