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What are brand assets? 5 examples from brands you know

by Casey Schmidt  |  October 26, 2020

6 min. read
A group of workers designing things.

If someone asked you to take a detailed survey of your brand assets, would you be able to?

After reading this article, you’ll have all the tools you need to understand everything about brand assets: what they are, their value, how they differ from other assets and more.

To get the most out of your brand assets, you need to understand what they are and why they matter. Fortunately, it’s really easy. Here’s a simple guide.

What are brand assets?

Brand assets are elements, such as a color scheme, jingle or font, that help identify a specific brand. These elements become brand assets only when customers associate them with a brand. If an element leads the audience to a different but similar brand, that element is not an asset.

It’s simple to remember when one of these brand elements are assets or not. Think of it like this: in order for it to be an asset, it has to connect an audience to your brand – and this has to happen fully, not partly. A jingle that makes customers think of socks isn’t an asset unless it makes customers think of the socks your brand makes and sells.

Well-known examples of brand assets

Seeing some well-known examples of brand assets helps clarify the concept. Before I dive into those, first let’s rundown some common elements to help further define brand assets:

  • Color schemes
  • Packaging
  • Logos
  • Jingles
  • Company name
  • Slogan
  • Songs/sounds

Remember, these are just elements that can become an asset – having a jingle or a logo doesn’t mean you have a brand asset. Now let’s look at some of the most popular brand assets out there.

The Microsoft color scheme

The Microsoft color scheme.

What it is: The Microsoft color scheme is definitely one-of-a-kind, bringing four colors together – orange, green, yellow and blue.

The actual color names are unique to the logo. They are: Orioles Orange, Apple Green, Selective Yellow and Vivid Cerulean. Even logos that share the same four base colors are still ultimately different from Microsoft’s color scheme.

Why it’s an asset: The colors are a specific shade, but that’s not all. They’re also in a certain order within the Microsoft logo, making them unique to Microsoft.

They’re an asset because seeing those four colors together makes people think of Microsoft and their products, specifically Windows.

The Amazon packaging

Amazon boxes on a porch.

What it is: It’s always apparent when a box is from Amazon and not another brand. There is a smile on the side of the box, and the tape used to seal it has details about Amazon specials.

Why it’s an asset: Someone walking down the street who sees a delivered Amazon package on a doorstep can immediately tell it’s from Amazon.

Apple’s half-bitten apple logo

The Apple logo.

What it is: The apple in Apple’s logo has a small bite taken out of the upper right corner. This iconic image has come in different colors over the years. It’s currently usually gray. However, if you’ve been using Apple products for a while, the previous version with rainbow colors might spring to your mind first.

Why it’s an asset: Any drawn picture of an apple with a bite out of the upper right is going to make people think of the brand Apple. Almost no one would mistake a Mac laptop to be a PC, simply because of the logo.

McDonald’s ‘i’m lovin’ it’ slogan and jingle

The McDonald's slogan and logo.

What it is: ‘I’m lovin’ it’ is a catchphrase that turned into a recognizable jingle. The slogan initially was meant to show an attitude about the food. When it was set to a jingle for TV and radio advertising, the memorable sound stuck in everyone’s brains . After a while, the jingle no longer needed any words to be known as McDonald’s.

Why it’s an asset: McDonald’s is able to run advertisements that play their jingle without words and get the audience to think of their brand. The jingle alone puts the words “I’m lovin’ it” into a customer’s head.

Disney’s Mickey Mouse mascot

Mickey Mouse at a fair.

What it is: Mickey is a cartoon character mouse that is seen in TV shows, films and in-person as a costumed actor in the Disney-themed amusement parks. Usually, just the mere image of mouse ears are enough to make people think of Mickey, and thus, Disney.

Why it’s an asset: Mickey Mouse is known globally, and whenever someone recognizes Mickey, they think of Disney.

The above examples give us insight into what types of brand elements turn into assets, but it’s not always so obvious. Let’s go over some ways to determine whether or not a company element is a brand asset.

How can I tell if a company element is a brand asset?

It’s obvious that brand assets are important, so how can we figure out whether our element is an asset or not? The answer doesn’t always stare us in the face.

Fortunately, with a few simple steps we can determine whether we have an asset on our hands.

Step 1 – The most common thing that brands forget to do when undertaking this process is mapping out their steps. Therefore, you’re already ahead of the competition.

A picture showing step 1 of a process.

Step 2 – Make sure to have a concrete evaluation plan for how you want to define brand elements.

A picture of step 2 in a process.

Step 3 – With a plan in place, it’s time to evaluate your different elements. Take detailed inventory of the many elements your brand uses, as this will help determine their worth.

A picture of step 3 in a process.

Step 4 – Next, you’ll need to work through some thorough analysis and market studies. This will help determine which elements truly make audiences think of your brand.

A picture showing step 4 of a process.

These simple steps will make it clear which of your elements are assets and which are not.

Determining the value of brand assets

No one can truly give you an actual, exact value of brand assets, but it’s clear that there is value in them. Furthermore, some assets bring about more value than others.

One way to consider this is the impact brand assets have on things like messaging. If customers recognize a brand based on a certain element, the overall messaging will be stronger.

The word 'value' underneath moving gears.

This boosts conversions, as it builds a bridge between the marketing campaign and the sale. Due to other factors involved, it’s impossible to pin down the exact amount brand assets contributed but the fact remains the value is at least somewhat measurable.

Consider the effect your brand assets have on the effectiveness of advertisements. An asset within an ad gives customers a deeper understanding of brands involved. In turn, this promotes their positive attributes. Customers will remember that when they encounter the brand again making each successive ad more effective.

What’s the difference between brand assets and digital assets?

Last of all, you’ll probably hear the term ‘digital assets’ quite a bit, but make sure you don’t confuse it with brand assets. Here’s a quick breakdown of how they differ.

Digital assets are computerized files that include the right to use them. Things like digital images that you have created and own the rights to are digital assets.

A digital lightbulb representation.

Therefore, there will be times when your brand assets are digital assets (and vice versa). For example, if a logo is digitized it’s both a brand asset and a digital asset.

Wrapping things up

It’s impossible for a brand element to turn into an asset without some effort on your part. Similarly, you won’t be able to use your assets correctly if you can’t identify which elements work best.

So take a comprehensive approach to your brand assets to improve your chances of success.

If you want to learn more about branding, check out our comprehensive branding guide.