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The word “brand” has entered into almost everyone’s vocabulary. But if you were to ask people “what is a brand?” you’d get a variety of answers. It’s one of those words whose meaning can change with context.

It can be a noun - “I prefer this brand of cola” – or a verb –“I want to brand this campaign.” And if you’ve ever worked with a designer or a marketing person, you know that there are a myriad of other terms that stem off this one little word. Here, to make life a little less confusing, I’ve clarified some of those key terms for you:

Brand: A brand is not a logo; it is the emotional and psychological connection your company, product or service has with your customers. It is their collective perception and impression. Branding is the act of shaping that perception.

Brand identity: This is the visual and verbal expression of the brand. It is tangible; you can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it.

Brand promise: This is the commitment to deliver made between a brand and its audience. For example, Coca Cola’s brand promise is “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.” A brand promise needs to be authentic or it will not be effective.

Brand touchpoints: A brand touchpoint occurs any time a person in the marketplace interacts with the brand. This means any mention of the brand and any application of the logo. This includes websites, letterhead, ads, speeches, word of mouth, sales promotion, social media, etc, etc.

Brand Equity: This is the public's valuation of a brand. Brand equity is associated with wide recognition, customer loyalty, and the market share enjoyed by the branded product or service.

Brand Architecture: This is the relative structure of an organization’s brands, the way in which the brands within a company’s portfolio are related to, and differentiated from, one another — like a brand “family tree.”

Brand Values: These define the code by which the brand lives. The brand values act as a benchmark to measure behaviours and performance.

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