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Branding Terminology You Need to Know

14 Min Read

So, you know what a brand is.

(Need a refresher? Check out our guide here.)

But what about all those terms that start with “brand”? Brand equity, brand guidelines, brand valuation . . . the list goes on and on. It’s hard to keep all these terms straight, so allow us to take care of that for you.

Here’s our list of the most important branding terminology you need to know. 

Brand Ambassador

A brand ambassador is someone who represents the brand in some way. Each company will have a different idea of exactly what this means, but typically a brand ambassador will tackle anything from sharing branded content with their personal followers to leading demonstrations at events. 

The essence of a brand ambassador’s role is to make the brand look good and generate awareness or sales. Ambassadors are almost always compensated in some way. Common compensation arrangements include providing product samples or credits, paying a commission on sales, paying an hourly rate, or paying a flat rate per social post or event.

Pro tip: people often use the terms “brand ambassador” and “brand evangelist” interchangeably. While there are some subtle distinctions between the two, a brand evangelist fulfills the same function of promoting a brand to another audience. 

Brand Archetype

The dictionary definition of “archetype” is “a very typical example of a certain person or thing.” Archetypes exist in every form of creative expression, representing a kind of model of a common character type, situation, action, or series of events. 

So, how does this relate to brands? Brand archetypes are used in branded messaging as a way to tell a deeper story without needing a complex narrative. The idea is that when we recognize an archetype, we fill in some of the context ourselves and connect to the emotions or behaviors that we’ve associated with the same concept in the past. 

Carl Jung, the psychologist who came up with the concept of archetypes, defined twelve brand archetypes: The Innocent, The Everyperson, The Hero, The Outlaw, The Explorer, The Creator, The Ruler, The Magician, The Lover, The Caregiver, The Jester, and The Sage. 

We go into more detail about each of the twelve archetypes (and show video examples!) here if you want to see each archetype in action. 

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is a term that explains the system companies use to organize brands into subsections. The brand architecture illustrates the hierarchy of the brands and the way they relate to each other. Many larger companies have established sub-brands that fall beneath their “master brand” (also called a parent brand), which is the overarching brand that contains each of the sub-brands.

Brand architecture is especially important for brands that don’t have a clear natural link to each other. For example, most people probably know that the JW Marriott hotel chain falls within the Marriott brand. But, do those same people realize that Sheraton is also part of the Marriott brand? Brand architecture expresses these relationships and is important in clarifying the brand hierarchy in the minds of consumers. 

Brand Assets

Brand assets are the components of a company that make it differentiable from other businesses. Assets can be tangible or intangible, including everything from a name and logo to a unique smell (if you’ve ever walked into a Hollister, you know what we’re talking about). Other examples of brand assets are typefaces, mascots, color schemes, or soundtracks. 

Some marketers make a distinction between brand elements and brand assets. They’ll use brand elements to refer to all of these company characteristics, and only denote something as a brand asset if it possesses inherent value to the company. The value is typically measured in uniqueness and recognition power, but the distinction is relatively subjective. For someone who only needs a basic understanding of branding, the two terms are relatively comparable. 

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness refers to people recognizing a brand and associating it with the correct product or service offering. This is a critical factor when people are shopping for something they need. If someone is standing in a grocery store aisle and they know they need deodorant, brand awareness will likely determine which products they consider buying. This is even more important for online retailers, where there’s less of an opportunity to accidentally come across other brand options.

When it comes to generating brand awareness, brand videos are useful because they can illustrate product features or points of distinction along with the brand’s voice, imagery, and overall personality. Lifestyle videos are especially effective in capturing the brand personality in a way that will be memorable in the minds of consumers. 

Brand Equity

Brand equity is closely related to brand awareness. As we’ve learned, brand awareness is important because it captures the way consumers recognize your offering as being distinct from competitors. 

Brand equity is the additional value that your brand accumulates because of this recognition. It’s essentially the value that people assign to the brand name, and it’s sometimes quantified by how much more people are willing to pay for a name brand than a generic competitor. This article is a great resource to learn about the different ways to measure brand equity. 

Often, brands with high levels of equity can get away with charging a significantly higher price than their competitors because consumers are willing to pay the difference. Another benefit of having positive brand equity occurs when a brand wants to expand or modify its product offerings. 

If a well-known brand with positive brand equity releases a product, that brand equity affects the popularity of the new product even before consumers have actually tried it. The preconceived notions of the brand’s quality and features, derived from experiences with existing products, are assumed to apply to the new product as well. 

Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are a set of rules and conventions that the company follows in order to have consistent messaging. They’re often documented in what’s called a “Brand Style Guide,” which can cover everything from acceptable logo use to whether or not your brand will use Oxford commas in written material. Spotify’s branding guidelines, found here, provide an example of the types of conventions brands typically set. 

New brands (or existing brands without a cohesive messaging plan) should create a Brand Style Guide to ensure that all content is consistent and all relevant teams are on the same page.

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty refers to the way customers become devoted to one specific brand’s products or services despite having other available alternatives. It’s based on trust, as the consumer has confidence in the brand and doesn’t want to jeopardize the experience they’ve come to expect by switching to an alternative. 

It can be measured in a variety of ways, but many companies use customer surveys to get in the minds of their customers. This article shares some of the ways you might measure brand loyalty with specific survey questions. 

Brand loyalty is valuable for many reasons. For one thing, loyal customers are unlikely to switch to competing products—even if they’re cheaper or more convenient to buy. For another thing, loyal customers may share their passion for a brand with others in their inner circle, influencing others to give the brand a try. 

Brand loyalty is the driving force behind the consumer base of companies like Apple whose customers are unwavering in their devotion to the products. Coca-Cola is another classic example, with loyal Coke fans scoffing at the idea of having to drink a Pepsi instead. Many Coke drinkers would rather skip the beverage altogether than have to accept Pepsi as an alternative. That’s the power of brand loyalty. 

Brand Management

Brand management is often a function of a company’s marketing team, and it refers to the process of using marketing techniques to positively influence the perception of the brand over time. This may include proactive measures like releasing video campaigns to drive brand loyalty or reactive measures like addressing customer concerns or negative press. Most companies take an approach that incorporates both proactive and reactive measures depending on the scenario.  

Brand Positioning

Like many of the other terms on this list, brand positioning has to do with the way consumers perceive your brand. It’s defined as the space a brand owns in the mind of a customer, or how the customer perceives the brand’s position in the market.

Brand positioning is important because there are many options for consumers to perceive a brand. They might associate one brand with having a cheap disposable product, while another brand has a luxury version of the same item. The company’s marketing should support the positioning that makes the most sense for the product or service.

When deciding how to position a brand, marketers often consider a few key points. One is that the space you want to fill in the consumer’s mind should be relevant to consumers. If they don’t find your position to be appealing, it doesn’t matter how strongly they associate it with your brand—they won’t want to buy from you.

A second key point is that it’s important to differentiate from competitors. You’ll want to make it clear to consumers how you think your brand stands out from the competition. When done right, brand positioning is a powerful tool to prime consumers to remember a brand when they’re thinking of making a purchase. 

Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is an overarching term that contains many of the other terms on this list. It refers to the long-term plan that a company defines to achieve its branding goals. It should inform decisions involved in developing marketing campaigns like the campaign’s messaging, tone, and channels. 

Brand Valuation

Brand valuation is a dollar value that incorporates intangible assets into a brand’s overall value. It’s designed to factor in the value of a name, logo, or even the position a brand has in the minds of consumers. There are a couple of common approaches to calculating a brand valuation, so figures often differ (sometimes by significant amounts) based on the chosen approach. Regardless of the approach, a brand’s valuation can be important for internal goal-setting, legal disputes, alignment of initiatives between corporate departments, and more.

Conclusion

Whether you’re starting to build your brand strategy from scratch or looking for new ways to drive customer loyalty, video content should be part of your marketing plan. If video production isn’t your thing, Lemonlight can help! Schedule a free creative call with one of our strategists and we’ll help you decide how to boost your brand most effectively. 

 

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