Note: Byron Sharp and growing a brand


It’s a battle for attention.

Byron Sharp simplifies the real challenges of growing a brand down to one thing - availability. Mental availability and physical availability.

Or in other words, the brand needs to be mentally available when a buyer is shopping. It needs to be associated and recalled (and reinforced for extra points.)

Don’t complicate it by generating additional layers of media and meaning. Sharp says exercises in segmentation, brand differentiation and personality are mostly wasted effort. Far more effective and far richer to focus on simple, distinctive and consistent brand assets that are easy to remember and when seen, trigger instinctual responses. (Yes, that’s where the stellar ideas and creative comes in).

Most buyers don’t perceive industries, categories, sectors and brands as having a difference. A health fund is a health fund is a health fund. Gulfstream or Bombardier? With comparable models matching features and benefits, it’s much of a muchness.

You can’t differentiate, so why bother. Be distinct. 

Create consistent and constantly used, easy-to-remember brand assets which over time create distinctive memory structures that bring the brand front-of-mind when shopping/thinking/ambling in that category. This is mental availability. This is what we’re aiming to boost. This is the single most important key metric. Without this, everything else is a waste of time and money and media. (Are there three larger sins on this earth?)

Distinctive brand assets are ones that a memorable and attractive, and provide sensory and semantic cues. Example include logo, tagline, jingle, color and packaging. Keep it simple, one phrase, one color, one shape.

Coke’s fluted bottle.

Twitter’s bird icon.

Nike’s just do it.

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