Distinctive brand assets... according to Hulk Hogan

Byron Sharp has transformed the way marketers think about brands. His books, ‘How Brands Grow’ Part 1 and 2 (yup he came back for an encore) have become the 10 commandments for marketers. And as semi - professionals who work in marketing we need to be fluent in his work and that of the Ehrenburg Bass Institute, but I’m not going to lie, his work lacks a little pizazz and is great fodder for accelerating sleep time!

That said, he makes some genuinely great points particularly around the need for brands to have a carefully curated selection of distinctive brand assets (DBAs), that trigger the brand for category buyers. But instead of using old mate’s examples I thought it would be more beneficial to demonstrate the importance of DBAs as it relates to a formidable brand of the late 20th century, Hulk Hogan.


Lesson 1: Be loud. Be proud.

Distinctive brand assets are non-brand name elements that trigger your brand; colours, logos, characters, fonts.

Hulk Hogan’s DBAs are his fabulously dirty mo’, his Ronald McDonald colour palette, his shock of white hair and his bandanna (before Pete Fitzsimmons stole the idea).

Lesson 2:  Aim for fame, and be different in the process.

Make sure your DBAs are equal parts famous and unique. The greatest misfortune of any brand is that a fabulous piece of content, website or ad gets misattributed to another brand. It is imperative that when we’re delivering ‘fire’ content or services, that people correctly attribute it to us.

Thus, there are two questions to ask yourselves when you’re deciding what you’re DBAs are:

Fame: How many category buyers (or in this case wrestling fans) link the brand name to the asset?

Unique: Is the share of responses for that asset going to the brand name versus the competitor.

Lesson 3 : Dominate with DBAs or decay

Every brand interaction with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce your DBAs, but it’s also an area for decay. Every time you fail to use a DBA you start to erode the mental availability that the customer has with your brand. 

When Hulk rocks up to the ring without his bandana, brand decay sets in. If he removed the mo’ our ability to recognise him with fluency would be impacted.

Every time we create a website, an app, an AR tool or a Facebook post without DBAs  we are accelerating decay.

DBAs are shorthand for your brand, not in the assets, but what they bring to mind for your brand.

Every brand we represent must have a DBA library, whether it’s for Pharma, automotive or even animal health -  these are our secret weapons that create short cuts in the minds of our customers.

And always ask yourselves, are we being Hulk Hogan right now or are we being Caylen Croft? The latter is obscure, the former was and is famous.