Ever wondered what brand assets are? Do you know the difference between a logo, a brand identity and a brand? I know that branding terms can be confusing. That’s why I made a brand glossary.
Branding Terms from A-Z
There are various definitions of the term brand. For example, “brand” may get used as a synonym for “company”.
In branding, the term brand refers rather to the reputation of a company. Brands are created from expectations, memories and stories—and from a company‘s ability to live up to these.
Brand architecture is a system for organising individual brands within a corporation. There are two main types of brand architecture with several hybrids in-between.
- Branded House: All products get marketed under the same parent brand and identity, e.g. FedEx.
- House of brands: Under one parent brand, each sub-brand has an individual name and identity. An example is Unilever.
Brand assets are sensual cues that trigger a specific brand name in the minds of consumers. A brand asset can be, for example, a logo, brand typography, a tagline or a jingle.
Examples of successful brand assets are the Nike swoosh or their slogan “Just do it”.
Brand awareness is the consumer’s ability to identify a particular brand. To increase brand awareness, a company needs to strengthen its brand assets, i.e. do marketing.
Marketing material is any medium created to promote a company and its products or services. It can reach from a brochure to a landing page and beyond.
Brand colours are the system that specifies which colours are used by a company and how. The goal is to convey a consistent and recognisable image.
Brand culture gets often referred to as the DNA of a brand. It is a combination of values, beliefs and attitudes that shape how employees and other stakeholders interact with each other and their customers. Ultimately, the entire behaviour of a brand is an expression of its brand culture.
Brand equity is the measurable value of the brand. It’s the premium people are prepared to pay—or not pay—for a branded product compared to a generic product.
The brand essence is the central idea that summarises the substance of a brand in no more than three words. For example, “safety” (Volvo) or “spreading ideas” (TEDx).
Brand identity is the sum of all elements created to express an organisation’s distinctive personality. Brand identity plays a crucial role in differentiating the company from its competitors. It is composed of visual and verbal identity.
- The visual identity is a set of graphic elements that a company uses to communicate. The visual identity includes rules on the logo, typography, colour, layout, imagery, etc.
- The verbal identity is a set of lingual elements with which a company communicates. It includes rules on storytelling, messaging, tonality, etc
Brand Identity gets also referred to as corporate identity or CI.
Brand loyalty is when a consumer trusts a brand and consumes its products repeatedly. Some brands like Johnny Cupcakes have such loyal customers that they form a kind of tribe.
Brand messaging is the art of using the right words to communicate the essence of your brand. Simply put, brand messaging defines what a brand says and how it says it. It includes the tone of voice, an elevator pitch, a tagline, website copy and more.
The brand mission is a statement on how a company will achieve its vision. The brand mission can serve as a guide for all future decision-making.
The brand name is the title assigned to a product, service or organisation. It serves to identify the company among its competitors and verifies a certain quality, similar to a seal of approval.
Brand personality is a set of human characteristics assigned to a brand, consistent with its mission and values. When implemented well, the brand personality shines through all brand experiences.
The plant-based milk brand Oatly offers a good example of a strong brand personality. Oatly is rebellious, quirky and kind, which shows in its design and marketing.
Brand pillars are the core areas of branding: purpose, perception, personality, position and promotion.
Brand positioning means identifying an area a brand can own—a place it can occupy in people’s minds that sets it apart from its competition.
Volvo, for example, is a car for people who value safety. Mercedes is for those who want a reliable, luxurious car. And Tesla is for those valuing sustainability and their ego.
Brand salience indicates how easily your brand comes to mind when making a purchase decision. Brand positioning—being known for one thing—plays a role in building salience. Strong brands have high salience, weak brands have weak or no salience.
Brand strategy is a long-term plan for building brand awareness and preference. It considers the competition, target audience, trends and internal dynamics of a company. Ultimately, the brand strategy helps a company focus and tell a coherent story.
Brand Style Guide
A brand style guide is a comprehensive document that ensures the consistency of the entire brand communication—especially when multiple authors are involved.
What is a brand style guide, and which format is best for yours? Read more here.
Brand touchpoints are any interactions or experiences a person may have with a brand, such as social media, website, shop or trade show booth.
Brand typography is a system that defines which typefaces a brand uses and how to create a consistent and recognisable image.
How to find the perfect typefaces for your brand? Find out here.
Brand values are the core beliefs held by a company. They serve as the company’s compass for all decision-making. Brand values also play an important role in creating a shared identity between the company and its audience, which builds the basis for trust.
The brand vision is a statement of what a company wants to achieve in the long term. A vision statement may sound like this: “A world in which … [something is different].”.
Branding is the active process of shaping the image that people form about a company. Branding does not stop at logo design. Visual and verbal identity as well as brand experience design are all part of branding.
A logo is a symbol consisting of typography, an image, a shape or a combination. A logo helps to identify an organisation. A common misconception is that the logo needs to tell a story.
Rebranding is the process of revising a brand identity. Rebranding is often the response to a change in the market or an evolution of the company—when the brand no longer matches its identity. Rebranding involves an analysis of the target audience, competition, internal dynamics of the company and trends.
A tagline is a short, memorable phrase that represents a brand. A punchy tagline helps identify the brand, even if the brand name is not visible. “Think different”. “Just do it”. “I’m Lovin’ It”. You probably know which brands these taglines belong to, don’t you?
I hope this brand glossary helps you understand the subtle differences between different branding terms. If you have input or questions, I would like to hear from you!
 Well said by 99 Designs