A reference guide for commonly used branding terms relating to a company’s branding and communication efforts.


Advertising is the communications that take place between a brand and its target audience using any paid media channels.


A standardized model of a personality or behavior. Brands are a lot like people, so we can use some of the same techniques to define a brand.


A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible and communicates specific information about an organization, product or service. A brand carries a “promise” about the qualities and characteristics that make the organization, product or service unique.

Brand Alignment

The practice of closely linking customer experience and brand strategy.

Brand Ambassadors

Individuals who represent a brand. Each company employee is expected to live the values of the brand, but brand ambassadors go a step further and promote its values through word-of-mouth, social media and other communication channels.

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is the structure of brands within an organizational entity and is part of your brand eco-system. It helps determine how to best build and scale your brand over time. Specifically, it sets out your plan to build one brand or multiple brands. And, if multiple brands, what will be the relationship between them? Child? Parent? etc.

Brand Asset

Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value, including brand associations, brand attributes, brand awareness or brand loyalty.

Brand Audit

A comprehensive and systematic examination of the brand, its communication efforts, its visual style and everything (both tangible and intangible) which relates to the brand.

Brand Awareness

The percentage of population or target market who are aware of the existence of a given brand or company. This allows marketers to quantify levels and trends in consumer knowledge and awareness of a brand’s existence.

Brand Consistency

The ability of the brand to remain consistent with its brand standards manual throughout all brand usage. More on Brand Consistency in Branding Consistency Defined [+]

Brand Ecosystem

The network of people who contribute to building a brand, including internal departments, external firms, industry partners, customers, users and the media.

Brand Essence

The brand’s promise expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms. For example, Mercedes promises Luxury. The most powerful brand essences are rooted in a fundamental customer need. Some examples are “Nike: Authentic Athletic Performance,” “Hallmark: Caring Shared,” “Disney: Fun Family Entertainment or “Disneyworld, Magical Fun,” “Starbucks: Rewarding Everyday Moments.”

Brand Experience

The brand experience is the means by which a brand is created in the mind of a stakeholder. Often this includes merchandising at retail, but it also applies to corporate environments and websites.

Brand Family

A series of related brands owned by the same company.

Brand Identity

The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand including the name, visual style, packaging, literature and graphic system. The brand’s identity is its fundamental means of consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors.

Brand Loyalty

The strength of preference for a brand compared to other similar available options. This is often measured in terms of repeat purchase behaviour or price sensitivity.

Brand Management

The process of managing a company’s brand in order to build brand equity and loyalty. The role of maintaining the brand standards, aligning them for maximum effectiveness, ensuring that they are not compromised by tactical actions and designing appropriate brand crisis management plans.

Brand Manager

To ensure a brand’s success, companies assign a brand manager to oversee market research, development, and the various marketing strategies of a brand.

Brand Personality

A brand personality is an expression of the fundamental core values and characteristics of a brand, described and experienced as human personality traits. Example: friendly, conservative, innovative etc.

Brand Platform

A corporate brand platform defines, in practical terms, how the organization applies the combination of its values and competencies to consistently create distinctive value for its customers. Put simply, it is a strategic statement or set of statements that encompass who your company is, what it does, how it plans to succeed, and why it is unique or different.

The Brand Platform consists of the following elements:

  • Brand Vision The brand’s guiding insight into its world and what it ultimately strives to achieve by completing its Brand Mission.
  • Brand Mission How the brand will act on its insight. It is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization, its reason for existing.
  • Brand Values The ethics by which the brand lives. The brand values act as a benchmark to measure behaviors and performance.
  • Brand Personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits to a brand so as to achieve differentiation. Personality gives life to a brand and creates likeability.
  • Brand Tone of Voice How the brand speaks to its audiences.

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. Effective Brand Positioning is contingent upon identifying and communicating a brand’s uniqueness, differentiation and verifiable value. It is important to note that “me too” brand positioning contradicts the notion of differentiation and should be avoided at all costs.

Brand Promise

The brand’s guarantee to fulfill a specific need or expectation for the consumer and for itself.

Brand Purpose

The reason a company exists beyond making a profit.

Brand Recall

A measurement of how strongly a brand name is connected with a category in the minds of an audience. The ability of the consumers to correctly generate and retrieve the brand in their memory.

Brand Recognition

A measurement of how familiar a brand is to an audience.

Brand Standards Manual

The word ‘Guidelines’ is often used as well, but implies flexibility. We use the term ‘Standards’, as the appearance, messaging and exposure of the corporate brand must be consistent. The Brand Standards is a document which provides the brand’s communcators with a common vision and the tools for using the visual identity consistently and efficiently.

Brand Steward

A person responsible for protecting and developing a brand. (See also Brand Manager)

Brand Story

A brand story is about creating cause and brand loyalty by telling stories that deliver a pattern of meaning for your audience in need of just that. A compelling brand story at its most basic communicates the brand’s value and values.

Brand stories consist of:

  • Engagement – how does the story foster participation with it and with other people?
  • Awareness – what do participants learn (and perhaps teach others) in the process?
  • Amusement – how does the story make you feel about yourself, your culture or your environment?
  • Experience – how does brand participation culminate in stories that live alongside or beyond the media channels they are delivered in?

Brand Strategy

A plan for the systematic development of a brand to enable it to meet its agreed objectives and how the brand intends to create customers and advance them beyond the reach of competitors. The strategy should be rooted in the brand’s mission and vision and driven by the principles of differentiation the brand offers.


An effort or program that builds a brand. It works to develop, define, influence and encourage perceptions.

Challenger Brand

A product, service, or company that competes with one or more stronger competitors in its category.


The discipline of developing verbal content for advertisements and related communications.

Core Values

An enduring set of principles that defines the ethics of a company.

Corporate Identity

The brand identity of a company, consisting of its key identifiers, such as its brand name, logo, typography, and colours.

Creative Brief

A document that outlines the succinct overview of the most important parameters of a design project, such as its context, goals, processes, and budgetary constraints.

Design Process

A method or framework for the execution of a creative project.


The process of establishing a unique market category to increase profit margins and avoid commoditization; a central principle of brand positioning.


A logo is a visual graphic that’s purpose is to represent the identity and the core values of an organization. A logo generally consists of a symbol, words and sometimes a tagline. A logo aids and promotes instant public recognition and reinforces the unique features and characteristics of the organization.


The process of spreading the brand message through media channels and advertising. Marketing is about communicating and delivering offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society.


When a company revisits their brand with the purpose of updating or revising based on internal or external circumstances. Rebranding is often necessary if the brand has outgrown its marketplace or its vision has changed.

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