Article — 3 Min Read

The Power of Distinctive Brand Assets

Distinctive brand assets are those unique visual, auditory, or sensory cues that instantly evoke a brand’s identity. They are the recognizable symbols, sounds, and attributes that differentiate one brand from another and become ingrained in the consumer’s memory. Think of the golden arches of McDonald’s, the swoosh of Nike, or the iconic chime of Intel. These assets transcend language barriers and geographical boundaries, making them universally recognizable symbols of their respective brands.

With countless brands vying for consumer attention, establishing a unique identity is crucial for success. This is where distinctive brand assets come into play. From logos and color schemes to jingles and packaging designs, these elements serve as the building blocks of a brand’s identity and form the link between mental and physical availability in the consumer’s mind.

So, why are distinctive brand assets important in building a strong brand and competing at Point of Purchase? Let’s delve into the reasons:

Mental and physical availability: As defined by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute:

”Mental availability refers to the need for a brand to come to mind in relation to a specific need or occasion. This is generated by marketing and advertising. Physical availability refers to the need for the brand to be easily recognized in association to the mental availability. This is generated by the point of purchase signals such as packaging, signage, place etc.”

When it comes to branding and consumer choice, you need to build both mental and physical availability. They need to enhance each other at the point of purchase.

Distinctive Brand Assets are key to this mechanism and strongly influence consumer choice. By the way, this counts for on-line availability as much as in brick-and-mortar.

A good quote from Jenni Romaniuk and William Caruso’s book Building Distinctive Brand Assets:

“As an analogy of the Olympics, mental availability is qualification for the race, physical availability is the brand’s performance on the day”.

Cognitive Fluency: Humans are creatures of habit, and we tend to prefer things that are familiar to us. Distinctive brand assets create cognitive fluency, making it easier for consumers to process information about a brand. When consumers encounter familiar brand assets, they experience a sense of comfort and trust, which strengthens their connection to the brand.

Emotional Connection: Beyond mere recognition, distinctive brand assets have the power to evoke emotions and create meaningful connections with consumers. For example, the Apple logo symbolizes innovation and creativity, eliciting feelings of aspiration and excitement among its loyal customers. By associating positive emotions with a brand, distinctive brand assets foster brand loyalty and advocacy.

Brand Consistency: Consistency is key to building a strong brand identity. Distinctive brand assets serve as visual and auditory cues that unify various marketing channels and touchpoints. Whether it’s a social media post, a television commercial, or product packaging, maintaining consistency in brand assets reinforces brand recall and reinforces brand identity.

Long-Term Brand Equity: Building a strong brand is an investment in the long-term success of a business. Distinctive brand assets contribute to brand equity, which is the perceived value and strength of a brand in the marketplace. Over time, as consumers develop strong associations with these assets, they become valuable intangible assets that contribute to the overall value of the brand.

Competitive Brand Salience and Competition: In a competitive market, having strong brand assets can provide a significant advantage over rivals. Consumers are more likely to choose a brand they recognize and trust over unfamiliar alternatives. Distinctive brand assets can act as barriers to entry for competitors, making it harder for them to replicate or imitate your brand’s identity.

But mismanagement of Distinctive Brand Assets can also cause irreparable damage. Think of the case of the white Coca-Cola cans that confused loyal buyers. History is rife with package re-designs that failed because the research was flawed.

Often because the only research done was asking consumers about aesthetic preference. In reality, a package, or any carrier of distinctive brand assets, often relies on small, discreet symbols and attributes that work on a subconscious level. Weather consumers think it is pretty has little effect on the mental availability or distinctiveness of the product at the point of purchase.

In a paper called “Competitive Brand Salience” by Dr. Ralf van der Lans, Dr. Rik Pieters and Dr. Michel Wedel, this phenomenon is described in detail. Not only can a change, or re-design, make the brand invisible. In many cases it actually increases attention to competitors.

If Distinctive Brand Assets are not measured in the right context, and together with the competitors they typically live with, the insights will only be as useful as someone’s opinion.

In conclusion, distinctive brand assets are a cornerstone of brand building and play a vital role in shaping consumer perceptions and preferences. By creating memorable and recognizable symbols, sounds, and attributes, brands can establish a strong identity that connects the mental with the physical availability.

If not measured, and developed in context and compared to all competitors at point of purchase they can do as much damage as not measuring at all.

Nick Harmsen

Head of Shopper Activation

Av |2024-03-22T09:06:58+01:00mars 20th, 2024|Kategorier: Articles|