When people meet someone new, that person makes an impression based on how much they stand out from the crowd, and how distinctive their defining features are. Being unusually tall, or having a striking hairstyle or bold dress sense will help someone get noticed, and makes them more memorable to the people who see them.
For brands, there’s a similar phenomenon at play. There are signals that brands emit – through their logo, the colors they use, slogans, celebrity associations, packaging and even the font of their communications – that all affect the impression they make on consumers. You don’t need to read the words “Coca-Cola” on a can to know that’s what it is, Shell can use just its logo, without any words and be recognized, and there’s no mistaking a Toblerone for anything else, even if it were to come in blank packaging. All brands have some of these features that, to a greater or lesser extent, trigger associations with their brand in the mind of the consumer.
Kantar Millward Brown has developed a methodology and framework for quantifying the strength of these features, or brand assets, to understand which are most associated with a particular brand and how they compare to competitors. We define a brand asset as “a mental shortcut to cue a brand and activate existing memories related to communications or previous brand experience”.
Our methodology allows us to produce a one number score for each asset based on its ability to cue the relevant brand. We call this score the Brand Imprint Index. When brand assets are distinctive, well designed and very well known, a brand’s Imprint score goes up. This matters because:
· Brands need to be salient and memorable to trigger in consumers’ minds what is unique and superior about them.
· Brands with stronger imprints have superior growth. Global data shows that brands with strong Imprints grow at more than twice the rate of weaker Imprint brands.
A strong brand imprint doubles growth in brand value
When brands are strong on all three measures – their brand assets are famous, distinctive and well designed – their Imprint is a catalyst for brand value growth. These assets count as being strong if they score 105 or above; the average score of all brands on each measure is 100.
The 3 C's – top tips for marketers
Take stock of your assets and utilize them with CLARITY. Simple, connected use of
color, design and phrasing can help make a brand distinct and easily identifiable.
CONSISTENCY over time is how shortcuts to a brand form in consumers’ minds. Use brand assets in a consistent way, across channels and products. Where a brand’s heritage is relevant, draw on this in defining your brand assets.
Brand COMMUNICATION is a powerful way to reinforce the strength and visibility of brand assets that are present in the product itself, or its packaging.