Often times, for those not in the creative, marketing, and branding world, many people aren’t familiar with what some or most of the terms in branding mean. And that’s totally okay! Afterall, that’s what you hire me for. ;)
However, there are some terms that you should be familiar with in order to follow along in the process because at times it can feel like branding is a completely different language. So, allow me to bridge the gap and begin the translation!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again for the people in the back: A brand is not a logo!
A brand is much more obscure than that because it’s not an actual physical thing. It’s how everything on this list comes together to create how people perceive or feel about your brand. It’s a living thing- as Howard Schultz said, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
This is where things can get a little confusing. A lot of industry people (like yours truly) use the term Brand Identity to describe all the visual elements that makes up your brand. Things such as:
• Color Palette
• Photography style
• And more
Exactly what it sounds like: all the things that a designer will deliver to you at the completion of your branding projects. This would include the elements from your visual identity along with any additional pieces of collateral you’re having designed. When working with me, this looks like the delivery of all the files you need via Google Drive or DropBox (whichever works best for you) that you need for the future to keep the consistency of your brand no matter what platform you use.
Ideally, you want your customers to always have a great experience with your brand. Imagine you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around a new restaurant that has opened up. The restaurant is decorated for the perfect Instagram worthy photo, the food is delicious, and the drinks are uniquely crafted. Their website is top-notch and they appear very well put together all around when it comes to their branding. This is all a part of the brand experience. However, things turn sour when the waiter was too slow, rude, or messed up your order. That’s an example of a poor brand experience, which can damage the entire experience.
In the words of Warren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
To be honest, this one of my favorite parts of the brand design process! You can think of a mood board as the “vibe” of your brand and this happens in the beginning stage of your brand design (after the brand strategy phase). Your brand mood board consists of images, fonts, colors, and what your potential ideal clients or customers may look like that acts like a guide when moving on to the custom brand design process. Having a mood board makes sure we’re on the right track before designing anything.
Brand boards are generally one of the final deliverables you’ll receive at the end of your brand design journey. A style guide is goes in depth with your brand design as a whole and it lays out rules or guidelines for how and where elements of your visual identity should be used- both alone and in conjunction with each other. A style guide like this is essential for businesses that are growing and need to hand off assignments to marketing or PR agencies.
Now we’re delving deeper into some of the intangible assets that make up your brand. In a nutshell, values are the 3-5 words that convey what your brand stands for. For example, words such as: Efficient, Honest, Reliable, Supportive, Trust-worthy, or Courageous.
Also known as your “Mission Statement”, the easiest way to differentiate this from Vision (refer to below) is by thinking of your Mission as the “who and what” of the brand. It’s the driving force behind your business. Some questions to ask when developing a mission statement look like:
• What do we do?
• Who do we serve?
• How do we serve them?
If the mission is the “who and what”, your vision is all about the “why.” It gives your business purpose and it fosters innovation, provides direction for your brand and business growth.
Questions to ask when developing your brand vision look like this:
• What are my/our hopes and dreams?
• Who am I/we inspiring to change?
• Why did I/we start this business?
• What problem am I/ are we solving for the greater good?
When thinking about who your business is serving, it’s important to create Personas of your ideal client or customer. These are very specific and go more in depth than general demographics (Ex: female, age 25-40). Often times, they have an actual name and will list personal details, likes, dislikes, aspirations, fears, etc. (Pam, 35 years old, married to Jim. They have 2 kids ages 4 and 8. Lives in Scranton. Loves remodeling shows like Fixer-Upper, drinking iced lattes, and taking a run before the kids wake up in the morning.)
Customer Persona’s are essential in identifying how you want your brand to look, sound and feel. If you think your ideal client will love it, you’re on the right track!
And that’s a wrap! 10 of the most common branding terms broken down. Hopefully, this list has given you a little more clarity and a lot more confidence when talking about branding. Now that you’re more familiar with the process, if you’d like to move forward with your own branding project, contact me here and let’s chat more about how we can up-level your brand!