You know how you have that one friend who never leaves the house without putting serious thought into the way they dress? In an overly bland sea of t-shirts and jeans, that person stands out. They’re different. Unique. They’re impossible to miss at parties because they have a certain style that’s all theirs. A kind of calling card that tells the world they’re here and have personality.
Your brand should be the same.
Whenever your company makes contact with the outside world (known as touchpoints) it should do so in a way that is memorable and consistent. If you can do that, you have what us marketing folks like to call a strong brand identity. You’ve done what so many companies struggle to do everyday— you’ve figured out how to create distinctive brand assets.
What does that mean? Well it means you’ve united your company’s outside appearance using a few carefully and strategically planned elements. These elements, brand assets, are vitally important to the success of your company which is why we’ve decided to take a few minutes to explain how they work. Let’s start with a definition…
What are Distinctive Brand Assets (DBAs)?
Distinctive Brand Assets are powerful branding tools that help you stand out from the crowd and immediately tell your customers, “It’s me, I’m here.” By successfully developing your own suite of DBAs, you’ll be able to deliver a more consistent and unified experience to your customers.
But what do they actually look like? You’re likely already familiar with the most common types of brand elements:
- Logos and logotypes;
- Jingles, etc.
These are owned media that a brand uses to stay recognizable across every touch point they have with a customer or partner. However, those aren’t the only brand elements that companies typically work with. Other examples of brand elements could be:
- Color palettes;
- Photography style; or
These are all outside ambassadors for your brand that should be carefully designed to work with one another and contribute to a single, strategically-planned brand identity.
However, while any of the above examples could be considered brand assets, they’re not necessarily what we mean when we say Distinctive Brand Assets.
To be considered a DBA, branding elements must be tied so strongly to your company that close to 100% of your customers would connect them to you without any context. It’s this uniqueness (or distinctness, if you will) that transforms a regular brand element into a distinctive brand asset. For quick reference, think “Just do it.”, or a little kid whispering, “Zoom, zoom.”
For a more in depth example, let’s talk about one of the world’s leaders in branding: Apple.
Over the years, they’ve worked hard to create an image that is instantly recognizable and screams ‘Apple’ at every turn. From their custom-designed typeface, Myriad Apple, to their use of extreme minimalism in absolutely everything they produce. As a company, they understand the power of a strong brand and ensure that they’re doing everything they can to make their brand assets as distinctive as can be.
Why are Distinctive Brand Assets so important?
Why put in the effort? It’s not easy to create a suite of unmistakably unique branding elements. It takes time to carefully select colors, typefaces, and photography styles that all work together to create a single, distinct identity. So why do it?
Well, simply put, by making your brand assets distinctive, you can:
- Increase customer loyalty.
- Build trust/ease buyer doubt.
- Increase the return on your ad spend.
- Create a stronger brand identity.
Here’s what that looks like…
1. Increasing Customer Loyalty
I think we can all agree that increasing customer loyalty and retention should be a priority for any brand. Stats show that converting a new customer is five times more expensive than keeping a new one around. So do yourself a favour and start thinking about your move from acquisition to retention. And while you’re at it, let’s talk about how DBAs make that whole process way easier.
Imagine that you have a favorite cabinetmaker - we’ll call her Joanne. Joanne works for a local building company and whenever you need work done in your house, you call her first. However, one day she gets an offer from a new company and makes the switch. What do you do? Do you continue to work with Joanne’s previous employer and whoever they send in her place, or do you find out where she’s working and give them your business?
If you’re like most people, you’ll have no problem switching from one generic construction company to another. After all, you’re loyal to the individual employee and not the brand as a whole.
Now let’s imagine Joanne originally worked for Home Depot, a company with a strong brand identity, and more importantly — especially when it comes to customer retention and loyalty — a ridiculous amount of brand equity. When she switches companies, are you likely to follow her, or are you going to continue to trust in the expertise and quality of the work provided by Home Depot? For most people, it’s not the individual you like, it’s the trust you have that Home Depot will deliver quality work no matter who’s on the other end of the hammer. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Building Trust and Easing Buyer Doubt
This is a simple one.
By keeping your brand assets distinctive and uniquely you, customers will feel more at ease when purchasing from you. Every message they receive from you feels unified. Every email, banner ad, and TV commercial feels like it’s coming from a single entity. By remaining consistent, you become a brand they can count on… and hopefully purchase from!
3. Increasing ROI on Ad Spend
The third benefit to having Distinctive Brand Assets concerns the money you spend on ads. We’ve talked a lot about customer acquisition and if you’ve done your reading you know that ad spend can be a big part of the customer acquisition cost formula. DBAs can help with that.
In multiple studies, customers who were shown amazing ads were unable to correctly identify or remember the company behind them. In many cases, they associated the ads with competitor’s companies, meaning that the original creators of the ads just spent untold amounts of ad dollars simply to lose customers to their rivals.
Keeping your brand assets distinctive and unique ensures that no matter how distracted viewers are, they’ll still successfully associate your ads with your brand. For example, think about the Geico gecko or the Aflac duck. By including these mascots in their ads, those two companies ensure that no one will be left wondering who’s behind the ads. It’s the same with the typography that Coca Cola uses for their logo or the catchy jingle used in ads for Avocados From Mexico. By successfully creating distinctive brand assets (mascots, logos, jingles) companies are able to present a strong, instantly recognizable brand identity.
4.Creating a Stronger Brand Identity
We’ve talked about brand identity a lot on this blog. As a company, getting your brand right is one of the most important marketing objectives your business can have.
However, without a set of distinctive, clearly-defined brand assets, doing so is almost impossible. In fact, any good agency will recommend that you find a way to make your brand assets distinctive during the branding process and then codify that ‘distinctiveness’ through a set of brand guidelines.
If you’re at the beginning of that process, don’t worry… we’re here to help! We’d love to touch base with you and find out how you can build your own set of Distinctive Brand Assets that will set you apart from your competition. To get started, book a free call with us and let’s build you a powerful brand.