Glossary of Branding Terminology
Brand names formed from the initial letters (or parts) of a series of words — e.g., NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). In the financial industry, WaMu is a good example. Acronyms are commonly confused with “Initialisms.”
The collective perceptions and impressions people have formed about an organization, its products and/or its services, whether through direct (ads/purchase) or indirect (word-of-mouth) interactions. Any noun can have a brand, including people, places and things — e.g., Donald Trump, Las Vegas and American Express.
Brand architecture is the relative structure of an organization’s brands. The way in which the brands within a company’s portfolio are related to, and differentiated from, one another — i.e, a brand “family tree.” Example: Proctor & Gamble’s brand architecture includes Tide, a Household Care brand, and Crest, a Beauty & Grooming brand.
Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value — e.g., visual symbols, slogans, sounds, photos, mascots, etc.
A specific set of characteristics that identify the visual, verbal and behavioral traits of the brand, much in the same manner that personality attributes define the people we know.
The accumulated financial and strategic value of all associations and expectations (positive and negative) that people have of brand. Brand equity can be quantified four ways: 1) economic value of the brand and its assets, 2) the price premium that the brand commands, 3) the long term consumer loyalty the brand enjoys, or 4) the market share the brand gains through its reputation alone. Note: brand equity can be negative.
The difference between the brand’s strategy and the actual experience.
The outward expression of a brand — i.e., look-and-feel — as created by a system of standards including colors, fonts, images, photos, graphics and design. (Compare to “Corporate Identity.”)
The mental associations, ideas, feelings and beliefs people think of when they see or hear a brand.
Brand Positioning Statement
A clear, concise, focused statement capturing the essence of a brand’s differentiation. (Compare with “Unique Selling Proposition.”)
Consumer expectations about what the brand will deliver. The experience — good or bad — one can expect from a brand. When an organization defines its brand promise, it should be differentiated, relevant, credible and irreproducible. (Compare with “Brand Image.”)
An organization’s deliberate and intentional attempt to shape and influence people’s perceptions of their brand(s) in specific directions.
A new or rising brand that is viable in spite of other existing brands dominating the category.
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A brand name that’s been invented or made up — e.g., Kodak, Experian. The advantage of such names is that they are easier to trademark, and they can be given their own meaning.
The principles, ethos and philosophical ideology that all employees of an organization are expected to use, live by and demonstrate on a daily basis.
A narrower subset of the overall brand identity including the brand’s core component — primarily its name and logo. A corporate identity system typically includes formal business papers (not marketing) — e.g., business cards, letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, invoices, etc. (Compare to “Brand Identity.”)
The hidden, underlying system of spatial units defining the organization’s use of imagery and how content is structured in two-dimensional layouts (e.g., printed pieces).
Names created around fictional (or real) characters, such as Victoria’s Secret and Betty Crocker. Starbucks was derived from the name of a character in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (the logo is a Melusine). In the financial industry, John Hancock is a good example.