Brand Identity

Measuring Brand Identity and Brand Graphic Assets

Traditional theories of marketing emphasised the ideas of segmenting the market by identifying and quantifying potential market segment. This is followed by selecting target segments that your brand could most effectively target and deciding how to differentiate the brand, either functionally or with astute image positioning, to reach the defined target market.

Over the last number of years some practitioners and researchers have suggested that targeting a brand at carefully selected segments is rarely effective. They point to research results that show that most brands are used by customers across the range of our carefully defined segments.

There are a few exceptions but these are mostly to do with more expensive and less expensive brands that in some categories will be used by higher and lower socio-economic groups respectively, which has mostly to do with affordability rather than anything else.

These ideas are well summarised in the book “How Brands Grow” by Byron Sharp

(available at Amazon).

He argues that Distinctiveness is a much more important concept than Differentiation.

Does that mean that our sophisticated target segments and typologies should be thrown out the window? We are not so sure, but the debate continues.

However this group of researchers have emphasised the importance of measuring, understanding and managing a brand’s Distinctive Graphic Assets. We agree wholeheartedly.

What are Brand Assets and Graphic Assets

Brand assets are elements aside from your brand name that evoke a memory of your product. They include all the other elements of the brand identity that can substitute for the brand name. They help the consumer to notice, recognize and recall the brand, in buying situations and/or when the brand is advertising, as they provide additional stimuli for processing. These elements can include:

• Colours – such as the Coca-Cola red
• Logos / shapes  – such as the MacDonald’s arches
• Taglines  – such as Nike’s “Just do it”
• Symbols / characters / mascots
• Celebrities / spokespeople
• Jingles
• Advertising styles – such as the Mastercard “priceless” campaign.

Brand Asset research enables us to identify and quantify the Distinctive graphic elements of our brand and its main competitors in the market.

This will inform the decision making with regard to which specific elements should be

• Used / Defended
• Developed / Investment potential
• Avoided
• Ignored

How to measure Brand Graphic Assets

The core methodology that we use is based on the Prevalence Uniqueness Grid developed by Gaillard and Romaniuk.

There are two criteria that are important to consider when identifying the distinctive elements. These are Uniqueness and Prevalence. The purpose of building strong Distinctive qualities is to increase the number of stimuli that can act as identification triggers for the brand.

It is therefore important that the distinctive element be uniquely linked to the brand. If the quality also elicits competitor brands from consumers, it fails to act as a brand name substitute.

The second criterion for considering an element to be a distinctive quality is that it is prevalent. This means that the majority of customers link the brand to the element. A distinctive element that is unique, but unknown, cannot act as a substitute for the brand name, as most who are exposed to it will not think of the brand name.

Here is an example of a core output of this research.

Prevalence Uniqueness grid_C


Each graphic element obtains a position in the grid. The circles represent different graphic elements. In a recent research study we identified and tested over 50 graphic elements in the product category of interest. We used our online research community for the project.

Do you need to research your brand’s assets? Click here to contact us

Click here to contact us about our online research community of over 300 000 and growing.

Or call Vincent directly on 084 612 121