Your brand is one of the most valuable assets your company owns.
Your brand is not one thing – it is a collection of elements that together form the public perception of your business that we refer to as ‘your brand’.
These elements include (but are not limited to)
- Business name
- Colour palettes
- Product packaging
- Celebrities (endorsement)
- Music (advertising themes)
- Fragrances (eg. perfume company)
- Style (distinct fashion styles, such as Gucci)
Not all brands will have all these elements, of course. But more important to note is that not all these elements – if you have them – will be classed as brand assets.
So what makes a branding element an asset? And How can you use them to maximum advantage?
Read on, to identify and leverage your visual assets.
Identify your brand assets
Your brand elements, argues the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, is only an asset if it fulfils the following criteria:
- Unique – The element evokes the brand, and not competitors
- Famous – Most, if not all consumers should know the element represents the brand name
A classic example of this is the image used in the title of this page – have another look. It’s simply a yellow oval on a blue background, but if you stop and think for a moment, you’ll probably recognise the logo of a famous Swedish company.
Other examples of this is the experiment carried out by printing company, Printsome, who swapped the logos around on some well-known brands. Take a look at the image below and see if you can figure out the actual company whose logo has been adorned with a competitor’s.
It’s not difficult at all, is it? And that’s the power of a well-leveraged brand asset. Even though the above images are effectively advertising their competition, you still know who the logo design belongs to.
Like many companies that have grown their brand over time, you may not always know or be able to identify your brand assets clearly, let alone be objective about what works for you and what doesn’t.
For some, this is because they have simply grown organically, for others its is because they are too close (or emotionally tied) to them.
The first step is to make a clear audit of all your brand elements and identify which are your assets. The definition above should help. Then you need to be able to identify the ones which are working for you and contribute to your brand recognition.
A great idea here is to get some advice – professional advice. There are times to do things yourself and there are times when outside help can work far better and end up being much more cost-effective.
Get an outside opinion – have a professional brand asset audit.
After this is done, only then can you move forward and create a strategy to leverage the assets you have and work on your marketing plan.
Define your brand assets
Getting the most from your branding takes planning, which is why the first step is to identify the assets you already have. The second step is to define the ones that you have in clear terms.
Only then can you create a marketing strategy to take advantage of them, or even know where the gaps are where you need to be creating new ones.
We’ll take just one element as an example – your logo.
Your logo should be professionally created – even if it is your design – unless you can produce it professionally yourself.
But the design is more than just coming up with the idea and drawing it. This also includes production of all relevant file formats for both print and digital use, and specifications for the correct colour palettes to be used in different circumstances.
You should also have noted in your brand book a ‘do and don’t’ list. This is a set of rules for how and where your logo can and cannot be used, in which formats and which colour palettes. This is then used as a set of instructions for your staff (any anyone external to your company).
For example, you may allow for colour and black and white images to be used, depending upon circumstance. But you might not allow the use of a reverse (negative) image.
The purpose of a brand book is to control the format and use of all your brand assets, including your logo. This ensures that your brand is always in the public eye in a consistent and recognisable manner, and greatly affects brand promotion.
This is where a lot of planning will go – deciding the controlled circumstances in which all your brand assets may be used, and how they are presented.
Once you have done this with your logo, you now need to go back and define all your other assets in the same way – this is the creation of your brand book.
As with listing your assets in the first place, it is often a good idea to get in outside help for feedback and advice on the use of your brand assets.
Leverage your brand assets
Only after you have identified and defined the use of your assets can you finally plan how to use them to grow your brand.
The most obvious way is always to use them consistently.
Sticking to the rules of your brand book, make sure that every external communication your company has is branded. This includes all digital media appearances (social and otherwise), printed media, packaging, adverts, emails, letters, invoices and any other communications.
Your brand images should be on or in every customer touchpoint you have – so this extends past digital and print to include staff uniforms or badges, detailing on vehicles, postal packaging, sponsorships, etc. Whichever of these is applicable to your business.
Also, as a large part of your branding is about customer recognition, talk to your customers! Get feedback from them about what they like and what they dislike about your branding, as well as your products.
Discover ways for how your branding can become more integrated into your current marketing strategy – for some great ideas, read 5 ways to boost your brand promotion.
As we have mentioned earlier, sometimes this is the perfect time to get an outside opinion and some specialised help. Brand promotion is a specialised field in and of itself.
For more thoughts on your brand and customer engagement – in view of the changes that have come about due to the Covid-19 pandemic, then read the important report from Splento – you can download your free copy by using this button:
You can follow this link to book a fast, professional audit of your current brand assets.
Alternatively, if you have already done this and find you need to boost your visual asset collection, then make sure to look at the Ultimate Brand Asset Gallery opportunity.
If you feel your brand assets are in good shape – but in need of a little refreshment, then take a look at 5 companies that brand refreshed – and see the results for yourself.
For anything else brand related – even if you have a simple question or are looking for more in-depth advice, you can contact Splento today.