Admit it … we’ve all sat in meetings where we don’t completely understand what the other people around the table are saying. It’s gone completely over our heads.
It’s like some big joke that they all get but we don’t and it’s happening more and more, especially in meetings, and why? Because we’re living a jargonistic world where the use of clever phrases is somehow designed to set certain people aside from others. You know ‘knowledge is power’ and all that.
But don’t panic, here at Just Enough Brave we’ve decided to help by creating a handy glossary of all things brand that hopefully will explain all.
So next time someone drops in yet another one of those new-fangled branding terms just click through to this piece and check out what they’re on about.
At that point, you’ll have a choice. You can either nod along in a slightly smugger, ‘all knowing’ way or you could consider working with someone else who understands that effective and clinical communications is at the very heart of everything that we should be doing as marketing conscious professionals.
Following are the 17 that will get you through the brand basics but don’t worry we’ll be adding to these on a fairly regular basis so that eventually there’ll be nothing that a fresh-faced kid, straight out of college will be able to broadside you with
A living business asset, designed to enhance the connection between a business and customer or consumer. A brand is the way in which people understand, navigate and talk about a company’s business strategy and it simplifies decision-making when selecting a product or service. A brand helps ensure relationships that secure and create future earnings by driving demand, commanding a premium and engendering loyalty. Once simply considered trademarks or logos/logotypes, brands deliver tangible economic value.
Employees who represent and passionately promote the brand but are not directly tied to the brand, marketing or communications functions. Ideally every employee in an organisation lives the values of the brand, but brand ambassadors go a step further: They rally other employees, advance the brand story, embody the values and help others to do the same. Brand ambassadors can come from any function in the organisation and be at any level of seniority or tenure—and they are usually natural leaders and influencers who other employees seek out for information.
How a company defines the relationship among its brands to help people understand what the company offers, and how to choose the brand that best meets their needs. The brand architecture organizes brands and products to create clarity for the customer, rather than following accounting, reporting or historical structures. There are three primary brand architecture approaches:
- monolithic (also known as “branded house”), where the company brand is used on all products and services offered by the company
- endorsed, where all sub-brands are linked to the corporate brand by either a verbal or visual endorsement
- freestanding (also known as “house of brands”), where the company brand operates merely as a holding company, and each product or service is individually branded for its target market.
Employees who represent and passionately promote the brand but are not directly tied to the brand, marketing or communications functions. Ideally every employee in an organisation lives the values of the brand, but brand ambassadors go a step further: They rally other employees, advance the brand story, embody the values and help others to do the same. Brand champions can come from any function in the organisation and be at any level of seniority or tenure—and they are usually natural leaders and influencers who other employees seek out for information.
Great brands are built from within–and it starts with an organisation’s people and culture. Brand engagement, also known as employee engagement, is the process of linking internal culture and employee behavior to business goals via the brand. It ensures that the brand proposition becomes central to daily operations and decision-making, that the brand values are embodied day in and day out, and that these guide all interactions with customers. A great brand engagement program connects the organisation’s human resources activities (employee activation, training, assessment and goal setting) with the brand and business strategy to encourage on-brand behaviors and positively impacts both employee satisfaction and business performance.
Employees who represent and passionately promote the brand but are not directly tied to the brand, marketing or communications functions. Ideally every employee in an organisation lives the values of the brand, but brand ambassadors go a step further: They rally other employees, advance the brand story, embody the values and help others to do the same. Brand influencers can come from any function in the organisation and be at any level of seniority or tenure—and they are usually natural leaders and influencers who other employees seek out for information.
A statement or short paragraph expressing a company’s core purpose or reason for being. The brand mission provide direction for the entire organisation and guides a company’s decision-making and strategic planning. By answering the question “What business are we in?” it can cover distinctive competencies, customer orientation, managerial preferences, environmental concerns and available resources. A mission is different from brand vision or vision statement, because the mission is what is accomplished every day while the vision an expression of a future state to be pursued.
The attribution of human characteristics or personality traits to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. These traits inform a number of key brand assets: how a brand looks (brand identity or visual identity), how a brand speaks (brand voice), how a brand acts (brand behaviors) and brand experience.
The distinctive position a brand adopts in the marketplace to ensure differentiation—often as a statement that describes the competitive, relevant and differentiating place the brand occupies in its defined market. Brand positioning is the unique experience that helps an organisation’s key target audiences tell the brand apart from direct and non-direct competitors. A strong positioning gives the brand a clear role in the world and is a combination of tangible and intangible benefits that help people connect with and choose the brand over any other.
A brand promise outlines the reciprocal relationship between the brand and its audience–it communicates the benefits and experiences the audience should expect in a way that connects emotionally, and therefore guides the organisation internally in order for its people to help deliver on that promise. It is important, as a brand defines this, that it not over promise to its audiences, which can result in loss of credibility and authenticity.
The most inspiring and compelling information an organisation can convey about its brand to its audience. The brand proposition is strong, concise, authentic and meaningful to people, and clearly outlines the benefit they get from the brand–one that no other brand can provide in the same way. It typically combines what a brand does exceptionally well, with its aspirations for the future. It is sometimes used interchangeably with brand promise, brand statement and even brand purpose.
A brand purpose is the expression of an organisation or company’s role in the world, and how that connects to its business strategy. It outlines the defendable, ownable and actionable impact that the brand has on its audiences, and how it delivers genuine value. The term purpose, however, has recently been used more and more to describe an organisation’s corporate citizenship or corporate social responsibility(CSR) stance, and how its values connect to the values of its audiences, especially in terms such as purpose-led or purpose-driven brands.
An integral part of Interbrand’s brand valuation methodology, brand strength is a detailed assessment designed to decide if the brand’s forecast earnings will be realized. Brand strength analysis measures the ability of the brand to create continuity of demand into the future and its potential to reduce risk. It takes both internal (management and employee) and external (customer) factors into account. Finally, these inputs are combined with an in-depth financial model of the business to measure the brand’s current and future ability to create economic value for its owner.
A set of beliefs or attributes that represent the code by which an organisation lives and operates–its strengths and how it positively impacts people, what it stands for, the things it holds dear, the principles that define how it behaves. It is literally documenting what a company values above all else. These attributes guide the actions of the organisation and are embodied both in business practices as well as in employees, acting as a benchmark to measure performance and behaviors. Brand values stem from the most core purpose and belief of an organisation and help deliver a brand’s promise in the marketplace.
A logotype, or wordmark, is the way a company, product or service name is designed. It typically incorporates a simply graphic treatment, such as a custom designed font or unusual rendering of letter forms, to make the name immediately identifiable and uniquely ownable. Examples of brand names that utilize a wordmark approach in their visual identity include Coca-Cola and Google.
The strategic use of music and sound to help brands better engage with their desired audiences, achieved through the use of proprietary and/or familiar sound and music that over time becomes increasingly associated with a brand in media and experience activations.
The short-form expression of a brand’s sonic identity. Analogous to the visual logo, the sonic logo serves as an audio brand signature to convey meaning and personality, and heighten attribution.