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Whether you're marketing in Houston, nationwide, the U.S., across the pond, or around the globe these branding terms can come in handy.

BACKSTORY

The story behind a brand that helps establish the narrative, such as the meaning of the name, the origin of the brand, or any element that lends credibility. Think who, what, when, where, why or how.

BENEFIT

A true or perceived advantage gained from a product, service, feature, or attribute.

BRAND

A person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization. Contrary to popular belief, a logo, color scheme, tagline, the product or service itself, or what an organization says it is, are typically not a brand.

BRAND AGENCY

A strategic firm that provides or manages a variety of brand-building services across a range of media.

BRAND ALIGNMENT

The practice of linking brand strategy to customer touchpoints.

Brand Ambassador

A person who promotes a brand during their interactions with other people, whether they realize it or not. In an ideal world, every company employee, customer, partner, etc., would be a brand ambassador.

Brand Architecture

A hierarchy of related brands, often beginning with a master brand, describing the relationships to sub brands, co-brands, endorsed brands, etc. Think of it as a brand family tree.

Brand Articulation

Concise description of a brand that enables members of the brand community to fully understand and communicate the narrative. In many cases, this can be the brand story.

Brand Asset

Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value, which may include brand associations, brand attributes, brand awareness, or brand loyalty.

Brand Attribute

A distinctive feature of product, service, company, or brand that helps identify it.

Brand Audit

The assessment of a brand’s strengths and weaknesses across all of its touchpoints.

Brand Champion

Anyone who evangelizes or protects a brand and serves as a brand steward.

Brand Community

The network of people who contribute to building a brand, including internal departments, external firms, industry partners, customers, users, and the media

Brand Consultant

An external advisor typically tasked with a strategic or advisory role in the brand building process.

Brand Designer

Any person who helps shape a brand, including graphic designers, strategists, marketing directors, researchers, advertising planners, web developers, public relations specialists, copywriters, and others.

Brand Equity

The accumulated value of a company’s brand assets, both financially and strategically. This is often used to gauge the overall strength of a brand in the marketplace and assign a financial value to it.

Brand Essence

The distillation of a brand’s promise into the simplest possible terms.

Brand Engagement

The process of forming an attachment between a person and a brand.

Brand Experience

All the interactions people have with a product, service or organization across all touchpoints. Think of this as the raw material of a brand.

Brand GAP

The gulf between business strategy and customer experience.

Brand Guidelines

A document that articulates the parameters of the brand for members of the brand community. Typically includes a standardized set of brand-building tools for proper usage of brand identity assets.

Brand Idea

The simple, differentiated, and relevant meaning you establish for your brand. A brand idea is what a brand stands for in people’s minds.

Brand Identity

The most visible outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, colors, shapes, typefaces, page treatments, and other visual properties, that create a recognizable “face” for people to connect with.

Brand Image

Someone’s mental picture of a product, service or organization.

Brand Loyalty

The strength of preference for a brand compared to competing brands, often measured in repeat purchases, return visits, etc.

Brand Manager

Typically the person responsible for tactical issues involving a brand or brand family, such as pricing, promotion, distribution, and advertising. Can sometimes be synonymous with a product manager.

Brand MANUAL

A document that articulates the parameters of the brand for members of the brand community; a standardized set of brand-building tools.

Brand Metrics

Measurements for monitoring changes in brand.

Brand Name

The verbal or written component of a brand icon. Can be the name of a product, service, experience, or organization.

Brand Personality

The character of a brand as defined in human terms, such as Virgin = irreverent, or Chanel = refined.

Brand Police

A manager or team responsible for strict organizational and partner compliance with brand guidelines in material developed for brand-building.

Brand Portfolio

A collection of brands owned by one company.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is defined as the conceptual place you want to own in the target consumer’s mind — the benefits you want them to think of when they think of your brand.

Brand Pushback

Marketplace resistance to brand messages or brand extensions, often leading to changes in brand strategy.

Brand Signals

A complete brand identity scheme, including name, trademark, typography, colors, shapes, sound signatures, taglines, textures, scents, sounds, retail/office space, and other expressions of the brand experienced by others.

Brand Steward

The person responsible for developing and protecting a brand.

Brand Story

The articulation of a brand as a narrative with a coherent set of messages that articulate the meaning of a brand.

Brand Strategy

A plan for the systematic development of a brand in order to meet business objectives.

Brand Valuation

The process of measuring the monetary equity of a brand.

Branded House

A company in which the dominant brand name is the company name, such as Mercedes-Benz. You might also hear these called a Homogeneous brand or a Monolithic brand.

Branding

Any effort or program to build a brand. This is the process of brand-building.

Challenger brand

A new or rising brand that is viable in spite of competition from the dominant brand in its category.

Charismatic brand

A brand that inspires high degrees of loyalty. Can also be referred to as lifestyle brand or passion brand.

Co-branding

The purposeful linking of two or more brands for mutual benefit.

Commoditization

The process by which customers come to see products, services, or companies as interchangeable, resulting in the erosion of profit margins. The opposite of brand-building, this most often takes the form of price being the primary driver of a buying decision.

Core Competencies

A set of capabilities that give a company strategic advantage.

Core Values

An enduring set of principles that defines the ethics and serve as a strong part of the ideology of a company.

Corporate Identity

The brand identity of company, consisting of its visual identifiers such as the name trademark, typography, and colors. Can be synonymous with brand identity.

Creative Brief

A document that sets parameters for brand-building projects, including context, goals, processes, timelines, anticipated results, and budgetary constraints.

Cultivation

The process of embedding brand values throughout the organization. Also known as internal branding.

Customer Expectations

The anticipated benefits of a brand interaction, whether explicit or implicit.

Descriptor

A term used with brand name to describe the category in which the brand competes, such as “whitening toothpaste” or “online bank”.

Differentiation

The process of establishing a unique market position as a result of proper positioning in the marketplace to increase profit margins and avoid commoditization.

Driver brand

In a brand portfolio, the brand that drives a purchase decision, whether master brand, sub-brand, or endorser brand.

Earcon

An auditory brand symbol in the form of a brief, distinctive sound used to represent a specific event or convey other information, such as Intel’s inside.

Elevator Pitch

A one-sentence version of a brand’s purpose or market position, short enough to convey during a brief elevator ride. Think of this as your brand’s pickup line.

Emotional branding

Brand-building efforts that target a customer’s feelings through sensory experiences designed to build a memorable connection.

Endorser brand

A brand that promises satisfaction on behalf of a subbrand or co-brand, usually in a secondary position to the brand being endorsed.

Experience design

A focus on shaping the experience of a customer or user, rather than on the artifacts themselves. Typically takes shape in the form of the design of the interactive media.

Extension

A new product or service that leverages the brand equity of related product or service.

Evangelist

An advocate who sings the praises of a brand.

Feature

An element of a product, service, or experience designed to deliver a benefit.

Global Brand

A product, service, or company that competes globally.

Guerrilla Marketing

A marketing program that uses non-traditional methods at a typically low cost to sell or advertise products or services.

House of Brands

A company in which the dominant brand names are those of the products and services the company sells. Also referred to as a heterogeneous brand or pluralistic brand.

Icon

The visual symbol of a brand, usually based on a differentiated market position; trademark.

Information Hierarchy

The order of importance of the elements in the brand message.

Ingredient Brand

A brand used as selling feature in another brand.

Integrated Marketing

A collaborative method for creating consistent messaging and an overall narrative that ties together across different media.

Intellectual Property

Intangible assets protected by patents and copyrights. Also, a legal discipline that specializes in the protection of brand assets, including brand names, trademarks, colors, shapes, sounds, and smells that can be registered with the federal government for protection.

Internal Branding

An internal program to spread brand understanding through the use of standards manuals, orientation, sessions, workshops, critiques, and online training. Also known as cultivation.

Leveraging Brand

Borrowing from the credibility of one brand to launch another brand, a subbrand, or co-branding. Can be a brand extension.

Line Extension

The expansion of a brand family to include the addition of one or more subbrands to a master brand.

Living Brand

A brand that grows, changes, and sustains itself and is most often influenced by customer interaction. In today’s day and age of social media, short attention spans, and touchpoints galore, all brands are living brands, whether they want to be or not.

Logo

Abbreviation of logotype now applied broadly (most often incorrectly, in technical terms) to all trademarks.

Logotype

The representation of a brand by a distinctive typeface or lettering style. Synonymous with: wordmark.

Marketing

The process of developing, promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.

Master Brand

The dominant brand in a brand architecture that includes subbrands. Also known as a parent brand.

Meme

An idea that self-reproduces like a virus that can most often be measured as a unit of social currency, such as “Just Do It” or “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.

Message or Messaging Architecture

The formal relationship among brand communications that helps build the brand narrative.

Mission Statement

A concise statement of the purpose or aspirations of an organization.

Nomenclature System

A formal structure for naming related products, services, features, or benefits. This is the naming portion of an organization’s brand architecture.

Perception

An impression received through the senses. A building block of the customer experience and most often the driver of what a brand’s success.

Positioning

The process of differentiating products, services, or a company, in a customer’s mind to obtain a strategic competitive advantage. Often, this is the first step in building a brand.

Promise

A stated or implied pledge that creates customer expectations and employee responsibilities.

Qualitative Research

Research designed to provide insight, such as one-on-one interviews and focus groups.

Quantitative Research

Research designed to provide measurement, such as polling, surveys, and large-scale studies.

Slogan

A catchphrase, tagline, strap line, or rally cry.

Stakeholder

Any person or firm with a vested interest in a company or brand, including shareholders, employees, partners, suppliers, customers, and community members.

Store Brand

A private-label product that can typically be sold at lower prices or high margins than larger named brand competitors.  Some times incorrectly called generic brands. Synonymous with a private-label brand .

Strategy

A plan that is targeted to achieve a specific outcome and uses a set of tactics to achieve a business goal.

Subbrand

A secondary brand that builds on the association of master brand.

Tactic

An activity that takes place to operationally support a strategy.

Tagline

A sentence, phrase, or word used to grab attention or summarize a market position.

Touchpoint

Every opportunity where people to come into contact with a brand, including marketing materials, product use, packaging, websites, social media, advertising, phone calls, store environments, company employees, casual conversations, etc.

Trademark

A legally protectable form of intellectual property, in the form of a name and/or symbol that indicates a source of goods or services, to help prevent confusion and/or infringement in the marketplace.

Tribal Brand

A brand with a cult-like following such as Apple, Harley-Davidson, and LOST.

Vision

The aspirations of a company that drive future growth, most often delivered in the form of a story a leader tells about where the organization is going.

Voice

The unique personality of a company that create the verbal dimensions of a brand personality, as expressed by its verbal and written communications.

Wordmark

The representation of a brand by a distinctive typeface or lettering style. Synonymous with logotype.

Terms Inspired by: BrandSimple by Allen P. Adamson and The Dictionary of Brand by Marty Neumeier

BRAND GLOSSARY

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