Even with the best will in the world, it can be hard to stay on top of all the brand terms out there. And it can be intimidating when someone uses branding jargon during a meeting that confuses you and completely throws you off track. The difficulty is that there is always a new term being coined as ‘the next big thing’ or even businesses creating new terminology to try and seem ahead of the curve.
But, the question you’re left with is, is this useful? Is this a new term for something that is already out there? Or is this utter nonsense?
That’s why in this glossary, we are going to explain the complete A-Z of brand terms that you actually need to know to help you grow your business.
So let’s get started!
Your brand is your reputation. It’s what your customers and employees say you are and, as such, is your one asset that is fundamental to your business that you do not own. Your brand is something that is built, curated and protected through a clearly communicated brand strategy that your customers and employees can buy into and support, and it is expressed through a consistent presentation of this through your visual identity; logo, colours, TOV etc.
A brand ambassador is anyone who represents your brand or vocally supports your brand. This is EVERYONE who works in your business alongside your biggest fans. The best ambassadors are true believers. People who love your brand for what it does and how it does things are the best kind of ambassadors. They have adopted your brand and want to sing its praises.
Simply put, it’s how a set of brands relate to each other. It defines and orders the relationship between brands, products and services. Creating an ecosystem within which brands can thrive independently but still benefit from associations with parent organisations. Good brand architecture helps customers easily navigate product offerings and make decisions.
Your brand assets are often considered to be the most recognisable elements that make up your company identity. These can be anything from your logo to your design elements:
Brand photography or images
Tone of voice
Related songs or sounds
While these are important, they are not as important an asset as your brand’s reputation.
A brand audit is a deep dive into your business and brand strategy. Assessing your strategy against your business where it is today and against its goals for the future. Businesses change, they grow, stretch their offering; perhaps there is an upstart new competitor stealing your market share? A brand audit with an experienced branding agency will help you outline improvements, goals and even a deeper understanding of who you are as a business. Allowing you to reinforce and strengthen the brand to support those changes and devise strategies to allow your brand to stay relevant and beat the competition.
Your brand’s look, feel and sound needs to be consistent in everything you do and put out. With brand consistency, you will create familiarity with your customers and generate a sense of trust
Brand culture is the cornerstone of building brand reputation. It is an ethical compass which can be defined by your values, that creates the environment in which your employees work and guides the experiences they deliver to your customers. Once you’ve established a strong brand strategy, this should spread deeply throughout the business with living, actionable values to guide workplace culture and build an ethos which would be felt by customers, business partners and your wider team.
This is something (or many things) that sets your business apart from competitors in the market. There are many aspects of your brand that may set your business apart from the others, including:
Your brand reputation
Exceptional customer experience
Your price point
How it makes the customer feel - is it rebellious? sophisticated?
Your tone of voice or brand language
This refers to the value a customer attributes to your brand. Essential factors like recognisability, reputation and trust influence as well as how positively the public view your brand or product and will influence how much money the consumer is willing to pay for your product or service over similar products.
The brand experience is the feelings, thoughts and actions a company evokes. This can be via uncontrolled experiences such as media, comments and communication from customers or controlled experiences such as website journey, customer services, advertising and product or service use.
This is when the brand is ready to be launched into new markets or sectors. However, they must first establish brand equity to successfully extend into new offerings and categories.
Your brand guidelines are one of your most valuable tools. They are the standards and rules a business uses to ensure consistency across all channels. This set of guidelines will define your business's visual, written and even verbal communication.
Brand identity is the way a business presents itself to its customers and wants to be perceived by them. This comprises everything from your logo and general aesthetic to the sounds and experiences the company creates when designing how it will communicate with its audience. All these elements work together to try and build a brand that’s relatable and relevant to its desired target audience.
A visual top-level overview of a brand. This shows everything your organisation has to offer, from pricing, team roles and audience to company goals and mission statements. It’s a handy tool to align the entire team at a glance.
This is another term that is incredibly important for your business. It’s simply what your brand says and how they say it. Your brand messaging is what communications your company values, your position within the market and aligns your brand voice. With clever brand messaging, you can showcase to your customers what you stand for, what makes you unique and why they should care.
Your mission statement is a defining statement of where you want your business to be at a fixed time in the future, for example, in 25 years' time. This statement helps you devise short-term goals to help you to achieve your mission.
Who, what, why and when. This is your brand's story, which encapsulates who you are, your personality and energy and your dreams. To create a great brand story, it must be authentic, honest and memorable. No one wants to read a list of boring facts; it should be a meaningful story that makes an impression and embodies the spirit of your brand - i.e. the intrepid explorer!
Just like humans, your brand has its own personality. Through brand strategy workshops, it is easy to get under the hood and define your personality - it is already there! Understanding and defining this is key to developing a consistent style of brand communications.
Who would your brand be if it was a person? It might feel a little strange to think of your business as a person, but working with a brand personal is a great tool to help you define and embed your personality. . It can also make it easier for your team to identify character traits and manners of behaviour and speech that they wish to adopt in developing the customer experience.
This is one of the most important things you’ll do for your business. Your brand strategy answers the who, why, what and how of your business and brand. It will align your entire business, providing you with a unifying banner under which your business goals will unite towards a clear objective, allowing all facets of your business to operate with cohesion and clarity for the consumer. If you want to really get to the heart of who you are as a business, you need to ask the brand questions you never thought to ask.
This refers to the value of the customer's perception of your brand and its global reach. awareness. The essential factor is your brand's reputation - it measures essential factors like recognisability, your distinctive tone and how positively the public view your business which all feeds into your brand equity. The essential factor is your brand’s reputation – it’s a measure of trust with consumers. In recent years your brand equity has been attributed a monetary value with organisations, for example, Interbrand and Kantar’s ‘Brandz’ issuing yearly reports on the most valuable brands in that year - tracking the tangible worth of your brand’s reputation.
An aspirational vision of what success looks like in the future. . This vision statement works alongside your mission statement to give the brand a unified of what they are working towards. Like a grand manifesto that inspires and evokes enthusiasm.
Sometimes, your brand will grow in an unexpected direction, and its brand is no longer fit for purpose. This can mean that your brand strategy and/or identity are no longer serving your business goals, and change is needed. This change can often be subtle, with a shift in tagline and a refreshed visual presentation while keeping your existing logo and colours. However, sometimes your company will grow in a way that requires an entirely new identity which is built upon a revised brand strategy. This can include a new brand name, new logo, and new brand identity. It can be scary to make such a big change, but there are times when it can not just be necessary but crucial to business growth. Understanding the process and implications is important, as is using an impartial branding agency, like NU, who can help you navigate the process and ease the transition supporting your whole organisation through the change.
To accompany your logo, many businesses use a short tagline that captures the essence of the brand in a succinct way.
This guide showcases how your brand sounds, the words you use, and those you don't. Your tone of voice should convey the brand personality, so if you’re witty, friendly, serious or casual, your tone and voice should reflect that.
Your visual identity is what your brand looks like. So, everything from your font, colour palette, photography, logo variations, elements and animations. You want your brand to be visually unique to you and instantly recognisable.
Understanding the key terms around branding can help simplify the process of understanding how your brand works for you - it is simple at its core. It is also personal, unique to your business and therefore, sometimes hard to see objectively. A brand workshop with an external agency can be what it takes to allow leadership teams to look at their brand objectively and rally around defining answers to who they are, what they do and why their customers should care. We have been helping businesses define their brands for over 18 years, so get in touch today and discover how we can help you grow your business today.