Business | Graphic design

Common Branding Terms Explained

January 15, 2020

The word branding is thrown around a lot these days. It can be confusing, yet all businesses must understand it. Here are some branding terms explained:

Brand – Your brand is made up of tangible and intangible things that tell your story and help you connect with your audience. It is both what your customers think of you and how you try to influence these thoughts.

Branding – Branding is the act of working on or building your brand.

Brand Identity – Your brand identity includes the different pieces used to communicate to your audience (logo, colors, fonts, voice, tone, language, name, icons, etc.)

Visual Identity – This is the collection of visual items used to represent your brand, including your logo, colors, fonts, patterns, illustrations, etc. These items should tell your story visually and appeal to your ideal audience.

Brand Attributes – These are the words used to describe the personality of your brand (friendly, educational, colorful, serious). Your company values will help you determine these attributes. Everything you put out there should relate directly to an attribute.

Brand Messaging – This is what you want to say to your audience. Are you an expert in your field? How can you help your ideal client? What problem do you solve? Why should they hire you?

Brand Voice – This is the way you communicate your message. What language do you use? What tone of voice? Your brand attributes will determine some of this.

Brand Strategy – Strategy includes all of the research and thought used to build a brand. This takes into account many things like your ideal client and their needs, your own business’ mission and vision statements, values, and goals. It also includes a review of your competitors and how you stand out. The results of looking in-depth at these items are your messaging, attributes, voice, and identity.

Brand Assets – These can also be called visual elements. They are all of the visual branding files given to you by your designer, including your logo(s), illustrations, icons, patterns, etc.

Brand Audit – Periodically you should take a good look at your current branding and determine if it is still working for you. If you are unsure of how to go about this, most brand designers can help you. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your branding still speak to your ideal client?
  • Does your brand look dated?
  • Has either your offering or ideal client changed? Should your brand be adjusted for that?
  • Are you missing any assets that could better help you promote your company or offerings?
  • Are you consistent visually across all marketing (same colors, same fonts, same feel)?

Brand Guide – Also called a Brand Board, Brand Guidelines, or Brand Book. A brand guide gives an overview of all of your visual brand assets as well as some direction on colors and fonts going forward. For large corporations, it can be extremely detailed, including how much space is allowed around the logo and what your email signature should say. It could be a one-page brand board or a 100-page brand book depending on how complex and detailed it is. The purpose of the brand guide is to help you and your employees keep the brand as consistent as possible in all marketing materials.

Collateral – Also called Marketing Collateral. Collateral is any printed or digital item that is used to market the company including business cards, flyers, advertisements, stationery, social media images, videos, etc.

Logo – A logo is a visual identifier for a company or product. It should represent the company in a way that distinguishes it from competitors and attracts the ideal client. A logo can be made up of an icon and text or simply be text alone. Good brand designers will provide their clients with multiple logo options for use in differently-shaped spaces or different applications.

Rebranding – The act of creating a new brand for an existing company. It can be costly to rebrand so be sure it is necessary. This can sometimes be determined by a brand audit.

These are just a few of the terms associated with branding. If you’d like to know more or have any questions, shoot me an email. I’d love to share my branding process with you and discuss your branding efforts.

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