The 3 C’s of instant recognition and meaning

by Guest Contributor Martin Guerrieria | April 18, 2018

Author: Martin Guerrieria

Martin Guerrieria
Kantar Millward Brown
Global BrandZ Research Director
https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-guerrieria-0334a443/


In an increasingly competitive and disjointed brand landscape, where the influence of ‘private label’ and ‘direct’ brands continues to expand, how can established brands best achieve the recognition they need?

Firstly, we need to re-frame the question.  The aim is no longer to achieve recognition alone but to create the INSTANT MEANING to go with it, by immediately evoking relevant (hopefully positive) memories from recent marketing and brand experience, in order to influence the consumer decision at hand.

One way for brands to increase their salience (or ‘mental availability’) is to create brand assets that cue the brand and activate these all important memories.  These brand assets include but are not limited to: Slogans, colours, logos, fonts, sounds, physical cues (packaging, shape of product), characters, celebrity associations and other imagery.

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Kantar Millward Brown and BrandZ have developed a unique neuroscience-based methodology for quantifying the strength of assets like these, to understand which are most evocative of a brand and how this compares to competitors. We call the collective strength of these assets a brand’s Brand Imprint.  The best Brand Imprints rely on cueing the brand via ‘System 1’, our inbuilt system for instant and intuitive recognition, which involves fast, habitual decision making, rather than invoking slower more reflective thought via ‘System 2’, where the additional time needed for consideration may ultimately lead to a different decision.

Our extensive study comprised a total of 10,565 consumer interviews across twenty-eight categories, eight markets, covering 228 brands and 1,390 de-branded assets. The analysis showed that brand’s with the strongest individual assets and overall Brand Imprints followed the ‘3 C’s’ to construct them:

1. Clarity – simple, clean, uncomplicated, connected use of colour, design and phrasing.  Strong Brand Imprints often employ a distinctive colour palette to connect, amplify and build a unique and instantly recognisable identity.

2. Consistency – Consistent deployment over time, across channels and products – drawing on heritage where relevant.  Think exposure, exposure, exposure at all touch points and opportunities to embed assets and reinforce recognition.

3. Communication – Reinforcement of relevant brand purpose, principles and messaging.  Think of your assets as potential mini opportunities to invoke reminders of key messages to maximise influence at points of decision making.

Investing the time and budgets needed to establish strong brand assets across all the touch points between a consumer and the brand helps maximise a brand’s impact on decision making. To find out more about Brand Imprint and listen to a recent webinar click here. Meanwhile, which brands do you think have done a good job of developing instant meaning from their brand assets? Please share your thoughts. 

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