Branding is an exciting marketing exercise that combines creativity and analysis. If you are getting started on learning about branding or simply looking to grow your knowledge of branding, you have come to the right place. There are extensive industry terms that are used to describe various aspects of branding. To help you understand the jargon and terminologies, here is the ultimate list of branding jargon.
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A brand is a unique symbol, name, logo or even sentence that companies use to represent their products or services and distinguish from their competition.
Brand advocacy is when a loyal customer of the company supports and promotes its products or services to others. These loyal customers are called brand advocates.
Brand ambassadors are people (celebrities, influencers, leaders in niche communities) who are paid to endorse products and services of a company in a positive light. This is often done to increase reach of a brand.
Brand archetypes are universally familiar characters, behaviours or personality traits that create human-like personas for a company to make them emotionally relatable to customers.
Brand architecture (or brand hierarchy) is the strategic organisation of all the brands and products under a parent company. It is a family tree of all the brands, sub-brands and names of products.
Brand assets are elements (mostly visual) that make and help a customer identify a brand. The general brand assets are logo, name, colour scheme, tagline, jingle and packaging.
Brand attributes are core values and characteristics of a company that characterise the personality of the company (and brand). Brand attributes are established through images and colours used in the company’s communication to the customers.
Brand audit is the exercise of finding a brand’s strengths and weaknesses, with the intention to identify opportunities and weaknesses of the brand in the market.
Brand awareness is the degree to which a customer is able to recognise and recall a company’s product. Related: brand recall and brand recognition.
A brand champion is an internal manager or leader who is responsible for creating and developing communications required to build a brand. He or she also seeks support both from within the company and outside to increase brand equity.
Brand collateral is a collection of visual media used to promote the brand in marketing communications.
Brand discovery is the process for the company to answer the question: “who are we as a brand?”. This includes getting to know the customers, competition and market to define the brand’s values, characteristics and personality.
Brand endorsement is when a brand asks a celebrity to be a spokesperson for a company, brand or product on a case-by-case basis. These celebrities are often chosen because their persona matches the brand, they’re well-recognised and the target audience trusts this person.
Brand equity is the value of a brand’s financial and non-financial assets when compared to a other brands. Companies increase their brand equity by positively influencing customer’s perception of a product by making it memorable, high quality, low cost, easily recognisable etc.
Brand essence is a single, intangible attribute of the company that differentiates it from its competitors in the eye of the customers. For Disney, magical fantasy is the brand essence.
Brand excellence refers to the actions taken by the company to support their values and integrity.
Brand expansion (also know as: brand stretching or brand extension) is when a company uses one of its established names from previous products or services on a new product or service to increase customer’s trust in the new offering. For example, Virgin expanding to Virgin mobile.
Brand experience is a holistic set of activities carried out by a company to influence the customer’s feelings about the brand.
See: Brand expansion
A brand gap is the difference between customers’ view (or opinion) of your brand and the view you would like them to have. In other words, the disconnect between what customers know you for in comparison to what you want to be known for.
Brand guidelines (also know as style guides) are an instruction manual on how to use the visual elements of your brand in different communication for consistency. A brand guideline usually includes visual elements such as name, logo, colours, and font and how to use them (or not use them) together . Some guides include details on brand voice, messaging, tone and other branding elements.
Brand harmonisation is the effort to keep a range of products consistent in naming, visual identity, market positioning and more across geographies or product/service markets.
See: Brand architecture
Brand identity is the visual elements of a brand – name, logo, colour and design style etc. Brand identity is used to distinguish the company from its competitors and evoke specific feelings.
Brand image is the perception customers have about a brand and its offerings. Generally, these are aligned with business or brand values.
Brand loyalty is the tendency of customers to buy services and products repeatedly from the same brand, rather than its competitors.
Brand management is the overall coordination of all brand activities and the brand strategy.
A brand map is the visual plotting of a brand on XY axes, where each axis represents an attribute that drives brand selection among customers. The attributes compared commonly are cost vs quality, taste vs nutritional value, usability vs functionality.
A brand message is the value proposition of a company and the language used to convey it. These motivate customers to relate with the brand and ultimately buy its products or services.
A brand persona is a set of values, characteristics and attitudes the company shows regularly to better connect with its target customers.
See: brand personality
Brand positioning is the conceptual space a brand wants to own. A brand positions itself as “the cheapest”, “the market leader”, “most premium”, “most accessible” and much more. A brand position differentiates a business from its competitors.
Brand power is the ability of a company to attract a larger share of its current market and increase the economic value of its products more than its content worth.
See: brand message
Brand recall is the ability of a customer to recollect a certain brand or its product when prompted with a product category or problem. For example, when you’re on a road trip and you need to stop for quick food, McDonald’s would be one of the first places to come to mind for many people. If McDonald’s is the first place to come to mind, they have strong brand recall.
Brand recognition is how familiar a customer is with the identity of a brand when presented with their logo, product, tagline or service.
Brand relevance is a metric, usually plotted on a matrix, to understand a customer’s preference of a brand over its competitors. This is a new matrix used to measure a brand’s success with four principles – customer’s obsession, ruthlessly pragmatic, distinctly inspired and pervasively innovative.
Brand revitalisation is a strategy adopted by mature brands when profits begin to decline or goals are not being met. The strategy is to look at ways to bounce back in the market through expansion, change in brand positioning or changing the target audience.
Brand salience is the measure to which the customers think of or even notice a brand when making a purchase decision. Brand salience is particularly important in high cost purchases such as cars. However, it can also be highly important in lower-cost purchase decisions when consumers believe brand choice will make a difference, such as medicine or perhaps cleaning products.
Brand strategy is a marketing plan to develop a brand successfully and meet certain goals. This plan includes the visual creative elements and strategic decisions to achieve higher brand equity, salience, loyalty and recall among other goals.
A brand tribe is a group of people who collectively identify with the values of the brand or a specific product. The brand tribe does not always include customers but also supporters or celebrities who help promote the brand.
Brand valuation is the process of estimating the financial value of the brand’s assets and its association with the company’s current or future business results. This is usually conducted by an external organisation to avoid conflict of interest.
Brand values are the core beliefs that a company stands for, these are usually incorporated in marketing communications.
See: brand strategy
Challenger brand is a company going against ‘the way things have always been done’. These brands are generally not market leaders or niche brands but are changing the way of the norm as a strategy to stand-out in an already crowded market. Canva is an example which is changing the normal way of graphic design.
Coined name is a newly invented word or modified version of an existing word used for the brand or a specific product.
Competitive advantage is the ability of a company to produce better or cheaper products and services in comparison to its competition. This allows the company to outperform the competition in the sales margin.
Corporate identity is the image a company consciously creates, through brand strategy, to present itself to the external stakeholders – customers, investors and the general public. Corporate identity includes visual design elements and marketing communication tone of the company.
Co-branding is a marketing strategy in which two or more brands form a strategic alliance to create a product or service. The Nike and Apple co-branded fitness tracker is an example.
A descriptor is a short word or phrase added to a non-descriptive brand name to help the customers identify the product or service centre to the company. Examples include the use of the word ‘coffee’ in ‘Starbucks Coffee’ and ‘ketchup’ in ‘Heinz Ketchup’.
Descriptive names are brand names that readily convey the core service or products offered by the company, such as Hotels.com, Bank of Australia and General Motors.
Differentiation is the process of researching to identify unique characteristics of the company’s product or service and using this in marketing communications to stand out among the competitors.
Employer branding is the process of marketing the company as the employer of choice to a particular desirable potential employee audience.
Eponym (proprietary eponym or generic trademark) is a brand which has become so famous and successful that its name is used as a synonym for the general class of products or services. There are many cases of this in Australia; Band-Aid, Doona and Esky are all brand names that have surpassed the original product name (plaster, duvet and ice box).
Ethical Positioning Index (EPI)
Ethical positioning index is used to measure a brand’s ethical positioning. The index identifies the brand’s positioning and obtains the customer’s values to calculate the final score.
Evocative names map a brand’s positioning metaphorically rather than literally to give a bigger and deeper meaning to the company. The name ‘Virgin’, an evocative name, is used to describe the founders’ first time in the entrepreneurship world.
Experiential names are used by brands that build upon the feeling or experience their products and services provided to the customers. “Origin” is an example of an experiential brand name.
A generic brand is a consumer product without a widely recognised name due to lack of promotion and advertising.
A home-brand (or own brand) is an item packed, marketed and sold under the name of a particular retailer, usually a large supermarket chain.
Initialism is a type of logo that is formed by using the initial letters or part of a longer company name. BMW is an example of initialism (Bayerische Motoren Werke).
Intangibles are experiential elements of a brand’s identity, such as brand promise, personality, positioning and value.
See: Coined Name
A logo is a graphic or symbol adopted by a company to aid in identifying its products and services.
A master brand is an umbrella or overarching company name under which all products are sold or marketed. Coca-Cola is an example of a master brand under which products like Coke Zero, Diet Coke and other name beverages are sold.
Monogram is a type of log in which letters from the brand’s name or representing the brand’s name are superimposed to create a single abstract looking symbol.
The term on-brand is used to define any visual or communication in advertising which supports or is appropriate to the particular brand being advertised.
Parent brand is an existing and established brand that supports the rise of new products or services through brand extension. Parent brands share their identity to help establish credibility in the new products, ranges or businesses.
A positioning statement is a brief description by the company on how it can fill the needs of its customers in a way that the competitors don’t.
Private labels are products generally manufactured by one company for sale under another company’s brand name.
Rebranding is the process of changing the identity of the company. This can be done extensively by changing the name, logo and other attributes of the brand, or just part of it. This is done to keep the brand relevant in the changing market and stand-out among its competitors.
Repositioning is modifying the value proposition of a product, service or brand to change its positioning in the market and in the minds of the customers. Typically this is conducted when the target markets have shifted or when the product usage is different from originally perceived.
Service brands are companies who offer customer benefits which lie in immaterial performances as opposed to products (or materials). Airbnb is a marketplace for booking accomodation and is a service brand.
A slogan is a text-phrase that is used as part of a marketing campaign for the company’s particular product or service.
See: brand guidelines
A sub-brand is when the main brand creates a subsidiary with distinct characters yet related to the main brand. A sub-brand can have its own name and logo or have a similar identity to the parent brand. Coke Zero is a sub-brand of Coca Cola.
A tagline is a short phrase used in advertising which is framed to add thought and sentiment to a product that customers can associate with.
Tangibles are elements of a brand’s identity that can be visually experienced, such as logo, graphics, colours, music and voice.
A touchpoint for a brand occurs every time a customer interacts with the brand. A brand’s touchpoints include social media, TV commercials, emails, physical stores and referral programs.
Trademark (or service mark) is a recognisable and registered element that is used to identify the company’s products/services. A trademark can be a name, logo, scent, jingle, colours, product qualities or a combination of these elements. Nike’s tick is an example of the brand’s trademark.
Unique Buying Proposition
Unique Buying Proposition (UBP) is what the customers want from a service or a product. After conducting consumer research the marketers can identify different attributes about the same product consumers want to hear. UBP is what consumers want marketers to say about a product.
Unique Selling Proposition
Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a unique attribute that makes the company different from its competition. USP focuses on differentiating the company from its competitors, while Value proposition adds value to the customers. USP is what marketers say about a product.
A value proposition is a unique attribute that a company offers in its products which will add value to the customer’s life and is not available in its competitors’ products. These are short summaries or statements that entice customers to buy the product. Uber’s value proposition is offering convenient ways to travel.
Verbal identity is all the non-visual elements that contribute to a brand’s positioning and identity. Verbal identity incorporates communication tone in advertisements, written phrases and style.
See: brand identity
A wordmark is a type of logo which is font-based and focused on the name of the company. The choice of typeface and typography is based on the brand’s persona.
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