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Why Archives Matter

January 11, 2016 • Tim Schantz

This is a photograph of an archival consultant looking through items in the archives as part of archival management. The consultant is holding a paint can and looking an inventory.

The traditional rationale to persuade organizations to build a corporate archive is that you need to do it for history; serving posterity was justification enough to open the corporate checkbook.

Nowadays, it is no longer sufficient to remind people of their social and communal “duty,” as companies have an obligation to stakeholders to provide more tangible evidence of the value of their collections and how they contribute to corporate ROI.

The k­­ey to unlocking the value of the raw material of a company’s heritage is making its archives accessible to appropriate users within the company. In this way, heritage can live again as a vital and dynamic means of communicating effectively with all of a company’s stakeholders.

This is a photograph of an archival consultant pulling a box off of a shelf in the company archives.

Once organized and within reach, corporate archives become an invaluable tool to achieve any number of specific goals. It serves companies well to immerse new hires in a corporate culture through corporate storytelling with a riveting re-telling of the company’s founding story. A recounting of past product introductions by the people who spearheaded them can inform a strategy for a new product rollout. Vintage advertising materials can inspire an upcoming campaign.

Companies and brands go to enormous lengths and great expense to differentiate themselves from the field. The fact is, your company’s heritage is an inherently unique asset. Your archives can bring your heritage into focus, which makes archival management and the content held within an archive a critical component of brand value. And as the financial pages remind us every day, brand value is integral to market value.

For more information on the value of an archive, please visit the National Archives and Records Administration.


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