Brands exist in an ever-changing, dynamic environment where disruptive competition and blending categories have become the norm. To stay alive and flourish, brands need to stand out and make a long-lasting impression on consumers.
In his book, How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know, Byron Sharp advises marketers to create and use distinctive brand assets to help grow their brands. Brand assets are sensory cues that get noticed by and stay top of mind with consumers – think, for instance, about McDonald’s Golden Arches, Coke’s bottle shape or Ikea’s use of yellow and blue colors. Developing quickly recognisable and easily recalled brand assets is an impactful way to break through the clutter and tap into consumers’ System 1 decision-making processes.
Brand assets have the potential to drive brand growth, as they can:
- Strengthen mental networks (the unique set of memories, emotions, experiences, images, colors, symbols, etc. that influence the mental availability of your brand)
- Improve brand attribution in communication, i.e., enable your brand to intuitively come to mind when people are exposed to communication
- Make people think of the brand when they are shopping the category
- Make it easier for consumers to find the brand in the store
Getting brand assets right is critical: they should support what the brand wants to stand for and not lead to opposite associations, which can damage a brand. For example, clothing retailer Gap changed its logo in 2010 – and the resulting online backlash forced it to
drop the new logo in just one week. Our approach to evaluating brand assets not only guides marketers on which assets to use and pursue, but also which assets to reconsider and avoid – helping them to optimise a portfolio of assets to steer their brand to success.
A summary of the paper was published in the Green Book blog.