How can you accelerate your brand’s growth by identifying the elements in your brand identity that are distinctive and relevant brand assets? Let’s explore.
How Many People Have Their Hands On Your Brand?
It’s not easy being a brand builder. There’s a lot going on. Does any of the following sound familiar?
- You lead or are a part of a cross-functional brand team that works together with marketing, sales, category management, supply chain, operations, R&D, legal, in collaboration with your communications, design, and digital agencies. So many ideas, and even more opinions. There are many influencers when it comes to the expression of your brand.
- Your brand and its communications are likely working around the world, 24/7, in regions with different cultures and distinct need states and occasions; so the reality is thousands of colleagues, agency partners, retailers, and consumers are influencing how your brand’s identity is expressed on TV, online, out of home, and in-store around the world.
- Each day thousands of people are influencing your brand identity, which itself is very complex. There are so many brand elements that could be modified, including, but not limited to, brand colors, brand script, logo lockup, product or packaging shape and design, brand characters and celebrity endorsements, taglines, claims, and sensory cues such as sound, smell, and taste.
To further complicate the situation, marketers usually change roles every 18-24 months. How do they create a name for themselves? By launching that breakthrough innovation, or creating that sexy new campaign everyone’s talking about? Maybe they revolutionize packaging?
Brands are being pulled in a multitude of different directions. Who is ensuring that as your brand evolves, it stays true to its roots and remains relentlessly consistent in its purpose and promise? The tension between breakthrough and familiarity is palpable.
The answer lies in your brand identity; it lies in your ability to better understand which brand assets you own and which brand elements are holding your brand back from its true growth potential.
Understanding The Power Of The Assets Within Your Brand’s Identity
A brand’s identity comprises many different elements, but not all of them have the same value. There are elements within your brand’s identity that are brand assets and they are the key to evolving your brand to create breakthrough, while ensuring you do so in a relentlessly consistent manner.
There are two qualities of a brand element that distinguish it as an asset.
First, a brand asset must be distinctive or ‘owned’ by the brand. This means that consumers unmistakably link that asset with your brand. The impact of a distinctive brand asset is that it attracts attention and drives recognition amidst the flurry of competing messages in communications or variants on shelf. Consumers see the asset and use it as a ‘mental shortcut’ to identify your brand.
Second, a brand asset must be relevant or ‘on-brand’. This means that the asset reinforces and amplifies your brand’s promise. As the asset is iterated consistently across multiple touch points, it reinforces the mental structures that consumers have associated to the rational and emotional benefits that your brand promises to deliver. This creates another ‘mental shortcut’ – one that reminds consumers of how your brand makes them feel and thus they are more likely to add it to their consideration set, pick it up off shelf, and possibly buy it.
So do you know which of the elements within your brand identity are both distinctive and relevant? Do you know which of your brand elements are assets?
How Brand Assets Drive Brand Growth
Can you name the sixteen brands these assets belong to? What comes to mind when you think of these brands? Do you sense the multitude of emotions one brand asset can evoke?
How is it that a simple brand element can cue you to recognize a brand so easily? How is it that just one brand asset can immediately recall your experiences with that brand through previous usage or media you’ve been exposed to? You are able to recall stories and experiences with the brand instantaneously, without any mention of the brand itself, and this activates mental structures that are critical to driving behavior.
This process of mental availability is leveraged by the most iconic and successful brands, as they utilize sensory cues to create mental memory structures. These mental shortcuts make it easy for consumers to recognize the brand, feel a certain way, and hopefully trigger memories about the brand’s promise, that lead to the intended consumer behaviors that drive growth.
These brand elements can trigger brand recognition and emotion better than most 30 second commercials and you don’t have to spend millions of dollars in advertising.
The impact is consumers are more likely to see your brand, recognize it, pick it up, and buy it. Successful and iconic brands execute their brand assets with relentless consistency to drive brand growth.
(Answers: 1. BP 2. GE 3. Nike 4. McDonald’s 5. T-Mobile 6. Coca-Cola 7. Skype 8. Orange 9. HP 10. Cadburys 11. Heineken 12. Caterpillar 13. Harrods 14. Virgin 15. Puma 16. BMW)
The Brand Identity And Brand Asset Learning Journey
Has your organization recently undergone a brand identity and brand asset learning journey?
The benefits of doing so are that you ensure that all of your stakeholders and partners, including communication, design, and digital agencies recognize which of your assets are sacred and must not be tampered with. Further to which, these assets should be iterated across all communications, activations, and touch points with relentless consistency.
However, another important aspect of conducting brand identity learning is that it helps you uncover which brand elements are not adding value to the brand, or worse, holding it back. This provides your agency partners with clear direction on which brand elements can and should be evolved or removed to make more space for your distinctive and relevant assets. It creates freedom within a framework.
Accelerating Brand Growth Through Your Brand Assets
Marketers have two very important goals. To drive short-term business results, while also building long-term brand equity.
To drive growth, remain relevant to their consumers, and create breakthrough, marketers need to push the boundaries of their brand promise and identity. At the same time, we know that true long-term brand growth comes from a brand promise that is brought to life by remarkable ideas executed with relentless consistency. As brands evolve to create breakthrough, they need to stay true to their roots – the associations and emotions that built their brand in the first place.
Your brand is multifaceted; it impacts thousands of stakeholders across the spectrum from creatives to consumers, from marketers to media buys, from retailers to retweets. Having a well understood and remarkably consistent brand across the spectrum ensures that every touch point is maximized.
So when pushing the boundaries of brand promise and identity, how much of a push is too much? Mastering this tension is what separates true brand builders from the rest of the pack and it’s not easy, especially since every brand, its competitors, and the category itself have specific nuances.
Phil Duncan, the Chief Design Officer at P&G positioned this challenge perfectly when he said,
“I tell my colleagues that it is the responsibility of brand teams to write the next chapter for the P&G book, not to write a new book. The goal is always to keep the story interesting and moving forward.”
While this is far easier said than done, deepening your understanding of how hard the assets within your brand’s identity are working for your brand is the first step on this journey.
Simply email me, Derrick Daye for more about how we can help you discover the most important asset in your brand and competing brands.
The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education