Branding is one of the most recurrent buzz words in entrepreneurship and beyond nowadays. Let me start by defining what branding is. The dictionary definition of branding is the promotion of a particular product or company using advertising and distinctive design. This is somewhat a limited definition especially considering how things have evolved. Branding is the practice of employing marketing approaches that are aimed at making something or someone stand out – that is my definition. The idea of standing out there in the state of being identifiable and distinguishable from the rest. In this article, I want to discuss common terms that are used in branding.
There are so many definitions given for this term that you might get confused. I will put it across in such a way that is simple to grasp. A brand is a uniquely identifiable, recognizable and distinguishable product (either goods or services), person (or personality) or any other entity. The unique identifiers can be in the form of a name, a design or logo, just to mention a few. The brand is essentially the unique experience the customer encounters.
This constitutes the various elements visible to customers that uniquely identify a brand. For instance, the collective presentation of a brand’s logo, colours and tagline can communicate brand identity. To note here: brand and brand identity are not necessarily the same. The brand identity is what the customers see.
This refers to how a brand interacts with its customers. This means this is how it communicates with customers in such a way that resonates with two things. These are the brand’s persona or identity and target customers.
This is the measure of how recognizable a brand is to prospective customers. How conscious or aware are customers or prospective ones of your brand? It depicts the extent to which people can easily identify or relate to a particular brand.
This is how a brand is mentally perceived by customers. This is something that is borne out of repeated interactions or relations between a brand and the customers. Brand image puts together various recurrent opinions, ideas and assertions customers have regarding a brand.
This is simply the anticipated experience or value that a customer can get from a brand. This is something a brand communicates to the public which by so doing forms the basis of customer expectations. Whenever a customer gets in contact with a brand they expect service delivery consistent with that promise.
This essentially denotes customer reactions borne out of their interaction with a particular brand. These reactions can be in various forms some of which are emotions and certain conduct. Brands strive to develop the necessary triggers that will cause people to relate with them on a deeply emotional level. One way that brands seek to build positive brand experiences is through immersive marketing.
This is a set of instructions or guidelines that stipulate how a brand should be packaged and availed to the public. It is meant to be used to ensure consistency in all business operations involving the public. Earlier we spoke of metrics such as brand identity and brand voice, for instance. They have to be consistently upheld in every business operation that is rolled out. The brand manual works as a reference document to ensure there is consistency in communicating all brand aspects.
The extent to which a brand comes good on its brand promise is what is called brand alignment. It weighs the sincerity of a brand in fulfilling promises it makes to customers. Thus brand alignment speaks of coherence amongst all the components necessary to the fulfilment of what a brand says it can do.
This is a person or personality that a brand enlists to represent that brand in the public eye. The crux is to boost brand awareness by tapping into that individual’s social influence. That is why it is commonplace to find brands approaching celebrities to be their brand ambassadors.
This is a summation of value ascribed to a brand by how it is perceived by the customers. This varies from the brand value which is based on financial net worth. Brand equity is measured by or in terms of how people regard a brand. Examples of brands with high brand equities are Nike and Apple.
This is anything that serves as a unique identifier of your brand. It can be physical or non-physical but so long it uniquely identifies a brand it is a brand asset. Some of the common examples of brand assets are logos and taglines. Brand assets are instrumental in rolling out business activities e.g. marketing drives.
When you hear statements like “Nike’s net worth is US$34.8 billion”, that is brand value. It refers to the actual amount of money that a brand is worth.
This is the measure of how customers are inclined to make repeat purchases from a particular brand. Most of the things I discussed earlier, if they are properly managed or built on, they culminate in enhanced brand loyalty.
This is the all-encompassing non-stop process of seeing to it that a brand is publicly regarded in the manner in which it ought to be. It is a function of monitoring and evaluation (followed by strategic decision-making) based on insights drawn from interactions between the brand and the public (customers, non-customers and prospective customers).
These are 15 of some of the common terms that you will come across in branding. Branding should be a core concern for any serious entrepreneur nowadays. How well you can perform in business largely depends on how well you approach branding matters. It is astounding how many businesses are oblivious of the importance of branding. Let that not be your case.