28 September 2020

How hero your distinctive brand assets

Distinctive assets, brand icons, brand identifiers – they get called a million things but they are fundamentally shortcuts to brands, both at the shelf and across other touchpoints too. 

It might be a character, a colour or fonts of distinction within a specific category. They can also be audio, or shapes and symbols. Even a tone of voice can be a brand asset, although this is easier to copy. 

But the one thing these distinctive brand assets all have in common? Everyone from your eight year-old son to your 80 year-old Grandma will know the brand from it.

 Brand images

Akin to plants, these icons or assets need to be nurtured over time so patience is required before you can fully reap the benefit and gain recognition from them.

But,in the pursuit of change and the attraction of the shiny and new, it is very easy to drop the things that make your brand instantly recognisable. And this is where many brands go wrong.

Many of our incoming briefs start with the line “we want to modernise the packaging to be more relevant to a younger market.”

This can often mean that devices or assets that have been there for a long time get chopped because they are seen as old fashioned – getting rid of them can be seen as a quick win. But this is a fundamental flaw.

Instead, it would be prudent to follow the advice of Professor Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science:

“When brand owners ask me what market research they should be doing, I always reply ‘first measure your brand’s distinctive assets… Find out what they really are, and how strong they really are… Don’t assume.”

The Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science recommends that if you are planning any evolution of your branding, or intend to do any new advertising, then you should benchmark your distinctive brand assets – what’s working and what isn’t.

By auditing existing brand assets, as well as undertaking research with your target audience on your brand, market and competitors, you can assess how healthy your brand elements are right now. Does your audience associate the colour you currently use with you or with a competitor? Is your logotype identifiable and memorable? Does your tagline aid identification of your brand at all?

This is exactly the approach we took when working with Napolina on its rebrand. Looking at its hero chopped tomatoes tin, we idenitifed the brand’s iconic and supporting assets while identifying potential challenges and opportunities.

Napolina Before

The new brand design created clear, ownable assets and illustrated why the brand was worth paying more for. As a result, Napolina was the fastest growing food brand in the UK in 2019 and achieved record share in three of its key categories. 

Napolina hero can

For more on Napolina, view the full case study here.

To see how we can help you get your brand identify, develop and hero your distinctive brand assets, get in touch.