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Branding Terminology and Jargon

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 10:02pm Monday 02 March 2009    Print Article

Here is a quick overview of some branding terminology and jargon that is thrown around by marketers and branding consultants. These definitions will provide a valuable reference list for future marketing and branding activities.

Brand - A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, association, trademark or design which is intended to identify the products or services of one provider or group of providers, and to differentiate them from those of competitors. A brand has functional and emotional elements which create a relationship between customers and the product or service.

Branding - The process of building a positive collection of perceptions in your customer's mind

Brand Architecture - The method by which an organisation structures and names the brands within its portfolio. There are three main types of brand architecture system:
  • Monolithic – where the corporate name is used on all products and services offered by the company
  • Endorsed – where all sub-brands are linked to the corporate brand by means of either a verbal or visual endorsement
  • Freestanding – where the corporate brand operates merely as a holding company, and each product or service is individually branded for its target market.
Brand Attributes - The functional and emotional associations which are assigned to a brand by its customers and prospects. Brand attributes can have different degrees of relevance and importance to different customer segments, markets and cultures.

Brand Audit – A comprehensive and systematic examination of a brand involving activities (both tangible and intangible) to assess the health of the brand, uncover its sources of equity and suggest ways to improve and leverage that equity. The brand audit requires the understanding of brand equity sources from the perspective of both the firm and the consumer.

Brand Awareness - A common measure of marketing communications effectiveness. Brand awareness is measured as the proportion of target customers which has prior knowledge of the brand. It is measured by two distinct measures; brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition is the customers' ability to confirm prior exposure/knowledge of a brand when shown or asked explicitly about the brand (also referred to as aided or prompted awareness). Brand recall is the customers' ability to retrieve a brand from memory when given the product category but not mentioning of the brand (also referred to as spontaneous or unaided awareness).

Brand Champion - Internal and external advocates of the brand empowered with the task of spreading the brand’s vision and values and promoting its purpose within an organisation.

Brand Commitment - The degree to which a customer is committed to a given brand based on the likelihood of them re-purchasing in the future. This indicates the degree to which a brand’s customer franchise is protected from competitors.

Brand Equity - The value of your brand as an asset, based on its qualities, reputation, and recognition as well as the commitment and demand it generates. A valuable brand results in customer relationships that secure future earnings by developing brand passion and loyalty.

Brand Essence - The distillation of a brand’s intrinsic characteristics into a succinct core concept.

Brand Experience - The means by which a brand is created in the mind of a stakeholder. Experiences can be influenced by personal contact, retail environments, advertising, products, services, websites etc. Some are uncontrolled eg word of mouth. Strong brands arise from consistent experiences which combine to form a clear, differentiated overall brand experience.

Brand Extension - Leveraging the values of the brand to take it into new markets or sectors.

Brand Guidelines - Internal tools available to educate, reinforce and motivate all involved in building and maintaining strong brands. Brand guidelines are crucial in establishing and enhancing a strong and dedicated brand culture. The brand guidelines can take various forms and methods, and could consist of brand vision, brand identity, brand strategy guidelines, a short description of the brand, brand values, brand positioning, positioning guidelines, communication tips, writing style guidelines, design style guidelines, and company-wide contact details to obtain more information from central brand management.

Brand Identity - The outward expression of the brand, including its name and visual appearance. The brand’s identity is its fundamental means of consumer recognition and differentiation from competitors. The marks that visually present your brand, usually in the form of a logo, symbol, or a unique typestyle

Brand Image - The set of beliefs about what your brand is and what it stands for that exists in the customer's mind as a result of associations with you and your name

Brand Loyalty - Brand loyalty is the strength of preference for a brand compared to other similar available brand options. It is measured through a range of different dimensions e.g. repeat purchase behavior, price sensitivity.

Brand Management - This involves ongoing management of the functional and emotional experiences of the brand. Controlling the presentation of your brand identity and brand message across your entire organization and through all media and communication outlets These can range from exposure to products, packaging and price – to the customer experience of marketing activities and interaction with people.

Brand Personality - Includes all the tangible and intangible traits of a brand, say beliefs, values, prejudices, features, interests, and heritage. A brand personality makes it unique. It describes a brand in terms of human characteristics. It is seen as a valuable factor in increasing brand engagement and brand attachment, in much the same way as people relate and bind to other people.

Brand Positioning - The distinctive position that a brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals in its target market can tell the brand apart from others. Positioning involves the careful manipulation of every element of the marketing mix.

Brand Slogan/ Brand Tagline - An easily and recognisable and memorable phrase which often accompanies a brand name in marketing communications programs. The brand slogan and tagline helps customers to remember the brand and reinforces mental associations.

Brand Strategy - The 'big picture' plans and tactics deployed by an organisation/brand owner to create long-term brand equity and competitive advantages from branding. The strategy should be rooted in the brand’s vision and driven by the principles of differentiation and competitive advantage.

Brand Tone of Voice - How the brand speaks to its audiences.

Brand Valuation - The process of identifying and measuring the economic benefit that derives from brand ownership.

Brand Value Proposition - The functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits delivered by the brand that combined provide value to the customer. The brand value propositions provide the rationale (tangible and intangible dimensions and associations) for making one brand choice over other available brand choices.

Brand Vision - A concise statement of what a brand means to its owners and their intent for its future direction.

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