“Brand is the holistic sum of customers’ experiences, composed of visual, tonal and behavioral brand components, many of which are shaped by interaction design.”
– Kate Kaplan
Whether you’re marketing in Houston, nationwide, the U.S., across the pond, or around the globe these branding terms can come in handy.
ABSTRACT BRAND NAME
Invented words used to name a product, service, or company that has no dictionary or other known meaning. I.e. Skype
ABSTRACT MARK LOGO
An abstract mark is a specific type of pictorial logo. Instead of being a recognizable image—like an apple or a bird—it’s an abstract geometric form that represents your business. i.e. Pepsi
Paid communications aimed at persuading an audience to buy a product, use a service, change a behavior, or adopt a viewpoint.
Print advertising designed to look like editorial content.
A business which is voluntarily related to another business without being a subsidiary.
A type of marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for bringing customers to it.
Premium-priced products and services that are inexpensive relative to traditional luxury items.
Application software designed to address a specific purpose.
In storytelling, the trajectory of a narrative; the sequence of events in a story line.
A standardized model of a personality or behavior, often used in marketing, storytelling, psychology, and philosophy.
A survey of opinions about a brand, often used as a benchmark before and after making changes to the brand.
The group of people for which a product, service, message, or experience is designed.
The quality of being genuine, considered a powerful brand attribute.
A survey that measures an audience’s familiarity with a brand, often divided into “aided” and “unaided” awareness.
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.
A true or perceived advantage gained from a product, service, feature, or attribute.
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.
A strategic firm that provides or manages a variety of brand-building services across a range of media.
The practice of linking brand strategy to customer touchpoints.
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.
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.
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.
Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value, which may include brand associations, brand attributes, brand awareness, or brand loyalty.
A distinctive feature of product, service, company, or brand that helps identify it.
The assessment of a brand’s strengths and weaknesses across all of its touchpoints.
Anyone who evangelizes or protects a brand and serves as a brand steward.
The network of people who contribute to building a brand, including internal departments, external firms, industry partners, customers, users, and the media.
An external advisor typically tasked with a strategic or advisory role in the brand building process.
Any person who helps shape a brand, including graphic designers, strategists, marketing directors, researchers, advertising planners, web developers, public relations specialists, copywriters, and others.
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.
The distillation of a brand’s promise into the simplest possible terms.
The process of forming an attachment between a person and a brand.
All the interactions people have with a product, service or organization across all touchpoints. Think of this as the raw material of a brand.
The gulf between business strategy and customer experience.
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.
The simple, differentiated, and relevant meaning you establish for your brand. A brand idea is what a brand stands for in people’s minds.
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.
Someone’s mental picture of a product, service or organization.
A brand influencer is an individual who leverages his/her social media prowess to authentically engage and connect audiences and brands.
The strength of preference for a brand compared to competing brands, often measured in repeat purchases, return visits, etc.
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.
A document that articulates the parameters of the brand for members of the brand community; a standardized set of brand-building tools.
Measurements for monitoring changes in brand.
The verbal or written component of a brand icon. Can be the name of a product, service, experience, or organization.
The character of a brand as defined in human terms, such as Virgin = irreverent, or Chanel = refined.
A manager or team responsible for strict organizational and partner compliance with brand guidelines in material developed for brand-building.
A collection of brands owned by one company.
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.
A brand promise is a value or experience a company’s customers and employees can expect to receive every single time they interact with that company. It can define a company in the marketplace.
A brand proposition is a statement about your company, product, services, etc., that clearly demonstrates to customers what benefits they can derive out of your brand.
A brand’s reason to exist beyond making money.
Marketplace resistance to brand messages or brand extensions, often leading to changes in brand strategy.
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.
The person responsible for developing and protecting a brand.
The articulation of a brand as a narrative with a coherent set of messages that articulate the meaning of a brand.
A plan for the systematic development of a brand in order to meet business objectives.
The process of measuring the monetary equity of a brand.
A set of beliefs or attributes that represent the code by which an organization lives and operates.
A distinct and consistent way of communicating verbally and written.
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.
Any effort or program to build a brand. This is the process of brand-building.
The actual expressions of a brand that generate feelings and opinions about it and create the experience of the brand.
The plan you have to sell a product or service. How your company makes money.
A new or rising brand that is viable in spite of competition from the dominant brand in its category.
A brand that inspires high degrees of loyalty. Can also be referred to as lifestyle brand or passion brand.
The purposeful linking of two or more brands for mutual benefit.
COMBINATION MARK LOGO
A combination mark is a logo comprised of a combined wordmark or lettermark and a pictorial mark, abstract mark, or mascot. i.e. Burger King.
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.
Is what information your company is putting out to it’s customers and employees via all platforms.
A set of capabilities that give a company strategic advantage.
Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.
Content marketing is the strategic creation and curation of content that is valuable and relevant to the target audience.
Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media.
An enduring set of principles that defines the ethics and serve as a strong part of the ideology of a company.
The brand identity of company, consisting of its visual identifiers such as the name trademark, typography, and colors. Can be synonymous with brand identity.
A document that sets parameters for brand-building projects, including context, goals, processes, timelines, anticipated results, and budgetary constraints.
The process of embedding brand values throughout the organization. Also known as internal branding.
The anticipated benefits of a brand interaction, whether explicit or implicit.
DESCRIPTIVE BRAND NAME
Uses the most evident words or terms needed to describe a product, service, or brand. i.e. Whole Foods
A term used with brand name to describe the category in which the brand competes, such as “whitening toothpaste” or “online bank”.
Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving that focuses on the people you’re creating the design for, leading to better products, services, and internal processes.
The process of establishing a unique market position as a result of proper positioning in the marketplace to increase profit margins and avoid commoditization.
DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY
A digital marketing strategy describes a roadmap that use online marketing channels to achieve various goals. These online channels could include: social media, email marketing, digital advertising, SEO, content marketing, e-commerce, and measurement.
A unique name that serves as an address on the internet for locating and/or accessing a brand’s website. i.e. testmonki.com
In a brand portfolio, the brand that drives a purchase decision, whether master brand, sub-brand, or endorser brand.
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.
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.
EMBLEM OR BADGE LOGO
An emblem or badge logo consists of font inside a symbol or an icon; think badges, seals and crests. i.e. Harley Davidson logo
Brand-building efforts that target a customer’s feelings through sensory experiences designed to build a memorable connection.
A brand that promises satisfaction on behalf of a subbrand or co-brand, usually in a secondary position to the brand being endorsed.
An advocate who sings the praises of a brand.
EVOCATIVE BRAND NAME
Evocative names employ suggestion and metaphor to bring to mind the experience or positioning of a brand. They are singular and creative, and make for powerful differentiators i.e. Amazon
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.
A new product or service that leverages the brand equity of related product or service.
An element of a product, service, or experience designed to deliver a benefit.
A flanker brand, also known as a fighter brand, is a new brand introduced into the market by a company that already has an established brand in the same product category. i.e. Tide and Cheer from P&G
The process by which a brand name loses its distinctive identity as a result of being used to refer to any product or service of its kind. i.e. Kleenex
The use of global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
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.
The visual symbol of a brand, usually based on a differentiated market position; trademark.
An infographic is an image or a graphic visual presentation of information or data.
The order of importance of the elements in the brand message.
A brand used as selling feature in another brand.
A collaborative method for creating consistent messaging and an overall narrative that ties together across different media.
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.
An internal program to spread brand understanding through the use of standards manuals, orientation, sessions, workshops, critiques, and online training. Also known as cultivation.
INVENTED BRAND NAME
Invented names are fanciful fabrications that are nothing if not distinctive. i.e. Xerox
KEY BUYING INFLUENCES
Many factors influence a consumer’s decision to buy a product. A Key Buying Influences are the individuals or groups who can have a positive or negative impact on a customer’s decision to purchase your product or service.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc. in meeting objectives for performance.
The efficient process of capturing, organizing, analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating information, knowledge, and resources possessed by individuals within an organization.
Lettermarks are just what they sound like: logos that are made of letters. Whether you call them monograms, initials, or acronyms, they’re in the same category. i.e. CNN
Borrowing from the credibility of one brand to launch another brand, a subbrand, or co-branding. Can be a brand extension.
LEXICAL BRAND NAME
Lexical brand names rely on wordplay for their memorability. Puns, phrases, compound words, alliteration, onomatopoeia, intentional misspellings, and foreign words are all styles of this popular naming type i.e. Krazy Glue
The expansion of a brand family to include the addition of one or more subbrands to a master brand.
Abbreviation of logotype now applied broadly (most often incorrectly, in technical terms) to all trademarks.
While a wordmarks, brandmarks, and lettermarks can operate separately, they can also appear “locked together” as a lockup. i.e. Wendy’s
Contains only a symbol without wording.
The representation of a brand by a distinctive typeface or lettering style. Synonymous with: wordmark.
The process of developing, promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
The process of subdividing a large, homogenous market into easily and clearly identifiable and measurable consumer segments.
Mascot logos are logos that involve an illustrated character. i.e. KFC and the Colonel
The dominant brand in a brand architecture that includes subbrands. Also known as a parent brand.
MESSAGE OR MESSAGING ARCHITECTURE
The formal relationship among brand communications that helps build the brand narrative.
A concise statement of the purpose or aspirations of an organization.
Monogram logos or lettermarks are logos that consist of letters, usually brand initials. Also called Lettermarks. i.e. HBO
The practice of developing brand names for corporations, products and services.
A formal structure for naming related products, services, features, or benefits. This is the naming portion of an organization’s brand architecture.
An impression received through the senses. A building block of the customer experience and most often the driver of what a brand’s success.
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.
A stated or implied pledge that creates customer expectations and employee responsibilities.
Research designed to provide insight, such as one-on-one interviews and focus groups.
Research designed to provide measurement, such as polling, surveys, and large-scale studies.
Segmentation, or Market Segmentation, is the process of subdividing a large, homogenous market into easily and clearly identifiable and measurable consumer segments
SEQUENCE OF COGNITION
Alina Wheeler explains the ‘sequence of cognition’ in her book Designing Brand Identity. We see shape, then color, then text.
A catchphrase, tagline, strap line, or rally cry.
Social listening is a category of market research that involves identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product, brand, industry, etc. online.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Social media strategy informs and maps the objectives, messaging, channels, and measurement of content distributed via social media platforms.
Sound/Sonic branding is the strategic use of music and sound to help reinforce brand recognition. i.e. Intel’s
Any person or firm with a vested interest in a company or brand, including shareholders, employees, partners, suppliers, customers, and community members.
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.
A plan that is targeted to achieve a specific outcome and uses a set of tactics to achieve a business goal.
A secondary brand that builds on the association of master brand.
An activity that takes place to operationally support a strategy.
A sentence, phrase, or word used to grab attention or summarize a market position.
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.
Trade dress is the characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging that signify the source of the product to consumers. i.e. Coca-Cola’s iconic glass bottle.
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.
When a message does not directly translate from one language or culture to another the translator must do something to preserve the intent of the source information. his typically occurs when figurative or culturally related speech is used.
Translation is taking the meaning of a word from the source text and providing an equivalent text in the target language.
Transliteration involves changing the script used to write words in one language to the script of another; taking the letters or characters from a word and changing them into the equivalent characters in another language. This process is concerned with the spelling and not the sound.
A brand with a cult-like following such as Apple, Harley-Davidson, and LOST.
A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion. The term was coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.
User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content, such as images, videos, text, and audio, that has been posted by users on online platforms such as social media and wikis.
Verbal Identity is a customized communications strategy that guides and defines how a brand tells its story through the use of distinct and focused language in a consistently compelling way.
Viral marketing or viral advertising, is a method of product promotion that relies on consumers sharing information (i.e. marketing) an idea, brand, product, or service.
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.
The unique personality of a company that create the verbal dimensions of a brand personality, as expressed by its verbal and written communications.
The representation of a brand by a distinctive typeface or lettering style. Synonymous with logotype.
WORD OF MOUTH
Word of Mouth or word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is a marketing method that relies on casual social interactions to promote a product.
Terms Inspired by: BrandSimple by Allen P. Adamson and The Dictionary of Brand by Marty Neumeier