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Never abandon strong assets
The strength of a brand asset is closely correlated with how long it’s been in market. Like financial equity, brand equity compounds over time. The Amazon smile, for example, has remained unchanged since 2000, which is one reason why it outperforms Microsoft’s logo, introduced in 2012.
Elon Musk committed one of history’s greatest acts of “brandalism” by abandoning the Twitter logo, which had 90% recognition and 85% attribution. But Elon has lots of company—most B2B marketers can’t resist the temptation to refresh or rebrand their assets for no good reason.
It takes years of consistent investment to build a strong brand asset. Squandering that hard-earned equity is almost always a mistake.
Be concrete but discrete
If there’s an obvious, concrete link between the asset and the brand name, the asset will work better. For example, Liberty Mutual’s logo is the Statue of Liberty, and “emu” sounds like “LiMu” just like “gecko” sounds like Geico. That said, you don’t want to be so concrete that you blend in with competitors. Google Cloud’s logo is shaped like … a cloud. So is the logo for Salesforce and Cloudflare.
You should be concrete vis-à-vis your name, but discreet vis-à-vis your competition. Try to avoid abstract shapes or patterns—if buyers can’t easily describe the asset, the data suggests it will probably score much lower on recognition and attribution.
Nepo brands work harder
Sub-brands are suboptimal. The famous Microsoft logo has 71% attribution, but the Azure “A” has only 14% attribution, and the Dynamics “D” has only 7% attribution. This is in part because Microsoft is also a B2C brand. And sure enough, across categories, B2B brands that also have B2C businesses tend to score higher than pure play B2B brands. Our colleague, Derek Yueh, likens these brands to the “nepo baby” phenomenon. Just like the children of famous actors are more likely to become famous, the children of famous B2C brands are more likely to become famous, too.
Bottom line: Pure play B2B brands will need an even more disciplined approach to brand asset management to compete with both B2B and B2C competitors.
Brand assets are powerful financial instruments, but building them requires smart, systematic asset management. Sophisticated B2B marketers will recognize an opportunity to invest in a brand moat that fends off the competition and increases returns for years.
Our advice: If you want to become a B2B marketing GOAT, build a brand moat.