81 Terms Related to Branding and Brand Strategy You Need to know

Brand: A brand is a company’s line of products or services and the customers’ perceptions of those products or services. It is a combination of both tangible and intangible assets represented by a logo that should be distinctive and memorable. It can take on its own identity and exist differently in the minds of different consumers. 

Brand Ambassador: A person tasked with representing a brand in a positive light. They are meant to act as a memorable face of the brand to increase awareness and positive feelings by providing a human element. A brand ambassador can be a celebrity, paid affiliate, or employee who shows a passion for the brand.  

Brand Archetype(s): A way of categorizing brands into groups by alignment to specific, familiar traits and behaviors. Derived from the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung, the twelve archetypes are the Hero, the Creator, the Lover, the Jester, the Everyman, the Ruler, the Magician, the Innocent, the Rebel, the Caregiver, the Sage, and the Explorer. Fitting into one of these twelve archetypes can help a brand develop a more recognizable and relatable persona for target audiences.  

Brand Architecture: The ways brands are organizationally structured within a company. It should be clear and intuitive to help your customers conceptualize the business, including all of its depth and breadth. In a company with good brand architecture, a positive customer relationship with a master brand should lead to them trying one of the sub-brands. 

Brand Assets: The elements that make up a brand. Slogans, mascots, theme songs, and visual elements like logos and color palettes can all be brand assets when customers uniquely associate them with a specific brand. Elements that can be associated with competitor’s brands or are not easily recognized by customers would not be considered brand assets. 

Brand Attributes: The characteristics of a brand that establish the personality of the brand and are considered inherent by customers. Defining the brand attributes is an important step before creating visual assets like logos and websites. These qualities come from the culture of the brand and should inform all the communications the company puts out. 

Brand Audit: An deep examination of a brand, the purpose of which is to gain an understanding of the brand’s position in the market relative to its competitors. It can help to realign goals and strategies, find strengths and weaknesses, and generally gauge how the brand is performing. 

Brand Awareness: The familiarity consumers in the target audience have with a brand. It includes both brand recognition and brand recall. Increasing brand awareness is a primary marketing goal as it leads to a greater market share and higher sales. 

Brand Discovery: The process of gathering information on the competitive landscape a brand is in and the potential challenges it faces in achieving business goals. It is a critical step in brand building that should be completed early on in the process to give direction to the company. 

Brand Equity: The perceived value a brand derives from having a recognizable name and symbol. It is established through positive customer experiences and strong brand awareness. A brand with greater brand equity will have more sway in the minds of consumers allowing the brand to charge price premiums.  

Brand Experience: The thoughts, emotions, sensations, and actions that a brand evokes in target customers through all the experiences they have with the brand. A brand has control over some experiences like those customers have with the website or retail location but others like reviews and new articles cannot be completely controlled. 

Brand Extension: The use of one of a company’s established brand names on a new product or in a new product category. It must be significantly different but still connected enough to the original product that the brand can successfully leverage its brand equity.  

Brand Gap: The distance between creative and business strategies of an organization. Closing this gap will help build better customer relationships through a unified brand identity with aligned strategy and creation. 

Brand Guidelines: Documentation of a brand that includes all brand strategy and identity. It can be given to anyone- branding agencies, staff, vendors- and give them a clear idea of the brand messaging, tone, values, and story. 

Brand Harmonization: A process of making sure that all of a brand’s products in a given range are consistent in name and visual identity. Being consistent will help customers conceptualize the brand and understand its offerings. 

Brand Hierarchy: The way sub-brands are structured under a master or parent brand. A well-thought-out brand hierarchy will keep customers from becoming confused and help attract attention to each of the separate brands. An example of a brand hierarchy is Google with Gmail, Google Ads, and Google Drive. 

Brand Identity: The set of all elements visual and verbal that a brand uses to create a brand image in the mind of the consumer. Logo, shapes, colors, taglines, and design are all part of the brand identity. It is not the same as brand image. 

Brand Image: The impression target consumers have of the brand. This perception can be informed by actual direct interactions with the brand or from assumptions.   

Brand Management: A process of continually evaluating and executing strategies to maintain or increase the perceived value of the brand with time. With effective brand management, a brand can build a loyal customer base and a positive brand image. 

Brand Map: A visual representation of brand details such as goals, style, and strategy and their intersections. It provides a simple way to view strengths and weaknesses in relation to key brand elements. 

Brand Personality: A set of human personality traits that describe a brand in terms of how it wants to be seen by customers and how they should feel interacting with the brand. The brand personality can fall into several brand archetypes. 

Brand Positioning: The place a brand’s product holds in the minds of the consumers in relation to other competing brands’ products. A positioning strategy can be used to favorably differentiate a product from its competitors.

Brand Preference: A measure of the degree to which a customer chooses purchases by brand name over other factors like price or quality. 

Brand Salience: The strength a brand has at the point of purchase compared to competitors to be recognized, thought about, and considered. Distinct from but influenced by brand awareness, brand salience is about getting customers to think about the brand positively when they’re making a purchase. 

Brand Standards: Another term for brand guidelines 

Brand Strategy: The articulation of a brand’s specific goals for the future and inter-departmental plans for achieving them. It covers the brand messages and is designed to improve the customer experience and increase market share over time. 

Brand Valuation:  An estimate of the net financial value of a brand including both tangible and intangible assets. 

Brand Values: A statement of what the brand stands for that should act as a guiding principle for the brand in all dealings. Brand values should be clear and well-defined to avoid confusion and establish a true philosophy that all can understand. 

Branding: The process of creating and shaping a brand with a logo, brand strategy, and differentiated product or service. 

Branding Agency: A specialized agency that improves a brand through clarifying goals and communicating a brand’s values to the target audience. The focus of branding agencies is on strategically positioning the brand for maximum success. 

Co-Branding: The formation of a strategic alliance between brands where multiple brand names are used on a new product or service. This can increase brand awareness for both brands. Some examples are the color your room campaign from Sherwin-Williams and Pottery Barn and the Kanye and Adidas collaboration on the Yeezy footwear line. 

Color System: A guide of all the color palettes, primary and secondary, which are used in a brand’s offerings. They should be consistent and recognizable as part of the brand to bring about harmony and evoke emotion. 

Descriptor: A short phrase that can be added to a brand name that provides a general description of what that brand offers. Some examples include Apple “computers” and Dove “soap.”

Differentiation: The process of making a company’s products or services distinguishable from and preferable to competitors on the market. 

Endorsed Brand: Commonly synonymous with sub-brand, endorsed brands are new brands grouped with a parent brand to add credibility. Some examples are Kellogg’s Special K and Marriott Residence Inn. 

EPI (Ethical Positioning Index): A measurement of the ethics in a company’s brand positioning. 

Generic Brand: A brand without a recognizable logo or name, generally sold as simply by their product time at a lower cost than branded options. An example would be Walmart brand paper towels. 

Graphic Style: The consistent visual theme of a brand is made up of colors, typeface, and symbols. It is generally consistent for sub-brands and only slightly modified. 

Freemium: A price model where a company offers basic service for free but customers can upgrade to more comprehensive service for a price. The word combines the offerings: free and premium. Some examples are Spotify, Dropbox, and Hulu. 

Icon: A small and easily recognizable visual representation of a brand or one of its elements. Icons often appear in user interfaces to help show what functions are available. The gear icon is commonly used to represent settings. 

Initialism: A brand name that has been abbreviated to the first letters of key words. Unlike with an acronym, each letter is pronounced individually. Some examples are BBC, NPR, and AT&T. 

Intangibles: The components of a brand that are not physical and can be hard to financially evaluate. They include things like patents, trademarks, brand names, copyrights, and logos. 

Logo: A recognizable graphic symbol that represents the whole of a brand, organization, or individual. It can include text and images or only one of the two. Some famous logos are the Facebook “f” and Apple apple. 

Market Leader: The company which beats out its competitors for the greatest market share in its sector. This position can come from being the first of its kind or innovating and overtaking a past leader. 

Market Share: The percentage of total purchases in a given sector that go to a given company. If company X sold 20% of all the products sold in its category in a set period, X has a 20% market share. 

Masterbrand: An overarching trademarked brand that connects sub-brands selling different products. Apple and GM are both master brands. 

Messaging: The key points and communication strategies a brand uses to describe itself and its offerings to a target audience. Messaging should effectively increase engagement and sales. Mission Statement: A statement of the company’s function, an answer to the question “why does this company exist?” It should guide the actions of the company going forward.  

Monogram: A logo composed exclusively or almost exclusively of the company’s initials that can be used in the place of a formal logo. Some examples are Gucci and the New York Yankees. 

Name, Descriptive: A company name that describes the nature of the company’s products or services without adding much else. Descriptive names can be more difficult for customers to remember because they could be applied to competitors. Some examples are General Motors and Booking.com.

Name, Evocative: A creative and powerful brand name that uses suggestion or metaphor to conjure an experience in the mind of the consumer. Some examples are Amazon and Nike. 

Name, Experiential: A brand name that evokes the experience a customer will receive from the brand. They serve as positioning statements themselves. Some examples are Safari and Agility. 

Name, Generic: A brand name that identifies a whole group of products or services and thus cannot be trademarked. Some examples are Cars.com and Hotels.com. 

Name, Invented: An original brand name that was specifically made to represent a brand. They offer the advantage of having no baggage to overcome in the minds of the consumers. Some examples are Kodak and Twitter.  

On-Brand: A description of a brand action that conforms to the established brand image and the expectations of the audience. By staying on-brand, companies can develop lasting customer relationships. 

Parent Brand: The preexisting brand which then spawns sub-brands that benefit from the established trust and identity of the parent brand. An example is P&G with sub-brands like Tide and Pampers.  

Personas: Also known as customer personas, personas are representations of large segments of the target audience for a brand’s product or service including demographic information. Using personas helps company employees understand their customer base. 

Positioning Statement: A detailed statement of the place a company is trying to take up in the minds of the target audience. It articulates the difference between the company and its competitors and what it offers customers that others do not.  

Private Label: Products are manufactured by a third-party but sold to customers under the retailer’s own brand. For example, Target sells private label brand chips and crackers under its own brand Archer Farms. 

Qualitative Research: Research that gathers data through open-ended questions in interviews, focus groups, and other forms. It’s valuable for getting an in-depth view into how consumers think and feel about a brand and its competitors. 

Quantitative Research: Research that gathers measurable, numerical data through surveys and polls either in person, on the phone, or online. It provides statistical data that can be analyzed and used to make predictions. 

Rebranding: The process of changing the name, symbol, design, or entire image of an established brand. Rebranding can come from a negative reputation, new management, old imagery, or international expansion. When Raider became more international, the company rebranded to Twix. 

Repositioning: The process of shifting the customers’ perceptions of a product or brand so that it is better equipped to succeed in its current market or a new segment. Repositioning can be the difference between products flopping and being huge hits. It’s all about fostering the ideal customer perception which is much more likely to happen with adequate positioning. 

Service Brand: A brand that offers immaterial performances rather than tangible products. Some examples are AMC, TD Bank, and American Airlines. 

Style Guide: Synonym for brand guidelines 

Sub-brand: A secondary or subsidiary brand of a larger parent or master brand. It benefits from the brand equity and customer loyalty of the existing brand but does not eclipse it. Some examples are Philips Sonicare, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Xbox. 

SWOT: An acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By analyzing where they stand in each of these categories, brands can gain insights into the places they can improve and differentiate for greater success. 

Symbols: An instantly recognizable graphic representation of a business or brand without text. Some examples of well-known brand symbols the Olympic rings, the Nike swoosh, and Target bullseye. 

Tagline: A slogan or catchphrase that a brand uses to quickly encapsulate its message memorably. Some examples are Dunkin’ Donuts “America runs on Dunkin’” and McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it.” 

Tangibles: The physical elements that are part of a brand including a product and its packaging and displays, sales locations, factories, cash, and advertising material. Can also describe physical products themselves. 

Touchpoint: The instance when potential customers or current customers interact with the brand in some way, either before, during, or after completing a purchase. Some examples of touchpoints include print and radio ads, online chats, and even word-of-mouth like personal recommendations. The interaction does not need to be initiated or controlled by the brand to be considered a touchpoint.

Trademark: Any logo, symbol, word, phrase, or design that is legally registered to a brand as an identifier of that brand. This prevents competing companies from using the trademarked item, protecting the brand. 

Typographic System: A system of fonts and styles that a brand uses as part of its distinct visual identity. 

UBP (Unique Buying Proposition): A distinction the customers see between a brand and its competitors that brings them to choose the brand. This distinction could be price, features, lifestyle impact, or another quality. 

USP (Unique Selling Proposition): The meaningful and distinct benefits that a brand offers its customers to set it apart from competitors. A powerful USP can help a business gain and keep customers over the long run. 

Value Proposition/Statement: A company’s promise of the value their customers will receive. It answers the question, “why should consumers choose to do business with this company?”

Verbal Identity: The expression of the brand through written and spoken language. The voice of the brand should be consistent and distinct from competitors through voice, sense of humor, and attitude. 

Vision Statement: A concrete clarification of the brand’s goals for the future and means of achieving those goals. It serves to give the business a purpose and a positive future to build towards. 

Visual Identity: The collection of visual elements tied to the brand including the logo, packaging, color scheme, and store interior design. It communicates the brand without needing any words. 

Wordmark: A brand logo consisting only of the company’s name in a styled font. Some examples are Jeep, Netflix, and Disney.