Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketing oriented leaders and professionals everywhere. Today we hear from David, a CEO in Atlanta, Georgia who has this question about extending brand relevance and distinctiveness.
We’re a well-established consumer packaged goods brand closely tied to our heritage. Our focus this year is on extending our relevance and distinctiveness at a time where health and food safety is on the forefront of consumers’ minds, as well as continuing to move toward our vision of becoming the most trusted name in food and agriculture products. I should also add that family spokespeople have been at the forefront of delivering our message from day one and we are preparing to transition to a new spokesperson. I have followed The Blake Project for quite some time and value your opinions. What approach would you recommend for achieving our goals?
Thanks for your question David, here are some initial recommendations to consider.
Start with understanding which brand equities, messaging, and attributes work for the brand, and which should be re-considered. This includes identifying the right spokesperson and messaging that will tell the brand story in a way that is consistent with the brand’s established equities.
We know that a successful brand is one that readily comes to mind when thinking of that category. Top-of-mind brands are mentally available due to their distinct yet cohesive (consistent across all touchpoints) equities. One of the keys to brand growth is obtaining a deep understanding of what elements make-up your brand identity.
Know Which Of Your Brand’s Elements Are The Most Valuable
A brand’s identity comprises many different elements, but not all of them have the same value. There are elements within your brand’s identity that are brand assets and they are the key to evolving your brand to create breakthrough, while ensuring you do so in a relentlessly consistent manner.
There are two qualities of a brand element that distinguish it as an asset.
First, a brand asset must be distinctive or ‘owned’ by the brand. This means that consumers unmistakably link that asset with your brand. The impact of a distinctive brand asset is that it attracts attention and drives recognition amidst the flurry of competing messages in communications or variants on shelf. Consumers see the asset and use it as a ‘mental shortcut’ to identify your brand.
Second, a brand asset must be relevant or ‘on-brand’. This means that the asset reinforces and amplifies your brand’s promise. As the asset is iterated consistently across multiple touch points, it reinforces the mental structures that consumers have associated to the rational and emotional benefits that your brand promises to deliver. This creates another ‘mental shortcut’ – one that reminds consumers of how your brand makes them feel and thus they are more likely to add it to their consideration set, pick it up off shelf, and possibly buy it.
Know What Your Brand Should Say And Convey
While constantly learning, growing, and evolving David, you should identify what the brand stands for and what are consumers’ emotional associations with the brand and its equities. Ultimately, you should identify which brand assets work (and should be kept and activated) and which assets don’t work (and should be evolved or dropped). Knowing this, will help you establish what your brand should say and convey through its messaging and communications.
You will find Brand Identity and Distinctive Brand Asset Research exceptionally useful for accomplishing this.
Identities are comprised of many different types of elements, including colors, shapes, scents, sounds, textures, taste, taglines, tone of voice, brand characters and spokespeople, endorsers, packaging, product, logo, font, and claims.
With brand identity and distinctive brand asset research, you can answer these questions:
1. Which of my brand elements are driving my brand’s distinctiveness?
2. Are all of my brand elements working together to drive brand coherency across all touchpoints?
3. When should I evolve or remove brand elements from my brand identity?
How To Drive Growth Through Your Brand Assets
Brand owners have two very important goals. To drive short-term business results, while also building long-term brand equity.
To drive growth, remain relevant to their consumers, and create breakthrough, marketers need to push the boundaries of their brand promise and identity. At the same time, we know that true long-term brand growth comes from a brand promise that is brought to life by remarkable ideas executed with relentless consistency. As brands evolve to create breakthrough, they need to stay true to their roots – the associations and emotions that built their brand in the first place.
Your brand is multifaceted; it impacts thousands of stakeholders across the spectrum from creatives to consumers, from marketers to media buys, from retailers to retweets. Having a well understood and remarkably consistent brand across the spectrum ensures that every touch point is maximized.
So when pushing the boundaries of brand promise and identity, how much of a push is too much? Mastering this tension is what separates the most successful brand builders from everyone else and it’s not easy, especially since every brand, its competitors, and the category itself have specific nuances.
Phil Duncan, the Chief Design Officer at P&G positioned this challenge perfectly when he said,
“I tell my colleagues that it is the responsibility of brand teams to write the next chapter for the P&G book, not to write a new book. The goal is always to keep the story interesting and moving forward.”
While this is far easier said than done, deepening your understanding of how hard the assets within your brand’s identity are working for your brand is the first step on this journey.
We hope this is helpful David and wish you the best in reaching your goals for 2020.
Do you have a brand management or growth strategy question? Just Ask The Blake Project
Simply email me, Derrick Daye for more about how we can help you discover the most important asset in your brand and competing brands.
The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education