Think of M&M’s and you get an instant visual image of the characters Red and Yellow; a flash of bright green in the haircare aisle can draw you to Fructis; and when I write the words ‘Aussie kids are….’ a good number of you would have finished that sentence in your mind without prompting (probably also with the music to accompany it!).
Each of these factors are Distinctive Brand Assets. They’re the non-brand-name aspects of a brand that form its identity. Built up over time and embedded in your memory, Distinctive Assets trigger the brand in the minds of buyers and help them identify the brand with ease – online, in-store, in the street or on your phone.
Distinctive Assets are created by the brand’s marketing activities, and when done well—like M&M’s, Fructis and Weet-Bix—they can activate a rich vein of thoughts. Yet there are also risks. The appeal of Distinctive Assets can lead marketers to make poor choices about assets for their brand, particularly when they’re considering (or have been told) it’s time for a change.
The following four commandments help you focus on the important, and avoid some common traps that damage the brand.
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