The $4trn question: why it pays to invest in your brand assets

By Ellie Jackson, Chief Client Strategy Officer

$4.7 trillion. That’s what Forrester forecasts will be invested globally on marketing in 2025. Of course, the age-old question is how much of that will deliver the brand-building return it should. 

One way of assessing that is to consider brand distinctiveness: the extent to which the audience recognizes your brand assets or ‘codes’ (logo, colors, slogans, etc.). After all, marketing material or an advertisement that is not associated with your brand in the mind of your target audience might as well be one for your competitor. 

A recent report by Jones Knowles Ritchie and Ipsos tested five key brand assets (logos, slogans, mascots, color and product) with more than 26,000 respondents globally. Only 15% of assets tested were found to be truly distinctive. In other words, 85% of that $4.7 trillion (just shy of $4 trillion) is being invested in sub-optimal brand assets.  

How does this translate to the bottom line?

It has been said that presenting brand consistency across all platforms can increase revenues by up to 23%. Fairly logically, consistent brands are 3.5 times more likely to have excellent brand visibility than those with inconsistent branding. And perhaps most important of all, 82% of investors say name recognition plays a crucial role in guiding them in their investment decisions

What does this mean for my brand?

If you’re concerned about the distinctiveness of your own brand assets, and by extension, the impact of your marketing and advertising, read on. 

Most brands have a number of brand assets. Several brands have more than they ought – especially if they have not reviewed brand assets in several years. New ideas creep in all the time – some stay and become part of the brand language. Having too many brand assets is a natural enemy of brand asset distinctiveness – your brand will only be afforded a fraction of space in the mind of your target audience and simplicity is key here. 

While you might not have Ipsos’s resources at your fingertips, you can still make certain assessments in a structured way. 

  1. Create a list of all of your brand assets. Cast the net wide at this stage: logo, colors, graphical elements, style, slogans and tag lines etc. You might want to include historical elements too – they may be worth resurrecting. 
  1. Rate each asset for familiarity (how many people associate your brand with this code) and uniqueness (how many people in the sample group ONLY associate your brand with this code). Ideally, you would do this with independent research – and there are relatively cost-effective options out there for something this simple. If that’s not a possibility then you will need to resort to an anecdotal assessment – gather views internally and with trusted industry participants. While this is no match for rigorous third-party assessment, it serves a purpose. 
  1. Plot each asset on a grid. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute model pictured below is the standard, and it works well. 
  • Low fame and low uniqueness – ditch it, or at the very least, use in conjunction with other brand assets 
  • High fame but low uniqueness – proceed with caution and be careful of spending on something that will never be sufficiently distinctive to pay back that investment 
  • High uniqueness but low fame – worth consistent investment but monitor closely to ensure fame increases 
  • High fame and high uniqueness – this is obviously your star set – focus your attention here (before someone moves in on your turf). 

As the Ipsos x JKR study says: put your money where your mark is. 

If this has sparked any questions about your own brand strategy, get in touch

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