The power of a distinctive brand

Distinctive brand assets drive brand growth. 

This not a well-kept secret. 

In a recent survey conducted by The BrandGym, 100% of top CMOs agreed that distinctive brand assets drive brand growth.

In addition to this, a study commissioned by Frontify revealed that in periods times of unprecedented uncertainty, 47% of CMOs prioritise brand distinctiveness as the most vital tool for building brand resilience.


So, what are distinctive brand assets, and are you really investing in them like you should be?

Distinctive brand assets are the unique qualities that sets a brand apart from competitors. This can include, but is not limited to assets such as logos, taglines, and colours.


These strategic elements carry a signature style, acting as powerful mental triggers for audiences to connect with a brand.


The more of these assets a brand has, and the better their quality, the higher the chances a brand will catch eyes, gain recognition, and be chosen. 


Fundamentally, distinctive brand assets are shortcuts to brand recall.  



Here are some examples of distinctive brand assets and brands that use them well:


Memorable logo:

A logo that’s not just a symbol but a visual representation of a brand’s identity - think Nike’s swoosh or Apple’s iconic, well, apple.


Catchy slogan or tagline:
A memorable tagline that succinctly captures a brand’s essence, like McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” or Disney’s “The Happiest Place on Earth.”


Distinctive colour palette:
A set of colours that becomes synonymous with a brand. Think Coca-Cola’s bold red or Cadbury’s indulgent purple.


Unique typography:
A custom font or use a specific typeface consistently in branding materials to establish a unique visual identity. Again, Coca-Cola and its script font, the playfulness of Lego’s logo font, or the Nike font: Futura Condensed Extra Black.


Iconic mascot:
A character or mascot that becomes inseparable from your brand, such as Mr. P of Pringles, The Colonel of KFC or Frosties’ cereal icon Tony the Tiger.


Recognisable jingle or sound:
A catchy audio element, like Netflix’s sonic logo ‘Ta-Dum’ or the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”, to create instant brand recall. 


Signature packaging design:
Packaging that stands out on the shelves, such as the distinctive shape of Coca-Cola bottles or the cultural icon JD Sports drawstring bag.


Branded patterns or textures:
Unique patterns or textures, as seen in the distinctive Burberry plaid or Louis Vuitton’s monogram.


Celebrity or influencer partnerships:
Partnerships with influential figures that are aligned with brand values, creating an association that resonates with a target audience. There’s been none more successful than Nike and Michael Jordan, this partnership changed the game forever. More recently - think Snoop Dogg and Just Eat. 


Signature product features:
Unique features or functionalities in products can become synonymous with the brand, like Apple’s sleek product design, the iconic black and white of Guinness, Dyson’s cyclone technology or the Adidas three stripes. 


Immersive brand experiences:
Experiential elements that go beyond traditional branding, creating memorable experiences for customers, as seen in the Apple Store’s Genius Bar customer service or Disney’s theme park attractions.


Brand ethos, purpose, and values:
Don’t just stand out, stand for something. By carrying a clear ethos or story through everything a brand does can create a powerful distinctive asset and meaningful brand recall. Think brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Tony’s Chocolonely.


Consistent tone of voice and brand personality:
A distinctive voice across all communication, whether it’s witty, serious, or friendly, creates a consistent and recognisable brand personality. Brands such as Innocent, Ben & Jerry’s and Oatly are all great, distinctive examples.


You don’t have to utilise all of these features but, be honest, are you really utilising any of them?


The beauty with distinctive assets is they don’t have to be around for years, and you can introduce new assets or adapt existing ones over time. 


The distinctive Oatly assets we recognise today began to form after repositioning in 2012. Oatly was founded in 1994. So there’s always opportunity to develop assets and create new platforms to drive growth. If your brand is undifferentiated today, that does not mean you can’t be a global player in the future (providing there’s a demand for the product). 


The value of distinctive assets has never been higher.

Global marketing spend is set to grow by 30% to $4.7 trillion by 2025, according to new forecasts from Forrester.


That means, to cut through the noise, unless you have the power to outspend your competition (which is a terrible strategy), your brand needs more distinctive assets to be more memorable, impactful, recognisable and chosen ahead of competitors. 


With the growing presence of AI used as a marketing tool, distinctiveness has taken a hit as businesses take shortcuts and rely too heavily on automation. You can’t be lazy with this, you’ve got to put the work in to define your distinctiveness. Use the tools, but find a balance. 

A JKR and Ipsos report found that 85% of that $4.7 trillion will be spent on assets that aren’t truly distinctive. 

This underscores the critical role that distinctiveness plays in long-term brand building and audience recall.


All marketing is an opportunity to grow your brand equity. 


Utilising distinctive brand assets helps you increase your perceived value in the eyes of your customers. It’s easy to be clouded by short-term goals such as generating quick sales, but utilising distinctive assets can help you achieve both short and long-term results. 


A distinctive logo isn’t enough to guarantee a distinctive brand, it’s all about cohesion.

Consider how all of your assets and brand elements come together to create a distinctive world, even when your logo or name isn’t present.


When creating and evolving a brand, through your distinctive assets, you’re able to drive and change your brand perception.

...and that’s exactly what a brand is.

It’s how people talk about you when you’re not in the room.


Your assets give you control of the narrative. So, let’s take back control!*


Want to be distinctive - and in a good way?

Want to create and grow stand-out assets or better utilise what you’ve got? 


Then, what you saying? Hit us up.


*to be clear, we voted remain.