No matter how large or small your business, branding is key to its success. Branding is fundamental, essesential and basic -- without it, there is no differentiation between your product and anyone else's and no route to long-term profitability.
Because branding plays such a crucial role in overall business strategy, we're offering a little refresher in this Back to the Basics post. Here's a list of 16 crucial branding terms every business owner should know.
1. Brand: A distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market.
2. Brand Asset: Any aspect of a brand that has strategic value — e.g., visual symbols, slogans, sounds, photos, mascots, etc.
3. Brand Equity: A brand’s power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins against competing brands.
4. Brand Experience: Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand‘s design and identity, packaging, communications and environments.
5. Brand Extension: A common method of launching a new product by using an existing brand name on a new product in a different category. Think Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner.
6. Brand Identity : How a business wants its brand’s name, communication style, logo and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers.
7. Brand Image : How consumers actually perceive a brand.
8. Brand Promise: Consumer expectations about what the brand will deliver. The experience — good or bad — one can expect from a brand. When an organization defines its brand promise, it should be differentiated, relevant, credible and irreproducible.
9. Co-branding: A marketing partnership between at least two different brands of goods or services. Think Dairy Queen and the Girls Scouts’ Thin Mint Blizzard.
10. Differentiation: Creation or demonstration of unique characteristics in a company’s products or brands compared to those of its competitors.
11. Positioning Statement: A written description of the position that a company wishes itself, its product or its brand to occupy in the minds of a defined target audience.
12. Rebranding: When a business or organization decides to change a significant element of the brand. Changes can be very obvious such as a new logo or more subtle such as a slight shift in messaging.
13. Repositioning : Communications activities to give an existing product a new position in customers’ minds
14. Tagline: A frequently repeated word, phrase or statement that captures the essence of a brand’s promise. An expression that conveys the most important attribute or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey.
15. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) : The driving competitive advantage of a product.
16. Visual Identity : What a brand looks like – including logo, typography, packaging, etc.
***Many thanks to Brand Channel, AMA, Investopedia, Financial Brand and Columbia Business School for these definitions.