Air vs Brandfolder: A Comparison
Anyone looking for effective digital asset management (DAM) software in 2021 has a good handful of options to choose from. This particular SaaS (software as a service) category has really sprung up over the past decade to meet the needs of modern workplaces dealing with gigabytes upon gigabytes of digital content. Though most products in the category share many of the same features, there are some crucial differences. Air, for one, is the most up-to-date and intuitive product on the market — the product best-suited for modern work. Read on to learn how it compares to Brandfolder, a more legacy product in the digital asset management space.
Brandfolder was founded and launched in 2012, out of Denver, Colorado. While Air serves businesses of all sizes, Brandfolder is specifically geared towards enterprise-level businesses. Both platforms boast an appealing interface and tools made to facilitate the easy storage, sharing, and usage of digital assets.
Digital asset management
If you’re unclear on exactly what digital asset management software is, we have a handy guide. In summary, DAMs give you a central location for all your digital assets (images, PDFs, documents, and digital marketing assets generally) and allow you to quickly find the assets you’re looking for. They’re meant to improve workflow for marketers, designers, brand managers, and all other stakeholders who work with digital assets. DAMs serve as a single source of truth for your brand, offering clarity. Air and Brandfolder both capably support the entire lifecycle of a digital asset, but with some variations in value, features and user experience. Read on to learn which digital asset management platform is right for you!
You can start using Air for free with nearly full functionality — there’s no need to even enter a credit card number. Air utilizes a freemium pricing model, which means free accounts start with just about all the capabilities of paid accounts. The primary difference between a free account and a paid account is that free accounts only have access to 5 GB of storage and three workspace seats.
Different pricing tiers mostly just offer different storage and workspace seat numbers. The Plus plan, which includes 300 GB, is $83.33 per user per month. The Pro plan, which includes 3,000 GB, is $250 per user per month. It also includes comment-only member options and passcode-protected links.
Air also offers custom Enterprise plans — storage and pricing vary depending on specific client needs — which include a variety of bespoke, custom features. Those features include custom data migration, custom member roles, custom usage reporting, and a dedicated account manager for all support needs.
Since Air offers scalable pricing, it’s great for startups or marketing teams that can’t yet afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a single software product. Small and medium businesses (SMB) can simply add more storage and seats to a plan as they grow to the enterprise level, without ever having to migrate to a new platform.
Brandfolder, unlike Air, is not transparent about pricing. They do offer a free trial, but some quick research shows that their paid services are nowhere near as affordable as Air’s. The company’s Capterra page says that pricing starts at $1,600 per feature. Another review site doesn’t offer a specific cost, but does state that Brandfolder ranks 9.8 out of 10 (on a scale of least to most expensive) when compared to other DAMs.
The only way to find out exactly how much Brandfolder would cost for your specific business needs is to contact their sales team for a quote.
Air boasts all the features modern companies need to store, manage, share, and otherwise utilize digital assets. Air’s feature categories include: Smart Search; Visual Workspace; Flexible Structure; Content Transfer; Content Strategy; Versions; and Creative Review. All the functionality you need to optimize your brand management and content management workflows exists within the platform. Though the platform is especially optimized for visual assets, it supports an extremely wide range of file formats. The platform even generates thumbnail previews for Photoshop documents!
Since Air has only been around for a couple of years, new features are constantly in development. At the time of writing, the development roadmap includes features like proxy editing, the ability to download an item in different formats and resolutions, and dark mode.
Brandfolder has a thorough list of feature categories. These include Ingesting & Storing; Branded Look & Feel; Organization & Curation; Management Tools; Smart Search & Discovery; Edit & Convert; Workflow & Collaboration; Privacy & Security; Rights Management; Creative Tools; Embedding & Sharing; Insights & Analytics; Integrations & Plugins; and Custom Care.
Once you dig into the details of both Air and Brandfolder’s parent feature categories, they’re very similar. The main difference is that some of Brandfolder’s core features are only included in Air’s Enterprise plan — features like user insights, a dedicated account manager, and advanced video editing.
It’s best to figure out what features you’re actually looking for — what features you actually need to do your work — see which platforms offer those features, and compare pricing from there.
No matter how many gigabytes of storage you use, being able to find your brand assets quickly is always of the utmost importance. That’s a requirement for any good digital asset management solution. Air always prioritizes end users — the platform was designed with searchability in mind.
Air offers fast, targeted search capabilities. Assets are searchable by their metadata: date created, location, creator, etc. The platform also boasts automation around tagging, including both color and image recognition.
Any time you upload an asset, the platform scans all the pixels for specific colors and content (person, cat, furniture, sitting, etc.). That means you can search for “orange” and instantly find all assets that make use of the color orange.
You can also attach custom labels to any asset, of any file type. Let’s say you want to tag specific assets for use on social media — you could copy them into a board designated for social media assets, and then tag them specifically as “Instagram,” “LinkedIn,” etc.
Don’t waste time digging through folders. Store all your assets in Air and find what you need in a snap.
Just like with Air, Brandfolder makes it easy for all stakeholders to find assets within the platform, no matter how familiar they may or may not be with the platform. The platform features automated tagging capabilities, image recognition, custom fields, and metadata searching, just like Air. Both platforms offer very precise search functionality.
Any decent DAM has great storage capabilities; that’s the software genre’s foundational feature. Different platforms do, however, offer different sharing capabilities.
Air makes sharing and collaboration incredibly easy and lightweight. First, you can upload and download files of any size. To share an asset, all you have to do is create a share link (which will never expire) and send it to the people who need to see it, whether in email, on Slack, or just in a text message.
You can share individual assets or entire boards (Air’s version of folders). Permissions work slightly differently depending on which category (asset or board) you’re sharing, but you can customize settings for viewing, downloading, uploading, and commenting. Pro plans and above also have the option to passcode-protect any board or asset.
Lastly, the people you’re sharing an asset with never have to create an account — they just click the link, upload or download what they need, and move on, all within their web browser.
Brandfolder and Air both feature excellent sharing capabilities. Brandfolder allows users to create precisely permissioned share links. Similar to Air, Brandfolder hosts assets such that you can embed and deploy them to any channel you like. Both platforms fulfill any user’s sharing needs!
Whether you just have a simple question about the platform or you have a more detailed request, Air has you covered. Air’s dedicated Help Center answers all basic questions and offers tips on how to best utilize the platform’s features. For more urgent support, Air uses Intercom to provide users with a direct line of communication. There’s always a dedicated team member on the other end of the chat or email ready and willing to solve all of your Air-related problems.
Any Enterprise user also has access to a dedicated account manager. If you ever experience a bug when using the platform, Air keeps developers on-call at all times to address ad-hoc issues.
Lastly, the Air blog is frequently updated with informative articles that can teach you about general industry concepts and specific Air use cases.
Brandfolder also has a dedicated help center, full of answers to basic questions as well as tips on how to use the platform. Most issues you could have with the platform can be solved with a quick visit to that knowledge base. Brandfolder uses Qualified as a direct line of communication, in the same way Air uses Intercom.
Since Brandfolder only works with larger, well-paying, enterprise clients, every client has access to a dedicated account manager. Of course, similar clients enjoy the same privilege with Air.
The main reason to choose Brandfolder over Air is if you absolutely need certain features that Air hasn’t added yet. Figure out what features you actually need, though — just because a product has a few more features doesn’t mean you need those features. The last thing you want to do is shell out thousands of dollars a year for bells and whistles your team doesn’t actually need. Businesses still in the growth stage will find more than enough functionality in Air, at a much more palatable price.
Air has been around for just a few years, whereas Brandfolder has been around for nearly a decade. That means that, while Air lacks certain features, it was built from the ground up to cater to highly current end user needs. Air will continue to provide an amazing user experience, while at the same time continuously adding new features!
The only way to truly figure out which platform is best for you is to try both out and talk to sales. Which sales team gives you the impression that you’d have more direct support? Which product best fits your specific needs? How does it feel to move around within each platform? Get started on Air for free, today, and see what you think.