If you are looking to update your brand, you may want to start with a few basics.
Specifically, learning a few of the most common brand terms. Understanding these terms will help hire a designer, improve your business strategy and diminish any fear you have of asking a silly question.
There are a lot of terms that come with creating and designing a brand, but for this post I just want to cover the most common brand terms. Terms like, target audience, style guide and brand voice to name a few.
To help you navigate a few of these common brand terms, I've broken them down into three categories: brand terms, business terms and design terms. Although they all are related to branding, a brand is made up of multiple facets that can easily be divided into those three categories.
A brand is the intangible combination of your marketing, visual identity and mission directed at a specific audience. It's everything you do from the experience you create to the value you provide.
Branding is the act of strategically creating and influencing your brand. It includes the visuals you create, the promises you make and the attempt at influencing the interpretation your target audience has of your business. Think of it like this: brand is the noun, branding is the verb.
Brand experience refers to how your target audience is interpreting your brand. This can be how someone experiences a retail store or how they come in contact with you online. A brand experience is fully formed when your target audience interacts with your brand on multiple occasions and walks away with consistent experiences.
A brand voice is the intentional and strategic use of terms and tone your business uses across all platforms. That means how you write captions, respond to emails and write blog posts. It's more than the words you use, it's the strategy behind each word that conveys your overall brand.
Brand personality is how people humanize a brand through brand adjectives. Brand personality is what fosters genuine connections between a target audience and a business. Think of your favorite brand, if you were to describe them you may say something like: warm, inviting and carefree.
A mission statement is a few sentences that express the purpose, identify the goal, describe products and/or services and highlights the target audience of a business. In other terms, it’s a sentence or two that describes the why, the how and the who.
Your target audience is the group of people that you market your business and offerings towards. When considering your target audience, it’s important to consider the demographics and psychographics. Demographics are measurable traits; age or income. Psychographics are immeasurable traits; goals or personality traits.
A niche or niche market is a specified segment of a market that you position your business within. For example, a general market is health and nutrition. A niche market would be, gluten-free recipes for busy mom's. This makes your market hyper-specific and positions you as an expert in your field.
Visual identity refers to the graphics and images you choose to represent your brand. This includes everything from colors and fonts to promotional graphics and product packaging.
An inspiration board or mood board is a combination of images and graphics that represent the overall aesthetic of a brand. This is most commonly used by brand and web designers to ensure the brand design process is headed in the right direction. Although, it can also be used by a business owners when creating new brand collateral.
A style guide or brand board is a reference document that contains all aspects of a brands visual identity. This includes logo's and logo variations, colors, fonts, icons, patterns and any brand guidelines a small business requires.
Brand collateral is any marketing materials created to represent and promote a brand. This includes, but is not limited to, business cards, flyers, stickers, content upgrades, icons, promotional graphics... and much more!
Did any of these definitions surprise you? Let me know in the comments below!