Last year, Sammie Ruijgrok (Studio MES) garnered high praise with her brand color variations on the Lidl logo. Recently, she took the UPS logo as the starting point for a design series that makes it very clear what color can do for consistent brand communication, recognizability and establishing brand associations. Validators took the test, asking Dutch consumers whether they could also recognize the original brands in the various UPS logos based on corporate identity.

ABN Amro was best recognized (52%), followed by PostNL (48%) and DHL (37%). Flink (3%) and VISA (4%) were returned the least often.

But what does that really say?
In any case, it attests to consistent brand communication from ABN Amro and PostNL. What helps both brands do this is the consistent use of Distinctive Brand Assets (DBAs). These are elements such as logo, color, slogan, a sound or sometimes even a famous person that remind consumers of a brand, even without naming the brand name. Think George Clooney for Nespresso, McDonald's yellow arches and Nike's "Just Do It. DBAs cause a brand to build an association network in the consumer's brain. Those associations, in turn, cause you as a brand to be considered in a buying situation. The more often this happens, the greater your (mental) market share.

Higher brand transfer
For PostNL, we previously conducted a study showing that their consistent brand policy led to a higher brand transfer through conscious use of DBAs. Virtually all their communications are accompanied by their house style label orange and their logo. They implement this in everything: from the mail bag and the delivery boy's shirt to the mailbox. Very recognizable in the streetscape. Because of the power of repetition, you see that consumers create more brand associations in their minds, making it easier for them to recognize the brand. Even if the form - as in the UPS example - is different. Not surprisingly, they score 48% recognition purely on color and font.

ABN Amro is also a brand that has carried color and logo for a long time. And as a consumer, you regularly come into contact with the brand. If you are not a customer, you will frequently come across a bank building of the brand. Whether you live in East Groningen or in Zeeland. Speaking of that, it is less surprising that Flink has lower recognition. The flash delivery company currently offers its services only in cities. Residents from an urban area often see Flink delivery drivers riding their distinctive outfits in pink, but if you live in a village in the Achterhoek region, they won't come your way. So people in non-rural environments don't build associations. And it is not surprising that Flink is recognized here by only 3% of Dutch people.

Based on simple brand research, Validators helps brands transition from brand focus to market share growth. Want advice on building a strong(er) brand? Then feel free to contact Jelmer Wit at

This article can also be read at MarketingTribune.