Unravelling the complex language of branding
At Create8, we’ve witnessed all of the ways that carefully considered and impactful branding can propel a business towards success.
Branding is a complex topic, and it can be hard to get your head around the technical terms and jargon if you’re not an industry expert. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back!
That’s why we’ve created this branding glossary. We’ve swapped out the fluff and complicated jargon for straightforward, plain-English explanations of common branding phrases. We hope it helps you on your branding journey!
Glossary of branding terms
A brand is a distinctive and unique identity that represents a company, product, service, or individual. It’s the image that’s conjured in the minds of its audience when they think about the business, and the combination of experiences, interactions, and messages conveyed through brand assets.
A brand ambassador is a person who promotes or represents a brand, in a positive light, to raise brand awareness, trust, and credibility. Brand ambassadors can be loyal and passionate customers or individuals that organisations partner with to raise brand awareness. When selecting a brand ambassador, organisations usually look for influential individuals with a strong online presence who personify their brand identity.
Brand architecture refers to the structure, hierarchy, and relationships between multiple brands owned by a single company.
Brand assets are the unique components of a brand that help to make up its identity, distinguish it from its competitors, and enhance brand recognition and customer loyalty. Brand assets include logos, font, colour palette, messaging, and imagery.
Brand awareness refers to how familiar consumers are with a brand and how easily they can identify it from its logo, slogan, imagery, or other assets in a crowded marketplace.
Brand differentiation refers to the process of making your brand different from its competitors and helping it to stand out in the marketplace. Brand differentiation can be achieved by identifying and highlighting what makes your brand, products, or services unique.
Brand equity refers to a brand’s non-financial strength or value within the marketplace. Consumer perceptions and brand associations influence brand equity. It can be built through brand loyalty, brand awareness, brand associations, and perceived quality.
Brand experience is the feelings, emotions, perceptions, and associations created in the minds of consumers through experiences and interactions they have with, or relate to, a brand. These could be controlled experiences like reading product advertisements, or uncontrolled experiences like word-of-mouth reviews.
Brand extension refers to a process where brands with established brand equity use the reputation of their existing brand to expand into new markets or introduce a new product or service.
Brand guidelines are principles, rules, and best practices (usually set out in a comprehensive document) that can be used as a reference tool for anyone involved in presenting or communicating the brand to the public. Brand guidelines ensure that a brand is represented consistently to boost brand recognition and trust. They usually cover things like logo usage, imagery, typography, colour palette, brand voice, brand values, as well as the brand vision and mission.
An organisation’s brand identity is how it presents itself to its audience. A brand identity is made up of both visual and non-visual elements, including logos, imagery, brand voice, messaging, and values.
Brand image is the consumers’ current views and perceptions about a brand at a specific time. Brand image is built over time, but events can cause immediate short-term or long-term changes.
Branding is the process by which a company creates a brand.
Brand loyalty comes from positive associations which cause an audience to trust the brand and repeatedly interact with it. Brand loyalty can be built through consistent positive customer experiences, effective branding, and excellent customer service.
A brand mark is a logo, icon, symbol, or image that becomes immediately recognisable as belonging to a particular brand. Examples of brand marks include the Nike swoosh tick and the McDonald’s golden arches.
Brand personality is the set of human characteristics associated with a brand, such as sincerity, competence, silliness, or approachability. Brand personality is a key part of brand identity and is used to help differentiate brands in the marketplace.
Brand positioning refers to the process of differentiating your organisation from other organisations and in the minds of consumers so that it occupies a unique position in the marketplace.
The branding process involves creating, developing, and managing a brand. Key steps include creating a brand strategy, building a brand identity, positioning the brand, launching the brand, and ongoing brand management.
A brand promise is a value or experience a brand commits to and offers its audience. Brands must deliver on their promise consistently to differentiate themselves from competitors and build up trust and brand loyalty.
Brand recognition measures how easily a brand is recognised by its audience. When brand recognition is high, the brand can be easily identified beyond its name based on one or more characteristics (such as a product, logo, packaging, or other visual or audio attribute).
A brand strategy is a plan created by an organisation to develop its brand and reach its long-term branding objective and goals. The brand strategy should align with the organisation’s overall business strategy.
Brand values are a set of beliefs that an organisation stands for that form the foundation of its identity and ethos. These core values help to guide the organisation’s conduct, actions, and strategic business decisions as it grows and evolves.
Brand voice refers to how a brand sounds when communicating with its audience. The aspects that make up brand voice include the way that language is used, and the persona that’s conveyed. The brand voice should reflect the business’s overall brand identity and brand personality.
A brand’s graphic style is made up of elements like typography, shapes, colours, and imagery. It must be used consistently across all communication materials to make the brand easily recognisable. A brand’s graphic style is usually outlined in its brand guidelines.
A logo is a symbol that represents a brand and may contain an image, the name of the organisation, or a combination of the two. The logo represents the brand’s identity and should be instantly recognisable.
A mission statement is a short written statement of no more than a few sentences that provides clarity about what an organisation does, who its target audience is, and what makes it different from its competitors. It’s used to help establish a business’s overall direction and guide important business decisions.
If something is described as being on-brand, it’s consistent with the brand’s identity.
Parent brands are typically well-established brands connected to one or more sub-brands. Parent brands can provide sub-brands with immediate trust and recognition in the marketplace. For example, Proctor & Gamble is the parent brand of Crest and Pampers.
A personal brand is like an individual’s professional presence. It mixes together their skills, experience, values, and personality to forge a unique brand voice and design style. Personal branding is the process of managing and optimising how to present these elements in a way that will establish credibility, build a network, attract opportunities, and distinguish the individual from the competition.
Rebranding is the strategic process of updating or changing a business’s identity. Rebranding can be as simple as refreshing an outdated company logo or as complex as overhauling the brand’s entire look and feel. Rebranding has many benefits; it can help a brand to shed negative connotations, distinguish itself from competitors, improve performance, and expand into new markets.
A tagline is a short, catchy phrase that brands use in marketing and advertising to make them memorable and easy to identify. A successful tagline might highlight what makes a brand different or reinforce its identity. Nike’s ‘Just do it’ is an example of a successful tagline.
A brand’s target audience is the specific group of people most likely to be interested in its product or service. A brand’s messaging and marketing should be tailored to its target audience. An excellent understanding of the intended target audience can be pivotal to a brand’s success.
A touchpoint is a point of interaction between the audience and the brand. Touchpoints include the brand’s website, advertisements, a physical store, and a social media post.
A trade mark is a symbol, logo, brand name, slogan, or other recognisable expression that uniquely identifies a brand. Once a trade mark has been registered, it gives the brand the exclusive right to use it in relation to the products or services for which it has been registered. In the UK, you can apply for a trade mark through the UKIPO.
Typography is the style or appearance of text. Choosing the right font, and using it distinctly and consistently is often key for brand recognition and awareness.
Unique selling proposition (USP)
A USP is a brief statement that clearly outlines what differentiates your brand, products, or services from its competitors. An organisation’s USP should help to distinguish it and make memorable.
A vision statement is a short written statement describing an organisation’s future aspirations or growth plans. The vision statement should tie in closely with the brand’s values and be used to help guide important business decisions.
Brand and web go hand in hand. Website branding is the process of building a website that is instantly recognisable as part of your brand. It’s about shaping every element of the website, including its design, content, typography, and functionality, in line with your brand guidelines and brand identity to provide a consistent and coherent brand experience.
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