Every industry has its fancy terms, and this is true for branding too.
Experts like to throw words like “positioning” or “brand personality” at us but this doesn’t mean we have to feel intimidated. Actually, these branding terms can be explained in everyday language and this is what I attempt to do in this post.
Not fun enough? You know what, I added a few cute comics too, that you can download and print.
WHY do you need to understand these branding terms
The proper understanding of branding terms matters because as you build your own brand, you’ll face many of them in books, articles and podcasts. You must know what they mean in order to apply the techniques you are learning.
In other cases, you’ll work with contractors (a designer, a marketing adviser, a branding agency, etc.) who are aware of the proper meaning of these branding terms. You might cause a misunderstanding by using them incorrectly.
In one of my jobs, my employer referred to the logos that they put on their packaging as “our brands”. When they told me that one of my tasks would be to develop a new brand, I was super excited. However, what they really meant was that I had to create a new logo, preferably within 24 hours… yep, I realized that our view of branding and the logo design process was not on the same page…
10 KEY BRANDING TERMS
BRAND & BRANDING
Your brand refers to how your target market distinguishes your company and its values from a similar company. A brand has visible and intangible features that can influence this target market.
Visible can be for example the colors that you use for your brand, the packaging or your logo. Intangible can be your customer’s experience when shopping in your store.
Companies use branding attributes (logos, marks, names or phrases) to make their product or service stand out from the crowd but don’t forget, a brand is not just about the look.
Branding is the process of discovering and communicating the uniqueness of your company, products and services to your target market.
BRAND VISUAL IDENTITY & LOGO
There are many design elements that distinguish the brand from others. The logo is the main symbol that people associate with a brand and it helps customers easily recognize a product made by a specific company. Other visual elements are the color palette, the fonts and even the style of the images that the brand uses. These all together form the brand’s visual identity system.
Did you know that your brand has a personality? Yep, your brand can be friendly, honest, trustworthy or passionate. You must define and communicate these personality traits so that the brand feels more human and your customers can relate to it more easily.
The key things you have to master in order to communicate your brand’s personality and message are the brand voice and tone.
Brand voice is the distinct expression of your brand through words. It conveys the overarching personality of your brand through your website copy, ads, emails, any content you produce.
Brand tone is how you apply your brand voice in different situations. You adjust your tone according to who you are talking to and what you are talking about, but your voice remains the same.
Brand experience is how your customer feels when interacting with your brand. A good brand experience can turn novice customers into loyal fans.
Brand positioning is a marketing strategy that aims to make your brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of your customers. Once a brand is positioned, it is very difficult to reposition it without destroying its credibility.
Brand awareness means how much customers know about your brand. If you can increase your brand awareness, that means that more and more people know about your company and what you offer.
BRAND EXTENSION & SUB BRANDS
Brand extension is when a company decides to start offering a new product category and extends the brand to cover it – instead of creating a new brand. This works really well if your brand is already well established because you’ll be able to advertise to your existing clientele and bank on your reputation.
For example, Google has already been a successful search engine when it extended its brand to be an email service provider.
Sub brands are under a main brand and often has their own unique look. A good example is Coke Zero which is the sub-brand of Coca-Cola.
The most important for you, if you are just starting your business, is to focus on building one main brand first. And when you’re ready, you’ll be able to extend it or create sub-brands.
From next week, you start learning about the brand visual identity. We are going to go through step-by-step everything from mood boards and logo creation to color palettes, fonts and stock photos. If you have questions related to brand visual identity, send me them in email so that I can include them in the upcoming posts.
Finally, if you liked this post, make sure to pin this image to your Pinterest board so others can also learn about these key branding terms.