What is Branding?

Les Kollegian
Many of our clients come to us to help build their “brands” by helping with their Web Design, creating a new logo or corporate identity, or by simply helping them to understand their target (primary, secondary, and tertiary markets. The problem is, that they really don’t understand what their brand is and what it means to help them create brand recognition and eventually brand loyalty with their specific product or service. With that in mind, I have aggregated a list of definitions relative to branding. While these definitions are somewhat technical, it will answer the basics of brand terminology and possible help understand the complexity of thought and work that goes into building your business and awareness. Okay, here goes:

The sum of all the characteristics, tangible and intangible, that make the offer unique.

Branded Environment
The graphic system of identification as applied to three-dimensional physical space.

Brand Equity
The value of the brand in its holistic sense to its owners as a corporate asset.

Brand Essence
The distillation of a brand’s intrinsic characteristics into a succinct core concept.

Brand Extension
A new product or service that is related to an existing brand, but that offers a different benefit and/or appeals to a different target segment.

Brand Harmonization
The synchronization of all elements of brand identity, across a line of products or services and/or across geographic markets.

Brand Identity
The outward manifestation of the essence of a corporate brand, product brand, service brand or branded environment.

Brand Identity Equities
The value of specific elements of identification (e.g., name, symbol or colors) to the brands owners.

The process by which both a brand and brand identity are developed.

Brand Positioning
The specific niche in which the brand defines itself as occupying in the competitive environment. Positioning addresses differentiating brand attributes, user benefits and target segments, singly or in combination.

Brand Revitalization
A major overhaul of a brand, starting with its positioning and proceeding through creative regeneration of the brand identity.

Use of two or more strong brands in relation to a common offer. Typically, but not always, the brands are given equal emphasis. Examples: Chevron and McDonalds, Visa and Citibank.

Corporate Brand
The gestalt of the organization, including its philosophy and culture as well as its physical characteristics.

Corporate Image
Application of the term image to specific types of offers.

A term used with a brand name to communicate an informational attribute (e.g., variant, function, occasion or target segment) about a specific offer.

Use of the parent brand identity to support and add credibility to an allied offer. Implies subordinate emphasis of the parent to a sub-brand, though relative emphasis will vary case-by-case.

Enhanced Descriptor
An evocative word that may or may not be trademarked, but which differentiates the offer in a proprietary way.

Generic Descriptor
A simple, descriptive term with clear meaning, and which can be executed in regional languages.

Two meanings, both valid: 1) The sum of all the characteristics, tangible and intangible, that make the offer unique. 2) The elements of brand identification (e.g., the name, symbol and colors) by which an offer can be identified.

Perceptions of the features, tangible and intangible, that characterize a brand.

Ingredient Brand
A strong brand that is used and promoted as a key part of a host brand.

Interactive Branding
Process of developing Web sites and other interactive products, including strategy development, structural design and graphic design.

Line Extension
A new variation of a product or service sharing the same essential characteristics as the parent, but offering a new benefit, such as flavor, size, package type, etc.

Parent Brand
A strong brand that has the capacity to: 1) stand alone to represent a core product or service; 2) support allied products/services by sharing its brand identity, directly or through endorsement

Positioning Statement
A concise written statement of the positioning concept, conveying the essential features of the brand and its niche.

Product Brand
Two meanings, both valid: 1) The gestalt of the brand, including its emotional and cultural associations as well as its physical features. 2) The graphic system of identification as applied to a single product or service or a family of products/services.

Service Brand
A brand representing a specific service or family of services.

A product or service that has a persona and brand values that separate it from the parent brand. A product or service that has its own brand identity, which is proprietary and can be trademarked.