Building a unique brand identity: measuring the relative ownership potential of brand identity element types

Abstract

A strong brand identity must comprise unique identity elements such as logos, colours or characters that distinguish it from competitors and facilitate recognition and purchase. A critical marketing function is therefore deciding which elements to invest in, to protect and build this identity. Within this paper, a new measure, Competitive Intensity, is proposed as a means to critically evaluate brand identity elements on their uniqueness potential. Results of testing 1281 in-market elements from 13 consumer packaged goods categories in 19 countries show that character, logo and logotypes have the greatest potential for unique brand ownership. Colour, however, is more challenging to develop as a unique brand identifier due to high levels of competitive sharing. Competitive intensity varies for elements of the same type, suggesting that practitioner execution plays a critical role in successful ownership. Being the first empirical comparison of eight element types, this paper provides comprehensive guidance to practitioner decision-making.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Within this paper uniqueness is used in two separate contexts, as a general concept and also to describe a specific metric. Where referring to the metric, Uniqueness has been capitalised and italicised for clarity.

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Appendices

Appendix A: Description of data sets

Consumables: food or drinks
Collection period Category Category screener. Purchased at least once in the past: Sub-category Country Respondents (n)
July 2015 Bottled Beverages 3 months Carbonated Soft Drinks Norway 602
Water
Iced Tea
Norway 406
June 2015
December 2014
December 2015
Breakfast Foods 6 months Cereal
Liquid B/fast
Australia 623
Cereal France 400
Germany 400
Italy 400
Spain 400
UK 400
Cereal/toaster pastries USA 400
February 2015 Coffee 3 months NA France 512
Germany 300
Poland 300
Russia 300
September 2015 Chocolate 3 months NA Australia 402
Germany 404
Russia 420
South Africa 406
UK 404
July 2015 Dairy Products 6 months Chilled Australia 617
Frozen Australia 620
August 2015 Snacks 6 months Cookies USA 407
Salty Snacks Japan 412
Mexico 407
UK 402
Household goods
Collection period Category Category screener.
Purchased at least once in the past:
Sub-category Country Respondents (n)
March 2015 Air Freshener 12 months NA USA 409
February 2015 Dishwashing Detergent Dishwasher in household NA France 607
Netherlands 600
April 2015 Food Storage 12 months NA USA 411
December 2014 Hair-care 6 months NA China 627
India 628
USA 622
Brazil and UK: June 2014
All other countries:
March–August 2015
Household Cleaners 12 months Drain Cleaner USA 412
Bathroom
Cleaner
Argentina 600
Brazil 401
France 400
Germany 401
Russia 400
Thailand 400
UK 600
Furniture Care Argentina 403
Argentina 400
Brazil 412
UK 406
UK 400
USA 404
USA 349
Glass Cleaner USA 400
April 2015
June 2015
Insect Sprays 12 months Insecticide Italy 402
France 408
Argentina 421
Australia 410
Brazil 408
China 406
India 403
USA 420
Personal repellent Argentina 400
Brazil 403
Germany 406
Italy 413
USA 410
March 2015 Laundry Detergent 12 months NA USA 409

Appendix B: Example of within survey element presentation

figurea

Appendix C: Asset type inclusion at category level

  B-fast foods Chocolate Snacks HH cleaner Insect Spray Coffee Dish Detergent Bottled Beverage Laundry Detergent Food Storage Dairy Hair-care
Logotype    
Product Form     
Character       

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Ward, E., Yang, S., Romaniuk, J. et al. Building a unique brand identity: measuring the relative ownership potential of brand identity element types. J Brand Manag 27, 393–407 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-020-00187-6

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Keywords

  • Brand identity
  • Uniqueness
  • Herfindahl–Hirschman Index