Objective: Minimize the overwhelm and complexity of branding your business by learning key branding terms—in about ten minutes.
I felt completely overwhelmed as I sat on the floor against a bookcase in Seoul’s Kyobo Bookstore ten years ago, gazing at the mass of books on branding. I knew I needed to help my clients understand how to leverage their brands, but wow—what a challenge it was to sort it all out at the time.
Fast forward over ten years, and I have my own branding methodology that helps my clients effectively focus and reach their ideal customers and clients.
The basic terms you see below are foundational to that methodology. This list is neither exhaustive nor definitive, and entire books have been written about each term, but anyone who wants to understand branding must understand the basic terminology.
Think of this as your online small business branding dictionary. A cheat sheet. A strategic (unfair?) advantage. Bookmark it and refer to it often. It will be updated on a regular basis.
A BRAND is the way that your ideal customer or client thinks and talks about the sum-total of their experiences with your company. It is not a concrete object, but a way of thinking and talking about you when you are not around.
Note: A brand is not a logo, a business card, an advertisement. These are marketing tools that contain the brand, and deliver the brand to the optimal client or customer.
BRANDING is the management of the delivery of your brand using key marketing tools, like your logo, business card, social media, or website.
Note: the term “branding” is also used more broadly to mean everything related to a company’s marketing and branding, but I define branding more specifically as the verb form of a brand—the action part of a small business brand.
The brand experience is a concrete event, a moment that your ideal client or customer has at one of your many touchpoints, such as a website, social media, or networking event.
The attraction that is created when your ideal customer or client is deeply convinced that you can solve their burning problem better then your competition.
How your brand is mentally perceived by your optimal client in relation to your competition.
A BRAND PROMISE is the BRAND POSITIONING in the form of a commitment.
Marketing is the activity of managing and creating concrete vehicles that communicate your value (contained in the brand promise) to your optimal clientele. There are many different kinds of marketing tools, from social media, print media, advertising, identity, packaging, etc.
Any number of ways that clients or customers come into contact with your company and experience you as a brand. There are many kinds of touchpoints: your website, business card, a support call, an email, the corporate identity, uniforms, interior design, color palette, etc. Touchpoints are where the “rubber hits the road.”