Smarter Design — Empowering Business
What comes to mind when you think of Nike? McDonalds? Apple? Chances are, it’s exactly what these companies have been trying to achieve for many years.
An odd shaped tick, exaggerated golden arches, an apple with a bite taken out. All fairly obscure elements if they were ever to be viewed out of context or disassociated from their respective brands. In reality, these ‘distinctive assets’ are synonymous with the brands that they represent yet they don’t require words to describe what or who they are. This is the peak of achievements when considering brand distinctiveness.
These companies have worked extremely hard over many years to make sure their branding is distinct in order to create greater memory structures so they can be easily recalled during the decision making process or at the time of entering the category. This is why brand distinctiveness is one of the most important and powerful aspects of successful brand development.
What is Brand Distinctiveness?
Brand distinctiveness is how unique your brand is from others in your industry. Brand distinctiveness can be influenced by your brand values or brand personality, it can also be visually represented through your brand identity or distinctive assets.
Professor Jenni Romaniuk from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is the world leader in the study and research of distinctive assets and their effectiveness. Professor Romaniuk’s framework to measure the effectiveness of distinctive assets uses fame and uniqueness as the two key metrics. Basically, if your distinctive assets are unique and are known by many people, they will be highly effective and should be used with disciplined consistency as often as possible in your marketing activity in order to assist with brand awareness and salience.
A study by Kantar Millward Brown found that brands with the strongest and most distinctive assets are on average 52% more salient than their rivals. Distinctive branding and assets are integral to setting your brand apart and making your brand more memorable. They can be effective tools assisting with strategic positioning and building brand equity over time.
There are many ways to create a distinctive brand. It could be through your name, logo, tagline, packaging, or even the language you use to communicate with your customers. All of these assets combined are what is referred to as your distinctive asset palette. Often these assets are included as a part of your brand standards or branding guidelines enabling consistent use and execution of your distinctive assets.
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Why is Brand Distinctiveness Important?
There are many reasons why having a distinctive brand is important for your business. One of the most important, according to the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, is that brand distinctiveness assists with mental and physical availability. This means that your brand is more likely to be top of mind and recalled when your audience needs or wants your product or service.
When you are distinct, it is likely your brand will be more competitive. You are able to stand out amongst your competition and be more easily remembered. Brand distinctiveness also allows you to create stronger relationships with your customers. They are more likely to be loyal and engaged with a brand that they can easily remember and identify.
As previously mentioned, there are many assets that can make up a distinctive brand and your distinctive asset palette. It is important to consider all of these when creating your brand strategy. Your name, logo, and tagline are some of the most important elements. They should be simple, memorable, recognisable and enduring.
Other assets can include your colour palette, typeface, audio or jingles and overall design style and aesthetic. All of these elements should work together, they should align with your overarching business strategy and be connected to your vision in order to create a cohesive and distinctive brand or corporate identity.
While it may seem like a lot of work to create a distinctive brand, the research and science suggests that it is worth the effort. According to Peter Field and Les Binet, the godfathers of marketing effectiveness, investing in your brand at the ‘top of the funnel’ helps to build future value in your brand. Top of funnel investment will increase brand visibility and equity, it will also protect your brand in the long term allowing it to be less susceptible to new entrants or aggressive competition.
Ensuring your brand is distinct, investing in brand awareness and top of funnel brand building can be a powerful combination in the pursuit of growing a brand. It will help you attract new customers, stand apart from your competition as well as building loyalty with your existing customer base.
At StudioBand® distinctiveness, along with authenticity and endurance, is a creative pillar that we use to govern our creative thinking and outcomes. It is an integral building block to a successful brand and one that we have had a great deal of experience with.
If you want to learn more about how to create a distinctive brand, contact us today. We would be more than happy to chat about brand distinctiveness and its importance, share our expertise and help you create a brand that is more distinct.
Field, P., Binet, L. (2018). The long and the short of it: Balancing short and long-term marketing strategies. www.warc.com
Romaniuk, J. (2018). Building Distinctive Brand Assets. Oxford University Press
Romaniuk, J., Sharpe, B. (2021). How Brands Grow 2 Revised Edition. Oxford University Press