American Marketing Association defines brand as a name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition. According to Professor Kevin Lane Keller, Brand Elements are trademark-able devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand. The most common brand elements are brand names, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogan, jingle, imagery, packages, colour, imagery, signage etc.
It is important for marketers to realize the potential of using all the brand elements while endeavouring to build a brand. Most marketers tend to concentrate their resources only on brand names and logos and thus losing an opportunity to create and develop other brand elements which can act as a powerful differentiator. Successful brands take advantage of all their brand elements there by creating various points of impact in the mind of the consumer. Take the case of Absolut Vodka. This is a brand which used its simple trademarked Vodka bottle as a powerful brand element.
Through consistent campaigns, the Absolut Vodka bottle was developed as a powerful differentiator for the brand. The trademarked bottle has become the most remembered and visible brand element for Absolut creating a distinct identity for the brand. The brand created lot of awareness, loyalty and consumer interest through the clever use of the vodka bottle in all of their campaigns. Marketers should be able to identify unique brand elements that can break the clutter and create an impression.
While most of the brands chose to invest in common obvious brand elements like the name, logo etc, it would be wise to look for something different. A classic example of that can be seen in the branding of Vanish – which is the stain removing detergent brand of Reckitt & Benckiser. The brand used colour Pink as the main brand element. Vanish uses the tagline “Trust Pink, Forget Stains “to promote the brand element. Vanish product is not pink in colour but the brand comes in a pink pack. The use of the “Pink” colour as the brand element acted as a powerful differentiator for Vanish.
The association with Pink also increased the brand awareness and brand recognition in a highly cluttered detergent market Another important criterion for effective use of brand element is that it should be easy to memorize. The brand elements should be easy to remember and recall. The consumer should be able to remember the brand element and the element should aid in the recall of the brand during the time of purchase. Intel’s famous tagline “Intel Inside” is one such brand element which is easy to memorize and recall.
The brand used this tagline and its logo very effectively in their promotions. ‘Intel Inside ‘tagline together the logo became a powerful brand element that created lot of brand recall and identity. Intel is also one brand that used its jingle (melody) as a powerful element. The five note melody has now become an indispensable part of the Intel branding. Intel carefully developed these brand elements through a 3 second animated jingle ( known as a signature Id, audio visual logo) which consisted displaying the logo and the five- note melody after every Intel ads ( Source – Intel Website).
Over a period of time, these brand elements became so powerful that consumers will recall the brand once this melody is played. The brand elements thus created should be protected by the brand owners. Trademarked brand elements become powerful differentiators over time. Since these brand elements are protected, there need not be any fear about competitors copying those elements. Marketers should try to identify all possible opportunities to create brand elements. And while communicating the brand’s message, all these brand elements should be present in the communication.
For example, Idea Cellular uses a wide range of brand elements in its communication. The brand uses its signature Yellow Colour, Taglines and slogans, brand ambassador and its signature melody in all their multimedia campaigns. All these brand elements have become popular over these years that consumers are now recognizing Idea Cellular when they see or hear any of these brand elements. Having a basket of strong brand elements also helps in tapping in the various promotional mixes more effectively. For example a popular character or a mascot can open up opportunities of promotion through merchandising.
A popular jingle or a melody can help to promote the brand through radio, TV or even mobiles. So it is the job of the marketer to constantly look for creating new brand elements and thus giving new promotional opportunities for the brand. Brand elements have lot of strategic importance in branding. Marketers should take responsibility in identifying, creating and developing unique brand elements. Once created, these elements provide the brand with a powerful identity at a time when features and attributes are increasingly becoming commoditized.