By Phil D
Branding professionals use a unique set of terminology. In fact, a simple Google search for “branding terminology” yields over 1.6 million results. If you don’t “brand” for a living, how can you make sense of it all?
If the thought of speaking about branding intimidates you, don’t worry. Whether you’re talking to your marketing team, client or vendor, here are a handful of terms to help you navigate your next branding conversation.
Brand – A collection of attributes that identifies your product or service. It’s the overarching promise about who you are, what you do, and why your audience benefits. This promise is reinforced at all contact points with our audience, creating a physical or emotional connection.
Brand identity – Often referred to as “corporate identity”, this term is generally used to reference the visual make-up of your brand. Elements such as a name, color, typeface, and symbol contribute to a brand’s visual identity.
Brand equity – The perceived or real value that a brand holds with an audience. Whether tangible or intangible, a brand can be measured by the reputation, loyalty/retention, and price/demand that it adds to a product, business or service.
Brand audit – A comprehensive review of a brand’s vehicles. This exercise can include reviewing materials such as websites, collateral, user experience, customer/employee communications, and overall messaging. Audits are often an initial step within a larger re-branding process.
Brand positioning – Where the brand “lives” in the minds of your audience. This is the space your brand occupies, relative to competing products or services fighting for similar attention.
Brand transfer – The ability to shift value from an existing, known brand to a new, unknown product, service, or organization. This “transferability” could be positive, negative or neutral to your audience. This is often associated with “extending” a brand into a product launch.
Brand essence – The “personality” of your brand (i.e., how the brand would be described if it were a person). For example, a brand could be viewed as reliable (Volvo), intelligent (Volkswagen), or prestigious (Bentley).
Brand hierarchy – How different products are organized within a larger brand family. For example, Marriott purposely distinguishes the Courtyard, JW Marriott, and Fairfield Suites brands.
Rebrand – The process of updating an existing brand to accommodate changes in an employee base, product set or external marketplace. Companies rebrand for a variety of reasons; new leadership and M&A activity are common catalysts for an update.
Branding professionals may speak their own language, but there’s no reason you can’t join the conversation. A brand can be one of the most sustainable assets in your organization. Don’t let jargon prevent you from discussing issues that affect your product, audience and bottom line.