17 Branding Terms You Should Know
Whether you are just starting out on your brand journey or you're a seasoned pro, I know that it can be hard to keep track of all the branding elements and terms that exist.
The following is a list that can, hopefully, help provide you with some guidance and clarity.
Unique Value Proposition
A brand’s value proposition refers to who they you are and how their unique background, perspective, approach and strengths will ultimately add value to their target. Knowing what sets your brand apart from others should help guide your brand's decision making. It should also help your brand define its efforts. This ensures they are all aligned, cohesive and in support of your overall purpose.
Unique Selling Proposition
A brand’s unique selling proposition is slightly more external, in that it aims to tell others why they ought to do business with you versus your competitors. Your unique selling proposition is about defining the key elements that will help differentiate your brand on the market. What unique service, product, value, perspective, etc. do you bring to table that makes doing business with you better than doing it with someone else.
A brand’s purpose is it’s why. It’s your brand’s raison d'être. Why does your brand do what it does? What motivates it to create, serve and support? Your brand’s purpose often serves to unite you and your audience under a common goal. For example, a brand’s purpose might be to empower young women in the STEM field. As a result, they offer classes, scholarships, networking events, etc.
A brand’s promise goes hand-in-hand with its purpose. A brand’s promise is the commitment it makes to meet expectations and deliver on the value, experience and quality that their customers have come to expect from them.
Brand messaging encompasses all of the written and verbal communication that a brand puts forth. Brand messaging covers everything from content, slogans, and elevator pitches to press releases and customer care responses. The key to successful messaging lies in authenticity and consistency. A brand’s messaging must always be cohesive and must always serve the larger brand purpose.
Your brand’s vision is what ultimately guides your brand purpose. It’s about looking ahead and envisioning what you ultimately see happening as a result of your commitment to your brand purpose and audience. Where do you see your brand heading? What do you see your efforts accomplishing?
Brand objectives and goals
Brand objectives and goals are the more tangible milestones you wish to accomplish along your business journey. Objectives are slightly smaller in scope. They serve to keep your efforts on track as you work towards meeting larger goals. Setting and editing goals is something that brands must do continuously. Meanwhile, goals can revolve around any aspect of your branding, for example: visibility, recognition, reputation, and reach.
Brand products and services
A large part of what defines your brand identity is what you do. The product and services you offer will inevitably shape how your brand comports itself. Furthermore, the sector, market and audience which it serves will also impact your brand’s need, actions, messaging, tone and so on.
A logo is graphic symbol that represents your brand. It helps visually identify your business and should reflect, in it's design, your unique value. The goal is for it to be both distinctive and memorable.
A slogan is a simple and memorable catchphrase that often accompanies a brand’s logo. It is meant to communicate what the brand is about. A successful slogan will help differentiate the brand and at the same time, will evoke positive emotions in those who hear it.
A brand’s voice is the way in which it communicates, whether that be in the interactions it has with others or the content it shares. It can include everything from the tone a brand uses; to its use of colloquialisms; to its sense of humor, or lack thereof. All brand messaging must employ a cohesive a brand voice, in order to inspire trust and build a solid reputation. The best way to ensure your brand voice is consistent is to make sure it's authentic. Your voice should always take into consideration your brand’s unique value proposition, audience, industry, purpose, message and values.
Typography is all about how text is arranged, and how it’s styled. Choosing the right typography is key, given that it can communicate a lot about brand’s personality. The right typography helps establish your brand tone and helps communicate your brand values.
Understanding the psychology of color is important when it comes choosing your brand's color palette. Even though a color might not evoke the same feeling in all individuals, there are some associations that are often made between specific colors and certain industries, emotions, actions and so forth. Beyond the color itself, its hue can also alter the way someone perceives it. Choosing the right palette can help your brand stand out, or even fit, if needed.
Your website is a critical part of your branding. It serves as a hub for your brand and as modern-day business card. It’s where your audience will learn about your brand story, fall in love with your mission and ultimately, make the decision to actively engage with your brand and its services.
Print (stationary, packaging, business cards, marketing collateral)
With the overabundance of information online, it’s important that brands think creatively, in order to stand out. One of those ways, and perhaps one of the most effective, is print communication. These days a simple handwritten letter can go a long way, as can clever packaging. A brand’s visual identity needs to account for online and offline communication.
Audio & Smell
Brands ought to think outside the box. Two clever ways to brand your business are through the use of audio and smell. Appealing to a person’s senses can often bring about feelings of nostalgia, or pleasure. By, for example, consistently playing the same music when someone browses your website or by spraying your products with the same scent, your customer begins to associate them with the positive experience they had with you.
Last, but certainly not least on this list, is brand experience. Brand experience is all encompassing. It refers to the feelings, sensations, thoughts and behaviors that your audience has while interacting with you. A positive brand experience is selling point in and of itself and it can certainly help differentiate you from competitors.
*There many other branding elements that were not included in this list, simply because I wanted to keep it relatively short. However, I encourage you to leave more down below!*