There are many advantages to following a universal naming convention across assets in your organization. We wrote a blogpost about it; you can read it here.
If you are convinced that it is a good idea, then the next step is to arrive at the business rules. This post will help you create some of these rules for your team.
This is the cornerstone of good names. We will use these categories to create acronyms and abbreviations. Here are a few popular categories to consider:
- Campaign or Program Names
- Year of Operation
- Quarter of the Year, or Month of the Year
- File Type (like MP4, PPT, JPG, DOC, PDF)
- Asset Type (like Email, Campaign, Landing Page)
- Author Name, Team Name, Business Unit
- Geography (like AU, APAC, EU, NA)
- Country (US, CA, NZ, GB)
- Language (like EN, ES, FR, DE)
At this stage, let us exhaust the options. We will not be using each of these categories on each of the asset; we are only making an extensive list at this point. We will eventually use just the relevant ones.
Create Acronyms and Abbreviations
The more relevant information we can plug into the name, the better it is for the end users. But we need to represent a lot of information, so we will not be using whole words. We need to create intuitive acronyms for each of the parameters.
That name makes a lot of sense, but it is too long, and once we add the path name to it, it gets cumbersome. Neither can we allow each team member to use their own style to shorten the name. For consistency, we need to standardize the use of acronyms and abbreviations.
This name has not lost any of the details, but is easier to handle
If an acronym is popular, we should prefer that. For example, AU is Australia, NA is North America, FR is French, PPT is a presentation; these choices make our asset names intuitive.
- Let us not use parameters that are not relevant for a particular asset type
- Also, each acronym ought to be as short as possible, and not shorter. Acronyms and abbreviations should make intuitive sense (to most people).
Standardizing formats of dates to YYYYMMDD or any other format that works for the team is important. Does the software used in your organization handle spaces or special characters? What is the maximum length of an asset allowed? We need to consider those limitations while standardizing our practices.
There will always be situations where we may need to add more information than our standard list of acronyms allows. In such cases, it is a good practice to add that unique addition as a suffix to the generated asset name.
It is a frequent practice to use version numbers in our naming conventions. Though it is not a bad practice per se, it is better to use versioning software. Having multiple copies of the same file creates room for confusion.
If not, then here are some best practices from the industry:
This is the very first version and does not need to be mentioned. Not until there are two versions. Slight changes to our working file do not warrant any change to the versions.
This version remains the same till we complete the document at least once.
These changes represent a substantial change to the version; like an addition or deletion of a new section or a feature. How substantial should the change be? That is subjective.
For this subjective reason, there exists V 1.x.y
This is reserved for a complete overhaul of the entire document. A re-thinking of the structure or a new Point of View can warrant a version change like this.
Let the System Evolve each Year
As businesses evolve, we should deliberately review our naming conventions and accommodate the changes that have emerged. These could just be additions to our existing parameters of adding completely new parameters.
Encourage Teams to use Naming Conventions
Once we have decided on our naming conventions, it is important to communicate them to everyone in the organization. To smooth-en the adoption, beyond training and communication sessions, we can also create read-only templates. Members can make copies of these templates and change each part.
Monthly reviews of good and bad asset names can also drive the point.
Getting people to use these conventions is the hardest thing. To help with this, we can use an Asset Naming app like Portqii’s Asset Naming Assistant, available for both Eloqua and Marketo. With the app, the users can just choose from the dropdowns. The Acronyms are preset. With reduced friction, there is a higher chance of following conventions.