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A giant letter "T" with various icons and widgets hovering around it, like a pencil, a pie chart, and a graph. These icons that are involved in the editing of the letter "T" are part of the design process a designer might undergo in a brand management exercise to ensure that the size, color, and style of the letter "T" match the brand's guidelines.

What is Brand Asset Management and How to Leverage It?

TJ Kiely

Mar 29, 2024

Your brand is the hub of many moving parts, from visual elements like colors and fonts to nuances like smells, sounds, and values. You put a lot of work into developing these elements that will build and support your brand name. Your next priority is to proactively manage these brand assets so that your team can identify and use them.

The value of good brand asset management cannot be overemphasized. It’s the best way to ensure your brand values are always accurately represented, no matter who is working on your projects. Implementing rules and processes around where assets are stored and how brand elements are used are an essential part of brand management.

Want our branding solution? Here’s how you can improve brand asset management throughout your organization.

Table of Contents:

What Are Brand Assets?

A wordlcloud that includes words associated with Branding, such as advertising, label, trademark, name, etc.

There are lots of elements you associate with your brand. But the real definition of branding assets is anything that is unique to your company AND is well-known and associated with your company.

In other words, your brand assets can’t be mistaken for something another company produces.

For example, when you think of a talking duck on TV, Aflac comes to mind. Or when you see a shopper carrying a distinctive robin’s egg blue bag, you know it probably came from Tiffany & Co.

Brand assets include:

  • Logos (usually in multiple variations)
  • Artwork
  • Graphics
  • Marketing material like business cards, letterhead, and collateral
  • Templates for webinars, sales videos, press releases, and other content
  • Brand style guide
  • Color palettes (including the specific shade or Pantone for each color)
  • Slogans and taglines
  • Typeface
  • Audio
  • Smells
  • Flavors
  • Language/tone of voice
  • Celebrity endorsers and/or influencers

Every company has brand assets that dictate how other people perceive and interact with the brand. They reinforce the image and value of your brand, create consistency, and connect with your customers’ expectations.

Brand elements can be visual assets. These might include your main branding colors and accent colors, logos, typography, and product packaging, for example.

Many companies use color psychology when developing their brand colors and personality. For example, purple represents wisdom, sophistication, and royalty, which is why it's a common choice for luxury brands. Knowing the meaning behind each color lends to a stronger branding strategy because the visuals support the sentiments.

Psychology of color infographic.

There are also marketing assets, such as audio branding, company mascots, or distinct scents or flavors.

An audio branding strategy might include an audio logo, jingles, theme songs, or even a podcast.

Or, a buyer might associate a certain flavor or scent with your brand. If you've ever walked into an Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, you know that you'll be greeted not only by a smiling sales associate but also by the smell of each company's signature scent, which they spritz on the clothing and throughout the store to provide a complete sensory experience.

A photograph of an Abercrombie & Fitch storefront in a mall.

In the digital age, we’re seeing a new type of brand asset: viral content. Content that has gone viral can help with brand recall and boost engagement, traffic, and your company’s reputation.

Branding elements can become brand assets over time simply by using them consistently in your brand identity.

How to Identify Your Brand Assets

Branding assets can take many forms and functions.

Take Chick-Fil-A, for example. The fast-food chain has an impressive variety of brand assets, including a stand-alone chicken head logo, a logo in cursive script, and its adorable family of cows with the “Eat Mor Chikin’” tagline.

Each of these assets is unique but represents the same brand. The company’s tagline is a great example of how one brand asset can evolve into many over time. Chick-Fil-A’s cow mascots have been misspelling words for decades since their debut in 1995 and are now associated with the chain just as much as its delicious chicken.

An outdoor billboard for Chick-Fil-A of a giant cow holding a sign that reads, "Git yer mits on chickin".

But even if you don’t have a talking duck mascot or a one-of-a-kind shopping bag to represent your brand, chances are you already have many distinctive brand assets to use.

Prioritizing brand asset management starts with identifying all of your brand assets. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science breaks it down into a simple three-step process.

1. Audit All Existing Brand Elements

Make a list of all your files, documents, logo design variations (e.g. full-color, black and white, grayscale, etc.), artwork, content, color scheme, audio brand, and other brand elements that could be valuable assets.

Be as specific as possible: for example, is your yellow logo more like the color of a canary or a lemon? 

You can also include historical items that you have used in the past to use to identify your brand, as well as any planned items for the future. Also, check your social media marketing analytics to see if any of your content has gone viral and could prove useful for future branding. 

2. Collect Data and Feedback

Conduct market research with your audience to see which items on your list help them identify your brand. Is it music? Your way with words? Your bright orange lettering? The emotion you include in your content marketing?

What makes these items stand out? How are they different from competitors? What is the customer's brand perception of that item? How quickly do consumers make the association between a brand asset and your brand?

3. Examine Your Findings

Strong branding isn’t just about how your company perceives itself, but rather how quickly a customer can identify you based on your branding elements. Your most prominent, well-known elements are most likely to be considered brand assets.

Examine your findings to see common denominators in how people recognize your brand. Their answers will point to the items that make you unique. Those are the items that should be considered brand assets.

What is Brand Asset Management?

An image of a piece of sketch paper with lots of doodles and icons on it and the words "Brand asset management" in the center.

You can’t manage what you can’t identify. Once you recognize the elements that make your brand unique and well-known, you can implement a brand asset management strategy.

What is asset management, exactly? In terms of brand management, it’s the systemized approach of organizing, using, and maintaining all of your brand assets.

A marketing asset management strategy may include:

  • What to include in your resource library (e.g. white papers, blog posts, case studies, audio branding, etc.)
  • A palette style guide that includes primary colors, secondary colors, typefaces, color combinations, tint, tone, and other colors that have been approved
  • Sound branding files and use cases
  • The technology you use to organize and access assets
  • How files are named
  • How to distribute assets
  • Where files and assets are stored
  • Who has access to the assets
  • How old assets are archived
  • The formats in which assets are saved
  • How assets are used in campaigns, in the media, and other marketing
  • How often brand assets are inventoried, updated, and archived
  • Details about your target market
  • Communication guidelines for using brand assets

Successful long-term brand asset management strategies typically include having someone in-house dedicated to the role. This person serves as the gatekeeper to brand assets and is the point of contact for marketers, artists, and other stakeholders who may need to connect with specific assets for projects. This should be someone who is closely familiar with your brand strategy and digital marketing goals.

Why Is Brand Asset Management Important?

Your brand is your company’s identity, and your assets help to shape and support its image. Having access to these assets ensures consistency and clarity throughout all of your marketing projects.

The rise of digital assets has also necessitated proactive management. Digital asset management is a subcategory of brand asset management and focuses solely on digital media and content.

The reason for this is because digital files can be so easily copied, shared, altered, and misused. For example, a lesser-known company might create a lookalike logo so people will associate them with your company.

To prevent these instances of brand abuse, a digital asset manager might invest in media monitoring services. Media monitoring keeps a tab on digital channels to see whether other brands are copying or stealing your content or otherwise doing damage to your brand’s reputation. It also helps you find any branded content produced by your company to ensure your brand is authentically represented.

Proper brand asset management ensures that ALL of your brand assets – digital and physical – are identified and used in the right way.

How to Leverage Your Brand Assets for Better Results

Now that you’ve identified your brand assets, it’s time to use them to grow your brand! Here’s how you can leverage your brand assets to drive better results across every campaign:

Invest in Brand Asset Management Software

Part of every successful brand asset management strategy includes some form of third-party organization. This is typically a purpose-built brand asset management system or software that stores all files and documents in a centralized database.

Asset management software is designed for marketers and related teams. It’s a place to store all of your brand elements, grant access privileges, make files searchable, and share guidelines on how to use branded content.

Tip: Take a look at the best brand management software, platforms, and tools on the market.

Use Your Brand Assets Consistently

Consistency is key to building familiarity. How would you feel if Coca-Cola suddenly started using blue cans or McDonald’s suddenly ditched its iconic shoestring fries in favor of crinkle cut? Would those brands feel different to you?

Best-in-class brands have mastered the art of consistency. They remain true to their customers by setting certain expectations and upholding them.

This also means using the same branding elements across all your channels, digital and physical. For example, the logo on your product packaging should be the same logo on your website and social media profiles.

Remember, branding is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time for people to start associating your brand elements with your company.

Don’t give up! Use your brand assets in every marketing campaign, commercial, PR event, social media post, and other touchpoints to get the point across.

Watch Your Competitors Closely

There’s an old saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Unfortunately, all that flattery can cause brand damage if it’s your competitors copying your brand assets.

This is a very common occurrence in advertising and marketing that companies should monitor closely. The stakes are higher if you have brand assets that aren’t protected by trademark or copyright. 

Take the extra step to protect all your hard work. This way, if a competitor does decide to flatter you, you can take legal action and preserve your brand image.

Test New Brand Assets

As your company grows, so will your brand asset library. But before you introduce new brand assets to the public, each asset should undergo some testing to ensure it aligns with the brand you’ve already established.

Decide how a new asset will fit in with your branding and marketing. Is it recognizable enough? Is it unique enough?

Also, look for potential similarities with competitors. Make sure you won’t infringe on someone else’s brand, which can sabotage your own efforts and potentially subject you to legal challenges.

Use your new brand asset in conjunction with your name or other recognizable brand elements until you’re certain people can associate it with your company.

Brand assets can boost the ROI of your marketing when used correctly. To get help developing your brand asset management strategy, give our team a call today.

Tip: Learn more about The Total Economic Impact of Meltwater for Brand Management, and try our interactive ROI calculator to learn more about the key benefits of investing in Meltwater for Brand Management.