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Branding Terms

10 basic branding terms business owners and marketers should get to know.

Traditional Typesetting Letterforms

Business owner, marketing ‘freshers’ or change manager? If you are in the position of discussing changes to your business or product brand with a professional design consultancy, you may well come across terms and phrases that are unclear or a complete mystery.

The following is intended to help clarify exactly what is being written or talked about, aid your understanding and give you confidence in the process.

01 Brand

What is a brand?
Since its beginning, brands have evolved over time as outside influences have changed the way we do business and communicate commercially and socially. Today’s brands have become much more than the visual appearance and style of the business, they are equally about emotive responses and experiences that the business provides. These influences have now shaped the definition of a brand as…

The set of ideas a company or product stands for in people’s minds, shaped by that company or product’s actions and recognised through a visual and verbal style.

 It has many components and is the sum of its parts.

02 Brand Purpose

A difficult but core element of defining your brand. Why are you here what difference do you want to make to the world? A brand purpose is deeper than a vision, mission or objective, it defines why you exist at all. And the difference you want to make.

For example:
Tesla:
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.

Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.

03 Brand personality

Brands are a living entity created by the products and values that they represent as such they have a personality of their own.

Brand personality helps a business conveys what it would like its customers to feel about its products or services. Brand personalities elicit emotional response from specific consumers to encourage positive relationships that benefit the brand and the business.

Brand Personalities usually follow one of the following traits we term as CRESS:

Competence (reliable, intelligent, knowledgeable)
Ruggedness (tough, durable, external)
Excitement (adventurous, spirited, imaginative)
Sophistication (quality, afluent)
Sincerity (honest, cheerful)

04 Logo

This is the visual mark or symbol that represents the business, organisation or product it can consist of several components such as images, symbol and text.
They can be broken down into :

Wordmark: e.g.Google, Amazon, Canon
Letterform e.g. AA, V&A, Gucci
Abstract marks e.g. Apple, Unilever, lacoste
Emblems e.g. Tivo, Sports clubs, Military Services and regiments
Characters e.g. Michelin Man, Merecats, Duracell Bunny

Whatever the option, the main requirement is to make the logo as unique, business relevant, recognisable and memorable as possible.

05 Brand colour palette

The set of colours that a company prefers to be associated with its brand is known as the Brand colour palette. It is a standard set of colours that is applied to all marketing and branding materials, product packaging, web design, exhibitions and every touchpoint that the business uses to represent itself and communicate with.

Effective colour choice can be influenced by application and end uses and in large brand projects can involve significant research and testing. Handled well, it can have a positive impact on how your visitors relate to the brand and engage with the business.

06 Brand guidelines

Brand guidelines become the foundation of the way your brand is represented it offers a set of standard information on how the logo appears the colours that are used and the typefaces that are acceptable.

It offers examples of how collateral can be treated both verbally and visually. Where large organisations are involved it helps to maintain standardisation across all departments or business divisions, aligning the brand style and personality.

07 Tone of Voice

Voice is an emotive attribute of the brand and refers to the way the brand sounds to customers and stakeholders. Based on specific vocal and written word choices and language styles, a Tone of voice shapes a brand’s personality and how it is received and understood by the people it is trying to communicate with.

08 Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is the structure of brands within a business or range of products. It is the way in which brands relate and differentiated one another, it should be thought of as an integral part of brand building.

Brand architecture defines the hierarchy within the business, the position of the corporate and sub-brands and the core purpose of each other within corporate brand.

There are several variants to define a brand structure can be identified as:

Master Brand ie FedEx
Brand House ie Proctor and Gamble
Endorsed brand ie Apple – ipod  – iMac etc
Hybrid Brand of all 3 – Microsoft – mix of own products and stand alone brands.

09 Strapline

Some brands do not attempt to include straplines, maybe because they are not appropriate or that the brand emphasis and strength is in another direction. If necessary the Brand strapline should say what your brand stands for in just a few words.

The use of a strapline does have several benefits and include:
Instant brand positioning
Memory hook for prospects and customers
Strong recognition factor with your brand
Differentiator from your competitors

10 Touchpoints

To put it simply a brand touchpoint is anywhere a customer comes into contact with a brand. They cover vocal, visual and tactile elements and importantly need to reflect the brand vision and values.

They can have massive consequences on a brand and how flexible it needs to be to translate through each relevant touchpoint and deliver the right brand experience.

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