A handful of branding term definitions to help you come across as just dangerous enough to be knowledgable.
An overall term to describe the image of an entity like a corporation or a product. The narrow definition is limited to the core elements that make up the visual expression of a brand. The broad definition frames it as the way the brand is collectively perceived by people that know about it. The more people that know about it, and the more positive their perception is, the stronger the brand equity.
A tool that helps companies understand and empathize more deeply with their target audience. Each persona is an archetypal model of an audience segment. They are based on real research and created to provide quick access to an audience segment’s background, mindset, and chief concerns so we can connect with them in an authentic way, anticipate their needs and delight them.
A tool that helps teams identify opportunities to create customer value at every stage of the customer lifecycle, across all touch points.
A company’s higher purpose—why they are in the business they are in—thinking of it in a way that’s bigger than them. What are we doing for the world and posterity?
A brief statement clarifying what the company aims to achieve.
A brief strategic statement clarifying how the company intends to realize its vision.
A brief list of core beliefs that will drive the company’s business decisions, behavior, and all expressions of the brand.
A brief strategic statement clarifying what the company does for who, why it’s different and superior, and how consumers of its products and services benefit. This statement is central to the brand and business.
A list of 3–4 differentiated, defensible core competiencies from which the positioning statement is built.
The overall spirit of the brand described through familiar human traits.
Closely associated with the brand personality, the brand attributes are a list of adjectives and accompanying clarifying statements that describe the spirit of the brand. The attributes form the key criteria for all expressions of the brand.
A functional descriptor, most often displayed with the company logo, to let people know, straight away, what business the brand is in and where to place the company in their mind’s eye. Example: Whirlpool Home Appliances.
An emotional line, often displayed with the company logo, intended to let people know how they should feel about the brand. Example: BMW The ultimate driving machine.
An internal statement that describes the superior experience the company promises to deliver consistently. The brand promise is often displayed centrally within an organization as a reminder of what customers expect and as a rally cry to provide the most exceptional products and services.
A short story of how the company came into being. Who formed it? What passion and market need, sparked it? What are the interesting points in its development? Everyone loves a good story, and these help a brand feel human and authentic.
An overarching term used to describe the core elements of a brand identity system, typically: the brand name, byline, tagline, logo, corporate colors, corporate typography, a basic stationery set and basic business forms.
A unique graphic symbol associated with a brand at the highest level.
The unique visual, typographic treatment of the brand name. Often used together with a logomark to form a complete “logo”, or sometimes standing alone as the logo.
All of the different parts of the core brand identity organized into one (or a few) approved arrangement(s). Often includes the Logo (logomark and word mark), byline, and tagline.
The manner in which a brand is expressed through graphics, language, content, meaning, context and behavior.
The personality and tone of the verbal expressions of the brand.
The key concepts that are strategically delivered to specific people at the right time, in the right place.
A common term used to describe the most concise verbal explanation of a brand’s offering, it’s differentiated value proposition, and for whom it’s intended.
A document describing the brand concept, specifying all its parts, and providing a set of guidelines to help govern the way people use the brand so everyone can be good stewards for it. The Brand Guidebook acts as an agreement between all stakeholders for what the brand represents, and how everyone will take care of it.
Tony is a strategic design leader with 25 years experience in brand strategy & development, user experience strategy & design, advertising, creative direction, graphic design, writing, performance-based digital marketing, sales enablement, account planning and management, and design management.
After holding design leadership positions at several firms in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and teaching design thinking, disruptive innovation and strategic management as an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design, Tony opened Brinton Design in 2015.
He's passionate about art & design, teaching, storytelling and humanizing technology. Tony works at the intersection of business, design and technology to improve people's quality of living and create new value for organizations.