As a creative agency, it’s not uncommon for us to work with stakeholders who may not be experts in branding. It’s a conceptual practice and some of the terms can seem to overlap and may not be clearly understood. To add to the confusion, different people sometimes have their own preferred terminology – one marketer’s brand book is another’s brand style guide or guardrails. In the interests of clarity and shared understanding, we’ve put together a short glossary of terms we use at Embrace.

Brand architecture

The relative structure of an organisation’s brands, brand architecture can be thought of a brand ‘family tree’. It shows the way that brands within a company’s portfolio are related to and differentiated from one another. The brand architecture is designed to provide clarity for the customer, rather than following accounting, reporting or historical structures.

Brand assets

A set of (usually digital) elements, such as logo and tagline that allow customers to recognise and identify the brand and recall associations with it. Activating brand assets consistently across all marketing touchpoints helps build trust and brand coherency and reach a wider audience.

Brand equity

This is the commercial value that comes from customer perception of a brand name. Brand equity lies in consumer’s awareness of brand features and associations, which drive attribute perceptions. It can be seen as the monetary difference between a product with a recognisable name and a generic equivalent, or the market share a brand gains through reputation alone. Sometimes when people talk about brand equity, they mean the total economic value of a brand and its assets.

Brand guidelines / brand book / brand bible / brand style guide / brand guardrails

A comprehensive reference document to that sets out the rules and recommendations for enacting all brand work by internal staff and external agencies. It provides guidance and context for understanding the brand vision, purpose, personality and voice. It establishes correct usage and approved variants of all visual identity assets and defines key messages to be communicated.

Brand identity

In design terms, brand identity means the visual elements that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers' mind. This includes logo, typography, colours, packaging and graphics. Strategists and other marketers sometimes use this in a broader sense to encompass brand personality as well.

Brand image
The general impression of a product or service held by current or potential customers.

Brand personality

A set of human characteristics or personality traits attributed to a brand. It differentiates the brand from others in a relatable way. Brand personality is aimed at eliciting an emotional response in a specific target audience. It acts as a framework that helps a company shape the way people feel about the brand.

Brand position / positioning

This is the distinctive position a brand adopts in the marketplace to help audiences tell it apart from competitors. It’s often expressed as a statement that gives the brand a clear role in the world and a combination of tangible and intangible benefits. Marketing efforts give depth to the intended brand position, to help make it a reality in the mind of the customer.

Brand promise

The value or experience a company's customers can expect to receive when they interact with that company. The function of the brand promise is to guide the organization internally so that its people can deliver on that promise.

Brand proposition / unique selling proposition (USP) / value proposition

Compelling and concise information that outlines the benefits audiences get from a brand that no other can provide in the same way.

Brand purpose

This is the ‘why?’ of your brand. It conveys a company’s reason to exist beyond making money. Brand purpose is increasingly important, as companies are judged more and more on their corporate social responsibility. It should be defendable and actionable, showing how a brand delivers value beyond the bottom line.

Brand values

An unwavering set of attributes that act as guiding principles for all of a brand’s decisions and behaviours. Values sit at the very core of the brand and shape its personality, voice and visual identity.

Brand vision

Brand vision, usually expressed as a statement, sets out a roadmap for the future driven by its core values. Its purpose is to motivate employees and serve as a reminder of brand goals over the next five, ten, or fifteen years. The best brand vision statements are short, unambiguous and ambitious.

Brand voice / tone of voice

A distinct style of writing and communicating that expresses a brand’s values and personality. Tone of voice guidelines show how voice is underpinned by brand personality and position the writing style in terms of aspects such as formality, warmth and expertise. Practical tactics to achieve accurate and consistent brand voice may include guidance on pace, use of pronouns and technical language. Different aspects of tone of voice may be dialled up in different contexts.

If you'd like to talk to us about any aspect of branding, do get in touch.