Is your brand smashable?

Brands are supposed to be smashable: recognizable, even when it’s teared to pieces. Every piece, be it a logo, design, tone of voice, colors … should be able to speak for itself. This means that every form of on- and offline communication can properly represent the brand. 

The term “smashable” is not a buzzword. Back in 1915, designer Earl R. Dean received a briefing to create a bottle that should always be easily recognizable, even when smashed to bits. His design became iconic, because who doesn’t know the infamous Coca-Cola bottle? The Coca-Cola Company based its entire branding strategy on the principle to maintain your identity, even when shattered. By using this concept throughout all their communication, the brand succeeded in becoming one of the strongest in the world. 

No matter if it’s packaging, sound, visuals or user interface: a brand should always be easily identified in every aspect. A lot of brands believe their logo is the highest – and often even believe it is the only – value when it comes to recognition. In reality it is nothing more than a part of the cross-sensory experience of customers that brands should strive for. You want exposure? Then it’s paramount to invest in 100% brand recognizability at literally every single touchpoint with your customers – and it’s not like you will display your logo every time you’ll interact. 

Let’s put it to a test: time to smash your brand! Remove your logo from every brand carrier such as products, stationary, website, adverts … and look at what’s left. Are you still recognizable for both customers and prospects? Is there a continuity in your carriers? Does your brand still feel familiar to you? If the answer is “no”, we’re afraid we got some bad news. Your brand is not smashable. It’s worth your time to check your visualization, copywriting, fonts, colors and every part of your communication mix. All of those parts make a unity whilst still being able to stand strong on their own. Even the smallest item can enforce your brand. Only if a brand succeeds in doing so, we can speak of an actual “smashable brand”.


Digital smashability

The digital world is the apex of fragmented communication. Facebook posts are seen in between family pictures. You spot a banner while surfing on a website. You quickly read the intro of a newsletter. When online, you never truly experience the brand as a whole. You encounter bits and pieces, which reinstates the importance of smashability. 

This fragmentation can be a threat if your brand does not feel familiar in every aspect. We are bound to filter information in the enormous amounts of information to allow our minds a bit of rest. That’s why we ignore and forget irrelevant things such as unrecognizable brands. It’s therefore extremely important to be relevant and identifiable if you want to be remembered by your (potential) customers.

Throw an eye at your own banners, social content and other online communication. Might have been something your competitor shared? Then you are at risk to be forgotten. Your brand has its own identity, so carry it out in every social media post, newsletter or banner that leaves your (digital) premises. Coca-Cola has the same brand connotation in every country, and so does Lego. Everywhere you go, people associate Lego with a playful way to build. This is exactly what your brand must aim for: recognizabilty throughout all communication and across the entire world, no matter what culture. That is about the tallest you can stand as a brand. 

The Reference doesn’t perceive smashable as something fashionable. As a full-service digital agency, it is seen as a necessity for every branding challenge we take on. We firmly believe it to be our duty to delight our customers when their own customers experience a familiar feeling at every touchpoint and during all interactions with the brand. 

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The Reference has its office in the heart of Manhattan.
“I want to wake up in that city that never sleeps, and find I'm king of the hill, top of the list, head of the heap” – Frank Sinatra