A logo is your company’s primary symbol, representing everything you are and offer. IKEA showcases its blue and yellow colors with minimalist typography to reflect its Swedish origins and commitment to simple, affordable, and functional design.
Similarly, Mercedes gets you dreaming about owning the most luxurious cars with its elegant 3-pointed star. Amazon uses a smile that doubles as an arrow pointing from the “A” to “Z” to remind you that it has absolutely everything under the sun on its website.
A tagline expresses the spirit of your brand in just a few words. Depending on your brand purpose, it can motivate, empower, or inspire consumers. But most importantly, reading or hearing it can make people think about your company and its products or services.
For instance, while “The Happiest Place on Earth” means different things to different people, it’s Disneyland that most often comes to mind when people hear this phrase. Similarly, “Because You’re Worth It” not only makes customers think of L’Oréal, but it also reminds them that they’re worth the cost of whatever beauty products they’re considering.
A color palette comprises one or more hues to create a cohesive online and offline brand presence. It’s often used for your logo—first and foremost—but also on your website, product packaging, and print advertising materials.
Forward-thinking companies use the psychology of color to select hues that evoke the desired emotions and associations. For example, Whole Foods uses green to highlight its health-conscious and eco-friendly mission, while Target chose red to energize people and get them excited to shop.
Typography is the font style, weight, and size used for your brand name, tagline, and other written branding elements. This element communicates your brand’s values, voice, and personality while making your marketing materials visually striking and instantly recognizable.
LEGO uses bold, playful typography to represent its fun-loving spirit and commitment to creativity. The New York Times has used an Old English-style font for its logo to honor its rich tradition of quality journalism for over 150 years.
Brand voice is the style and tone used to communicate with your target audience. Depending on your brand’s personality, your voice may be compassionate, authoritative, playful, whimsical, or even downright sassy.
Wendy’s has become well known for its humorous, snarky tone on social media that keeps its fast-food fans on their toes. But that would never work for a healthcare brand like the Mayo Clinic that’s trusted to share compassionate, informative medical knowledge.
A mascot is a character representing your brand and forging connections with your customers. Many mascots are mystical creatures, animals, or even objects, but they can be people, too.
Everyone knows the tiny GEICO gecko with the Cockney accent who encourages you to save money on car insurance. And who can forget Clippy? The helpful yet hilariously irritating paperclip assistant that used to pop up in Microsoft Office in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As for people mascots, there’s Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, and Mr. Clean, just to name a few.
A jingle is a catchy and sometimes repetitive song or tune that’s used in your print and online ads, website, and many other marketing materials. The melodies capture your brand’s essence and spread it worldwide, often passing directly from person to person.
If someone were to sing, “I wish I were an…” in the correct tune, you likely cannot help but finish the jingle with “…Oscar Mayer wiener,” no matter how long it’s been since you’ve heard it. The same goes for “Like a good neighbor…” (“…State Farm is there”), “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz…” (“…oh, what a relief it is”), and “What would you do…” (“…for a Klondike bar”).
Identify your existing brand assets using marketing science
Unless you’re just starting your company, you probably don’t have to create all your brand assets from scratch. You may already have more than a few elements ready to use—and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science offers a proven 3-step process to identify them and assess their strength.
Step 1: Audit your existing brand elements
Even if you’re sure you already know your most powerful brand assets, make an extensive list of all the elements you’ve ever used for a marketing campaign. Include all the ones that you used in the past but have long since replaced with something better. Group them according to their brand asset type or the era in which they were used.
You will likely need your marketing team’s help with this step. While you have their attention, discuss any ideas you have for the future. It can be concrete plans or just visions of a new logo, color scheme, or packaging design that are just starting to come into focus. You can save time, money, and effort by testing these elements for viability as a distinctive brand asset before officially rolling them out.
Step 2: Collect data about each digital brand asset
Remember, your branding elements aren’t distinctive marketing assets unless they’re unique and famous. That’s not something you can determine on your own. So, you’ll need to collect data from your target audience to assess the strength of each asset.
You can either create a free online survey or hire a company to perform the assessment for you. If you’d like to do it yourself, write survey questions asking participants to rate how strongly they associate each element with your brand and other companies in your industry. Also, ask participants about their familiarity with the industry and your brand.
Step 3: Analyze the results to find valuable digital brand assets
To bring everything together, you need to analyze the survey results to find your most valuable brand assets. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science uses the Distinctive Asset Grid to interpret the survey findings.
They do that by first scoring the survey answers in 2 ways:
- Fame: Calculating the percentage of consumers that linked your brand to the corresponding element.
- Uniqueness: Calculating the percentage of all links to the branding element.
Each percentage pairing lands the element on the grid in 1 of 4 squares:
- Avoid: When brand elements land in this square, they’re high in fame, but not unique enough. This will make consumers confused and unable to identify your brand from a competitor. Consider adjusting for uniqueness or starting over with something entirely different.
- Ignore or test: Elements in this category aren’t unique to your brand or famous enough for widespread recognition. They don’t evoke feelings of trust or loyalty when viewed by consumers. You can either refine these elements or start fresh.
- Invest potential: Brand assets have potential when they’re fairly unique to your company but not yet widely recognized. While these elements don’t foster trust, they may spark consumers’ curiosity. Use them consistently to build their fame and link them to your brand.
- Use or lose: Elements fall into this category when they are so strongly associated with your brand that they could replace your company name in your marketing materials. Consumers know them well and think of your brand at first glance. Build upon these elements and keep them in use to maintain their impact.
Select a brand asset management software program
Your distinctive brand assets won’t do you any good if they’re disorganized and largely inaccessible to your marketing team. A brand asset management software program can prevent that by compiling all your distinctive brand elements in one easy-to-access location.
These software programs come in many styles, from simple data storage systems to complete branding workspaces. There’s no one right digital asset management solution for every business. So, be sure to reflect on your team’s software usage preferences and branding approach to find the best one.
These are some features to look for in a digital brand asset management program:
- User-friendly interface with intuitive tools for uploading, exploring, and retrieving brand assets.
- Advanced search and filtering that allows you to find digital assets using metadata tags, keywords, and advanced filters.
-Version control system that keeps team members using the latest approved brand asset versions.
- Security features that are designed to prevent data breaches through user permissions, encryption, and secure storage solutions for all your digital assets.
- Integration capabilities that seamlessly work with your design software, marketing tools, and other platforms that your team prefers for building digital assets.
You might also want to consider whether you want a cloud-based or on-premises asset management setup. In addition, look at the overall scalability of the system as your brand grows along with its cost and potential return on investment.
Leverage brand assets to build customer loyalty
Once your distinctive brand assets are created, organized, and well managed, what happens now? It’s time to leverage those elements to build customer loyalty using the following best practices:
- Add your brand assets to all your marketing materials, like your website, social media channels, emails, display ads, and direct mail correspondence.
- Gather consumer feedback to regularly assess the strength of your brand assets, especially after updates to your branding approach.
- Watch your competitors for any attempts to mimic your signature branding elements, including taglines, color schemes, and typography.
- Use your digital assets to tell your brand’s story and connect with your target audience on a deeper level through webinars, workshops, and other informational sessions.
- Slowly introduce each new brand asset by constantly reevaluating its fame and uniqueness and use it alongside your brand name until it’s well recognized as your own.
Stand out from other brands with consistent brand assets
Building your brand’s identity requires a winning strategy and lots of time. Going from an unknown company to one instantly recognizable at a glance is a journey, not a sprint. It’s about consistently using distinctive brand assets in everything you do. Your efforts can help you stand out from the crowd and create lasting bonds with your customers, making it all worthwhile.