Everyone knows Ronald McDonald, the friendly face of fast food giant McDonald’s. He is just like the plump Michelin Man who everyone associates with tire giant Michelin. Every time you see one of these characters you instantly link them with the brand they represent which is vitally important for the brands of today.

Everyday consumers are exposed to thousands of messages, some of which they notice, and others which they completely block out. However, if you see an advertisement with Ronald McDonald in it you will instantly know it’s for McDonalds. This is because Ronald McDonald is a distinctive brand asset.

Distinctive brand assets are memory hooks for your brand. These memory hooks include logos, fonts, colours, tag lines, characters and jingles which help consumers to recall you in purchase occasion.

Most major brands have built distinctive assets. Below are some examples of distinctive assets to demonstrate how strong they can be. See if you can guess what brand they belong to:




To build a strong brand asset it must be consistently used in all marketing and communications over time. For example the Nike Swoosh has been used in all brand communications over the life of the brand. Now days Nike doesn’t even need to use their brand name because the Swoosh alone is such a strong distinctive asset.

Distinctive assets make it easier for the consumer to notice your brand, if consumers can’t find your brand they will not purchase it. In a world of advertising clutter, distinctive assets increase the effectiveness of marketing and communications because they help to create well branded campaigns. 

A strong distinctive asset needs to be unique to your brand and consumers should be able to recognise it. This is outlined in the Distinctive Asset Grid developed by Assoc. Professor Jenni Romaniuk from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science below.


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