Choosing Brand Elements

Brand elements are trademarkable devices that identify and differentiate the brand.

Nike has the distinctive “swoosh” logo, the empowering “Just Do It” slogan, and the “Nike” name from the Greek winged goddess of victory. 

The test of brand building is what consumers would think or feel about the product if the brand element were all they knew. Based on its name alone, for instance, a consumer might expect Panasonic Toughbook laptops to be durable and reliable.

As shown in Table 8.2, there are six criteria for choosing brand elements. The first three—memorable, meaningful, and likable—are brand building. The latter three—transferable, adaptable, and protectable—are defensive and help leverage and preserve brand equity against challenges.

Brand elements can play a number of brand-building roles. If consumers don’t examine much information in making product decisions, brand elements should be easy to recall and inherently descriptive and persuasive.

The likability of brand elements can increase awareness and associations. Often, the less concrete brand benefits are, the more important that brand elements capture intangible characteristics. Many insurance firms use symbols of strength for their brands (the Rock of Gibraltar for Prudential). Like brand names, slogans are an extremely efficient means to build brand equity. They can help consumers grasp what the brand is and what makes it special, as in “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There.”