Familiarity begets trust. As people are creatures of comfort, they are more likely to trust things or people that they recognize. The same is true for purchasing habits. When two otherwise similar products clash, the winner will be the one with a dominant position in the buyer’s mind.
This is why building a powerful and unique brand image is one of the best investments any entrepreneur can make. Creating an immediately recognizable brand name gives an edge over competitors and directly translates into larger profits. The key ingredient of creating a brand are brand assets.
In today’s article, we’ll talk about the definition of brand assets, what they are and aren’t, and how you can leverage them in your next venture.
Let’s dig in!
What is a branded asset?
Many things constitute your brand. Specific sounds, jingles, logo, slogan, colors, fonts, events, etc. - all these elements come together to construct your brand identity.
However, not all of these brand elements are brand assets. So, how do you separate one from the other?
The two essential criteria that an element has to meet to be a brand asset are uniqueness and recognizability. In other words, it has to be an element unmistakably yours and such that people immediately think about your brand when they see it.
If an asset is a repurposed stock image or can be associated with your competitors then they are not brand assets. It is still possible to use these elements to create and maintain your brand but they cannot be its foundation.
Examples of brand assets
It’s always best to study from the best so let’s look at the examples of brand assets that do not need any further introduction.
McDonalds: I’m Lovin’ It
By this point, the famous para-pa-pa-paa jingle is already stuck in your head. I’m deeply sorry about it but it is an important example to illustrate how three words can instantly evoke imagery of McD’s golden arches and a catchy tune that makes people think about good ol’ Big Macs.
The impossibility to separate the slogan either from the tune or the restaurant itself (no one thinks Burger King when hearing that phrase) is what makes this otherwise mundane phrase McDonald’s’ brand asset.
Moving onto the power of logos, Nike’s minimalistic swoosh doesn’t make people think about anything but the sports apparel brand. Much like McDonald’s’ jingle, Nike’s swoosh has a partner in crime - the “Just Do It” slogan. These parallels are not coincidental but an important lesson in constructing a strong brand identity. Powerful brand assets do not exist in isolation but constitute an ecosystem in which they build from each other, creating a stronger impression and memory in the minds of the viewers.
Mascots is yet another brand asset that paves an easy way to build and maintain brand identity. Since they’ve designed with mass-market appeal in mind, mascots can make a company relatable and alluring even if their business niche is otherwise mundane and serious.
Ever since Gecko adopted Martin, the Gecko as the company's brand ambassador in a variety of humorous advertising campaigns their business has been growing like never before. The successful gambit of making it an animal creates an interesting feedback loop where people are going to think about the insurance company whenever they see or talk about the reptile in an otherwise unrelated context!
Also, fun fact: Gecko is pronounced as “guy-co” but people kept mispronouncing it as gecko and marketers decided to lean into it by creating Martin. This is why it’s important to do your research and understand your audience - sometimes they just know better.
How to Understand that a Company Element is a Brand Asset?
Speaking of research. Most companies on the market don’t have the pull and the legacy of the giants mentioned above and will have a tougher time manifesting a distinct brand identity through assets.
That does not mean that one should not try; only that you’ll have to work harder.
In the words of a famous detective: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
Step 1. Gather Your Assets
At this stage, don’t be hasty to pass judgment on what is and isn’t a brand asset. Collect everything you have - color schemes, logo, slogan, fonts, concepts, and retired assets. Everything you may deem worthy should get into the pile.
Step 2. Gather Feedback
After doing some internal filtering, comes the next big step - target audience surveys. You’ll have to collect several target groups, distinguished by demographic, their familiarity with your product, and other criteria. Ask them what assets elicit associations with your brand, which ones don’t, and whether your assets beg comparisons with your competition.
Step 3. Analyze the Results
Now that you’ve done it, it’s time to make sense of it all. Using data, separate your assets into tiers, sorting them by the criteria of uniqueness and association with your brand.
The assets that are too close to your competition ought to be discarded, while those with the most positive feedback should become headliners of your brand identity. Assets caught in the middle should be brought back to the drawing board to assess if you can shape them into unique brand assets.
How to Determine the Value of Brand Assets?
So now that you have brand assets and started actively using them in your marketing efforts, how do you trace the relationship between the increased recognizability and sales conversions?
Well, that’s where it gets tricky. Unless you’re going to pester customers with a survey asking “Did our wacky mascot convince you to buy our product/services” after each successful deal, there’s no way to draw a linear connection between the two.
After all, brand assets rely on the psychology of the consumer, an entity that is more intangible than otherwise.
Your best bet of establishing a pattern is measuring the engagement and click-through rates of your ads before and after the reinforcement of your brand through brand assets.
However, don’t dismiss their effectiveness if results don’t seem impressive at launch. Brand assets comprise a self-serving feedback loop. That means that the more exposure they get, the more recognizable they will become, so it is gonna take a while until your logos, mascots, and slogans find a comfortable seat in the minds of consumers.
This is why brand assets aren’t a one-and-done thing - you have to constantly maintain and bolster them, otherwise, the associations won’t just be there.
How to Leverage Brand Assets With Pics.io Digital Asset Management
Truth be told, it’s a challenge to keep all your brand assets in order. Their main purpose is to make your brand immediately recognizable on the borderline subconscious level. That means that any slight misstep will create dissonance and confusion.
Why do you think that global brands such as Mcdonald’s or Domino’s have distinct guidelines on what franchise owners can and cannot do with advertisement and the decoration of restaurants? Because the moment you remove golden arches, then the whole chain of associations breaks down.
In digital space, creating and disrupting these associations is much easier. Just by accidentally using outdated assets on a company's social media you can create dissonance and a lack of trust that’ll take you a while to rebuild.
To solve this issue, you’ll need to use specialized software that maintains your assets neat and orderly.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) software is a tool designed to ensure that your digital assets are kept in order, easy to find, and aren’t misplaced. DAM further enhances your capability to collaborate on assets, and easily receive or share them directly from your library (with additional security). Having a dedicated solution to manage your brand assets means that you won't worry about things that do not directly contribute to the development of your brand identity.
DAM Version Control Eliminates Mistakes
With traditional media content libraries, it is difficult to remember which version of a brand asset is the most recent one. While the file name may say “projectFinal” the reality might be that your team has decided to go with the other iteration after all. The new team member, however, won’t be privy to your discussions and might use outdated imagery somewhere by accident.
To avoid mistakes, all teammates have to spend hours every day looking for and verifying that the assets which they've found are okay to use in the project. DAM significantly cuts this time down, as teams that have added DAM saw 270% search results improvement.
Version Control and Comment History in Pics.io are accessed directly via the asset’s thumbnail. So, when any team member opens an asset, they can see all the changes that have been done to the asset and see which version has been approved for use.
DAM Keywords and Metadata Help to Find Brand Assets That One Needs
The brand is not only about consistency but consistent quality. Awkward and seemingly innocent mistakes cheapen your brand. Even something as innocuous as using wrong image dimensions on social media can have such an effect.
Using Pics.io as your brand assets management platform you can use keywords or custom metadata fields to specify additional information about assets that minimize selection mistakes. So, you can add the keyword “Twitter” to specific brand assets versions so that you’ll instantly find the ones that you need. On average, DAM saves 10 hours/mo per user!
Difference Between Brand Assets and Digital Assets
Pics.io works both as a digital and brand assets management suite. That does not mean, however, that these terms are interchangeable.
When we say “digital assets” we mean all types of media (videos, images, photos, infographics) that are stored on a computer or in the cloud. So, like any other asset, a digital asset CAN be a brand asset as long as it satisfies the criteria that we have discussed above.
In this article, we’ve discussed the brand assets, effective examples of their integration, and how to create and use them. Brand assets are unique visuals or audio that create an unmistakable association with your brand in the consumers’ eyes. They’re the foundation of creating strong brand guidelines that lead to higher conversion rates and profit.
We’ve also discussed how you can use Digital Asset Management platforms, such as Pics.io, to enhance your work with brand assets.
While it is not a necessity, DAMs make life easier by:
- Improving the efficiency of collaborative work on assets,
- Enhances the speed at which you can search for them
- By reducing the risks of using incorrect or an outdated version of an asset
These and more functions effectively cut down on the bureaucratic work related to maintenance of an ever-growing media library, therefore allowing you to focus on creativity, and a larger picture.
Pics.io DAM has a free 7-day trial during which you can try all of its features and see for yourself whether the admission is worth the price (Hint: it totally is!). You can also book a demo with us where we would be more than happy to answer any questions about the meaning of brand assets or any others that you might have. See you there! ;)
Why do I need to build a brand?
When there are so many options on the market, consumers can be lost. A strong and successful brand creates a familiarity factor that can skew their decision towards your product or service.
Furthermore, a powerful brand builds credibility and signalizes your serious commitment to quality. Sure, even without a proper brand image, your product/service can be high quality. Customers, however, base a lot of their assumptions about business on appearance, hence while companies such as Apple invest so much in the maintenance of their brand image.
Thus, a leading brand presence is the most important market differentiator.
What is a Brand Management System
The brand management system is a software solution that reduces the risks and time that you have to spend on creating, iterating, and sharing your brand assets inside your company and with third parties. A subset of Digital Asset Management, a brand management system ensures that you never misplace or misuse your digital brand assets.
Brand Management System also helps you search for assets faster, using intuitive tagging systems. By using keywords, visual markers, or other metadata, you can find assets faster than ever before.
What is the importance of brand assets?
Brand assets create a foundation for the development of a strong brand identity. Without having this “core” your brand identity will not be distinct and recognizable. At the same time, brand identity creates a familiarity that increases the odds of consumers choosing your product/service over the competition.