Distinctive Brand Assets

Distinctive Brand Assets

Distinctive brands assets are learned associations that help us to notice, recognise, remember and think of a brand. Originally defined by Byron Sharp and Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute as ‘the nonbrand name elements that trigger the brand into the memory of category buyers ’. They are the non-verbal cues of a brand which include colours, logos, icons, characters, packs, patterns, shapes or audio devices.

Amazon Brand Code
Geico Gecko v4
685px-McDonald's_Golden_Arches.svg
Mastercard Brand Asset

Distinctive Brand Assets or DBAs (also known as brand codes) have come to the fore as a critical component in marketing effectiveness, with huge credit due to experts such as Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute in breaking down the marketing science behind the topic in the seminal book  “Building Distinctive Brand Assets”. Now at the forefront of marketing science and effectiveness, it is time to start evaluating and tracking your DBAs. (See more here on Distinctive Brand Asset research and tracking)

Why are Distinctive Brand Assets important?

Stand Up in Comms

The first job of advertising is to be noticed, the second job is for them to know it’s you, something we seem to have forgot. DBAs help improve the effectiveness of your creative & communications by increasing the chances a consumer will recognise your advert, recall it and consign to memory. A diverse range of assets also helps encode ads in consumer’s brains, something a brand name just won’t do on its own. And it’s not not a case of mentioning the brand several times. A Kantar Link copy test study1 showed no correlation between branding scores and the number of times the brand was mentioned. Without plastering your logo everywhere (which itself is often a blindspot), DBAs improve media efficiency & creative effectiveness. A recent IPSOS study2 showed uplifts of 34% where DBAs were embedded & used. Meanwhile an Ebiquity study saw that brands with DBAs of note gain a 62% higher ROI then the average campaign3. Ultimately, better branding of your communications will improve the salience of your brand.

Golden Arches DBA
Omnichannel DBA
Stand Together

They help connect disparate marketing activities consciously or subconsciously. Done well, they bridge the long & short across all touch points and at all times. You know that lovely ad slogan or tagline you spent months crafting with your agency as part of an integrated campaign? Very few consumers will likely recognise it never mind recall it. Put this to the test, what is the slogan of the last product or service you purchased? Unless it was a behemoth the likes of a Nike or McDonalds (or your own brand), can you recall it? An ad slogan alone will often not help tie together all your channels as part of a 360 campaign, it requires the collective effort of your DBAs to connect the dots for busy consumers who come across thousands of brand messages a day.

Stand Out Physically

With 30,000+ items in an average supermarket, standing out has never been more important on-shelf or online. DBAs improve how easily your brand is found making your brand more likely to be bought. On a packed shelf, distinctive assets help brands stand out through the clutter. Think of the way a distinctive pack & product such as Kikkoman Soy sauce draws your eye and you almost subconsciously add it to your basket. Or why a familiar cereal pack owns part of the fixture due to their strong colour. Or why you ask the waiter for an Aperol Spritz after noticing it on the table over. These are Distinctive Brand Assets in action.

Kikkoman Distinctive Bottle
Corona Distinctive Lime Serve
Stand Out Mentally

They improve how easily your brand comes to mind. They create shortcuts (mental heuristics) for consumers, the vast majority of whom neither care nor know anything about brands in the way marketers do. They create more dimensions for how brands come to mind in purchase and consumption occasions. A study by Kantar Brand Z found brands with the strongest assets are on average 52% more ‘salient’ than their rivals i.e. they are much more likely to spring to mind when consumers are shopping within the category. Think of how a Corona comes to mind at a beach bar thanks to the lime. Or how a tin of Pringles pops into your head on the way to the confectionary aisle. Creating a brand that is salient (comes to mind) at purchase or consumption is one of the most important factors in how brands grow, DBAs help get you there.

Distinctive Brand Assets Research & Tracking

Understanding the current performance of your Distinctive Brand Assets is one of the first jobs in planning for distinctiveness, and tracking them over time is key to your marketing effectiveness journey. We offer a cost effective & robust solution to research and track your brand assets. Contact us on hello@DistinctiveBAT.com to find out more.





    Building A Distinctive Brand Asset Strategy

    Brands of all sizes can start improving the standing of their Distinctive Brand Assets. The first step is to undertake distinctive asset research, an audit of your assets allows you to understand actual performance and against competitors. 

    This research will help unpick your best performing brand assets, which assets you should be doubling down on. It will also allow you understand any watchout assets that are being misattributed to competitors. It will uncover which assets may need more work, adaption and/or creative application and finally it will allow you benchmark and track performance over time. 

    Copy of DBAT Grid (1)

    Resources & Blog

    Distinctive Packaging Inspiration Volume 2

    Distinctive packaging are a growth multiplier when done right, here are some best in class examples.

    Distinctiveness Case Study – Food Delivery Brands U.K.

    Distinctive Brand Asset case study looking at the U.K. food delivery category.

    Connecting the Long & Short with Distinctive Brand Assets

    Connecting disparate marketing activity using Distinctive Brand Assets.

    Not sure what you need?

    1 Improving the branding of your TV advertising: Millward Brown, 2006. 2 IPSOS The Power of You. 3 Ebiquity – How creativity drives advertising effectiveness