The Ultimate Guide to Brand Terminology

From brand ambassadors to buyer personas, brand dilution to vector files, it can feel like you need to learn to speak a new language to speak branding. While the lexicon can be initially confusing, I try not to get too micro and lost in definitions, but instead look more to the macro of understanding what branding should strive to accomplish.

Oftentimes branding and marketing are used interchangeably; while there are some similarities, they’re different. Branding is strategic while marketing is tactical. True branding is so much more than a logo or graphic element. Great branding creates loyal customers and passionate employees. It’s also a strategic piece of your marketing puzzle. Thought to only be reserved for the larger companies, branding is essential for nonprofits, small and medium-sized businesses, individuals in the form of personal branding — even special events.

A great brand inspires us to take some sort of action. Products and services can be copied and replicated, but successful and authentic brands have a purpose and can’t be duplicated — simply put, they’re unique.

You don’t need to become the Merriam-Webster of brand terminology, but these are a few of the top terms that we regularly use with clients. All business owners should familiarize themselves with these terms to create branding magic.

BRAND AMBASSADOR

An individual that’s employed by a company or organization to help raise brand awareness and increase sales. They complete a variety of tasks, ranging from promoting products or services to implementing marketing campaigns. (BetterTeam)

BRAND AWARENESS

The extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers and correctly associated with a particular product or service. The more familiar people are with something, the more they trust it and gravitate to it. (ThriveHive)

BRAND DILUTION

When a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in. (HubSpot)

BRAND EQUITY

A marketing term that describes a brand’s value. The value is determined by consumer perception and experiences with the brand. If people think highly of a brand, it has positive brand equity. When a brand consistently under-delivers and disappoints to the point where people recommend that others avoid it, it has negative brand equity. (Shopify)

BRAND IDENTITY

The collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. (99Designs)

BRAND STYLE GUIDE

The primary visual DNA of your company’s branding, which additionally can — and arguably should — reference grammar, tone, word usage, point of view, and more. Essentially, it’s a document that describes, defines and presents examples of what your brand looks like in various mediums, such as print and digital forms. (Executionists)

BRANDING

The process of giving a meaning to specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. (The Branding Journal)

EMPLOYER BRANDING

A company’s ability to differentiate and promote this identity to a defined group of candidates that they’re interested in hiring. (Beamery)

EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION

A set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization. (Talent Lyft)

FONT

A collection of characters with a similar design. These characters include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, punctuation marks, glyphs and symbols. (TechTerms)

LOGO

Simply a type of design a company, brand or individual chooses to represent themselves by. (DesignCrowd)

LOGOMARK

Refers to an image or symbol which represents a brand, and usually does not include the name of that company. (DesignCrowd)

LOGOTYPE

The logotype, also known as a “word mark”, is a brand name styled as a logo. (DesignCrowd)

MISSION STATEMENT

A short statement that focuses on today and what an organization does to achieve it. (ClearVoice)

PERSONAS

Personas are fictional “characters” that companies design to represent the real people that typically use or purchase a product or service. (Creative Market)

TAGLINE

One phrase (sometimes two) that provides clarity, entertainment, or emphasis to help highlight a brand’s mission, purpose, or culture. (Kajabi)

TYPOGRAPHY

The technique that you can use to arrange language in an organize manner. These characteristics can be the font type, size, the way the font is spaced, and even the different types of typefaces. (Freelancer)

VALUE PROPOSITION

A statement that answers the “why” someone should do business with you. It should convince a potential customer why your service or product will be of more value to them than similar offerings from your competition. (Kuno Creative)

VECTOR FILE

Constructed using mathematical formulas rather than individual colored blocks known as a raster (think a JPEG file format like a digital photograph), vector file types such as EPS, AI and occasionally PDF are excellent for creating graphics that frequently require resizing. (MODassic)

VISION STATEMENT

A short statement that focuses on tomorrow and what an organization wants to ultimately become. (ClearVoice)

Often, companies and individuals don’t pay attention to their brand or simply don’t make it a priority. But by not creating and cultivating a brand, you’re depriving your company — or yourself — of the highest potential reach.

This list isn’t all-inclusive, but familiarizing yourself with these terms will help to get you on your way to branding success. Remember, branding isn’t rocket science, but it does take time to do it right.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dad • Storyteller • Brand Builder ∙ Nonprofit Leader • Co-founder of #BODDHIbranding and #LeightonsGift • Head of Brand #TSProckstars