Abstract Name: A name that is entirely invented and has no meaning of its own.

Associative Name: A name that alludes to an aspect or benefit of the product or the company.

Brand: A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible, symbolized in a trademark, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence.

Branding: Selecting and blending tangible and intangible attributes to differentiate the product, service or corporation in an attractive, meaningful and compelling way. The identification of a product, service or offer with the parent company.

Brand Architecture: How an organization structures and names the brands within its portfolio. There are three main types of brand architecture systems: monolithic, where the corporate name is used on all products and services offered by the company; endorsed, where all sub-brands are linked to the corporate brand by means of either a verbal or visual endorsement; and freestanding, where the corporate brand operates merely as a holding company, and each product or service is individually branded for its target market. It also clarifies and organizes the type, number, relationship and purpose of brands. Brand architecture is not necessarily the organizational structure, but rather the way in which the company would like the marketplace to understand its business breadth, depth and how an organization structures and names the brands within its portfolio. Here are examples of the three main types of brand architecture system: monolithic, Nike; endorsed, Nestle; and freestanding, Procter & Gamble.

Brand Associations: The feelings, beliefs and knowledge that consumers have about brands. These associations are derived as a result of experiences and must be consistent with the brand positioning and the basis of differentiation.

Brand Commitment: The degree to which a customer is committed to a given brand in that they are likely to re-purchase/re-use in the future. The level of commitment indicates the degree to which a brand’s customer franchise is protected from competitors.

Brand Council: A cross-disciplinary senior-level group responsible for championing the brand, providing brand leadership and ensuring the necessary tools and guidelines are in place for effective management.

Brand Earnings: The share of a brand-owning business’s cash flow that can be attributed to the brand alone.

Brand Equity: The sum of all distinguishing qualities of a brand, drawn from all relevant stakeholders, which results in personal commitment to, and demand for, the brand; these differentiating qualities make the brand valued and valuable.

Brand Equity Protection: The implementation of strategies to reduce risk and liability from the effects attributable to counterfeiting, diversion, tampering and theft so that the differentiating thoughts and feelings about the brand are maintained, and remain valued and valuable.

Brand Essence: The brand’s promise expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms. For example, Volvo = safety; AAA = Automobile Association of America. The most powerful brand essences are rooted in a fundamental customer need.

Brand Experience: The collective experiences a customer has across all points of contact with a company’s products/services, employees, environments and communications. The means by which a brand is created in the mind of a stakeholder. Some experiences are controlled, such as retail environments, advertising, products/services, websites, etc. Some are uncontrolled, such as journalistic comments and word of mouth. Strong brands arise from consistent experiences, which combine to form a clear, differentiated overall brand experience.

Brand Extension: Leveraging the values of the brand to take the brand into new markets/sectors.

Brand Harmonization: Ensuring that all products in a particular brand range have a consistent name, visual identity and, ideally, positioning across a number of geographic or product/service markets.

Brand Identity: The marks (a symbol, a proprietary typeface and/or type application signature) that are used to visually express the brand, usually developed from the positioning and values. The outward expression of the brand, including its name and visual appearance. The brand’s identity is its fundamental means of consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors.

Brand Identity Guidelines: A set of rules and policies for how and when to use the brand identity to ensure consistency across all communications.

Brand Image: The customer’s net “out-take” from the brand. For users this is based on practical experience of the product or service concerned (informed impressions) and how well this meets expectations; for non-users it is based almost entirely upon uninformed impressions, attitudes and beliefs.

Brand Implementation: Process and actions taken to ensure all external and internal communications and actions are effectively and consistently aligned with the brand positioning.

Brand Licensing: The leasing by a brand owner of the use of a brand to another company. Usually a licensing fee or royalty will be agreed for the use of the brand.

Brand Management: Managing the tangible and intangible aspects of the brand. For product brands the tangibles are the product itself, the packaging, the price, etc. For service brands (see Service Brands), the tangibles are to do with the customer experience – the retail environment, interface with salespeople, overall satisfaction, etc. For product, service and corporate brands, the intangibles are the same and refer to the emotional connections derived as a result of experience, identity, communication and people. Intangibles are therefore managed via the manipulation of identity, communication and people skills. The structure, discipline, policies and processes that flow from the brand strategy across the entire organization and are used to create and control impressions of the brand in order to promote, profit from and protect the brand.

Brand Mark (or Logo): A simple graphic element (with or without text) used to identify a company. Notable examples include the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

Brand Measurement: The process, usually quantitative in nature, for tracking and measuring the brand’s performance and economic value over time.

Brand Messaging: The overarching message used to communicate the brand to all audiences. It is the desired future reputation of the brand. The brand messaging includes both rational and emotional components. It is not the tagline (see Tagline definition).

Brand Metrics: An agreed-upon set of trackable measures, which map to the brand positioning, brand values and brand behaviors, and can be measured over time to understand areas of brand improvement and decay; also used to measure the customer experience.

Brand Mission: How the brand will act on its insight. Brand Platform.

Brand Parity: A measure of how similar or different brands in the same category are perceived. Brand parity varies widely from one category to another. It is high for petrol, for example; about 80% of respondents (gkBRAND survey) see no real difference between brands. By contrast, brand parity for cars is low: only about 25% of respondents say that one make is much the same as another.

Brand Personality: The brand’s personality traits. The attribution of human personality traits (seriousness, warmth, imagination, etc.) to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. Usually done through long-term above-the-line advertising and appropriate packaging and graphics. These traits inform brand behavior through both prepared communication/packaging, etc., and through the people who represent the brand – its employees.

Brand Platform: The Brand Platform consists of the following elements:

Brand Positioning: The distinctive position that a brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals in its target market can tell the brand apart from others. Positioning involves the careful manipulation of every element of the marketing mix.Brand Strategy: A plan for the systematic development of a brand to enable it to meet its agreed-upon objectives. The strategy should be rooted in the brand’s vision and driven by the principles of differentiation and sustained consumer appeal. The brand strategy should influence the total operation of a business to ensure consistent brand behaviors and brand experiences. It is structured to support the overall company business strategy, and consists of the company’s brand positioning, brand values and brand architecture.

Brand Tone of Voice: How the brand speaks to its audiences.

Brand Valuation: The process of identifying and measuring the economic benefit – brand value – that derives from brand ownership.

Brand Value: “Value” has different interpretations: from a marketing or consumer perspective it is the promise and delivery of an experience; from a business perspective it is the security of future earnings; from a legal perspective it is a separable piece of intellectual property. Brands offer customers a means to choose and enable recognition within cluttered markets. The code by which the brand lives. The brand value acts as a benchmark to measure behaviors and performance. The tangible and intangible characteristics that form the basis of the brand positioning. The brand values are the unique characteristics that in combination differentiate the company’s brand in the marketplace. (See Brand Platform)

Brand Vision: The brand’s guiding insight into its world. (See Brand Platform)

Clear Area: The space around the signature that is kept empty to isolate the signature and make it easier to see.

Co-branding: The use of two or more brand names in support of a new product, service or venture.

Coined Name: Any name that is in some way invented. Coined names can be descriptive (Co-Create), associative (Imation) or freestanding/abstract (Zeneca).

Color Palette: The set of approved colors to be used throughout communications. This applies to color fields and type, not to photographic imagery.

Composite: In the context of sub-branding, the prescribed placement of elements that make up the entire sub-brand identity.

Configuration: The arrangement of graphic elements of a company’s signature. The size and position relationships of the elements within an approved signature configuration are fixed and must not be altered.

Consumer Product: Goods (consumer goods) or services (consumer services) purchased for private use or for other members of the household.

Copyright: The exclusive legal rights to copy, publish and sell materials, such as an ad. Also, the mark that indicates a work is so protected.

Core Competencies: Relates to a company’s particular areas of skill and competence that best contribute to its ability to compete.

Corporate Identity: At a minimum, this refers to the visual identity of a corporation (its logo, signage, etc.), but often is taken to mean an organization’s presentation to its stakeholders and the means by which it differentiates itself from other organizations.

Counterfeiting: When an organization or individual produces a product that looks like a branded product and is packaged and presented in a manner to deceive the purchaser.

Country of Origin: The country from which a given product comes. Customers’ attitudes to a product and their willingness to buy it tend to be heavily influenced by what they associate with the place where it was designed and manufactured.

Customer Characteristics: All distinguishing, distinctive, typical or peculiar characteristics and circumstances of customers that can be used in market segmentation to tell one group of customers from another.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Tracking customer behavior for the purpose of developing marketing and relationship-building processes that bond the consumer to the brand. Developing software or systems to provide one-to-one customer service and personal contact between the company and the customer.

Customer Service: The way in which the brand meets its customers’ needs via its various different channels (for example, over the telephone or Internet in the case of remote banking, or in person in the case of retail or entertainment).

Demographics: The description of outward traits that characterize a group of people, such as age, sex, nationality, marital status, education, occupation or income. Decisions on market segmentation are often based on demographic data.

Descriptive Name: A name that describes the product or service.

Differential Product: Advantage of a feature of a product that is valuable to customers and is not found in other products of the same category.

Differentiation: Creation or demonstration of unique characteristics in a company’s products or brands compared to those of its competitors.

Differentiator: Any tangible or intangible characteristic that can be used to distinguish a product or a company from other products and companies.

Diversion: When a genuine product is sold to a buyer in one market/channel and then resold by the same buyer into another market/channel, without the consent or authority of the brand owner, to take advantage of a price arbitrage situation. Definition also applies to parallel trade or gray-market activities.

Drop Shadow: The soft diffused shading around a company’s symbol that makes it look as if the logo is above the surface of the background.

Endorsed Brand: (See Brand Architecture.) Generally a product or service brand name that is supported by a masterbrand, either dominantly (e.g. Tesco Metro) or lightly (e.g. Nestle Kit-Kat).

FMCG: Fast moving consumer goods. An expression used to describe frequently purchased consumer items, such as foods, cleaning products and toiletries.

Focus Group: A qualitative research technique in which a group of about eight people is invited to a neutral venue to discuss a given subject, for example hand-held power tools. The principle is the same as an in-depth interview, except that group dynamics help to make the discussion livelier and more wide-ranging. Qualitative groups enable the researcher to probe deeper into specific areas of interest (for example, the nature of commitment to a brand). The result adds richer texture to the understanding of broader data (for example, quantitative), which may paint general trends or observations. Also known as a group discussion.

Font: The style of type used. A company should use a set family of fonts. Typically one font is used for corporate names and lock-ups and a secondary font family is used for editorial text.

Freestanding Brand: (See Brand Architecture.) A brand name and identity used for a single product or service in a portfolio, which is unrelated to the names and identities of other products in the company’s portfolio.

Freestanding Name: A name that has no link to the product or service.

Functionality: What a product does for the buyer and user; the utility it offers the user; what he or she can do with it.

Globe Symbol: A company’s symbol always appears in combination with the company’s name or logotype in a Corporate Signature. This becomes a Branded Business Signature.

Goods: A product consisting predominantly of tangible value. Almost all goods, however, have intangible values to a greater or lesser extent.

Group Discussion: See Focus Group.

High Technology (High Tech): A term with vague and far-reaching meaning, covering electronics, data technology, telecommunications, medical technology and biochemistry. In order to be classed as a high-tech company, one definition is that at least 35% of staff should have a technical qualification, and at least 15% of sales should be used for R&D. Another definition states that the company must employ twice as many scientists and engineers and invest twice as much in R&D as the average of all manufacturing companies in the country.

Intangible: Incapable of being touched. Intangible assets include trademarks, copyrights, patents, design rights, proprietary expertise, databases, etc. Intangible brand attributes are brand names, logos, graphics, colors, shapes and smells. (See Service Brand.)

Key Audience Messaging: Verbal interpretations of the brand positioning and brand values focused on specific audiences. Conveys the essence of the brand positioning to each audience using words that respond to their needs and resulting benefits targeted to that audience while still ensuring consistency in the overarching message.

Launch: The initial marketing of a new product in a particular market. The way in which the launch is carried out greatly affects the product’s profitability throughout its life cycle.

Linguistic Analysis: A technique to ensure that a chosen name is free of negative connotations in all languages of industrialized economies and emerging markets. As well, a product or company name should have strongly positive associations and ease of pronunciation in the major languages of business. gkBRAND Naming, the naming and branding division of gkBRAND , Inc., with its GK GK Brand locations in more than 70 cities around the world doing business in 27 languages, brings a local understanding of global markets, which means peace of mind for your brand.

Lock-up: The arrangement of the corporate signature or business signatures.

Logotype: The corporate name in specially drawn letterforms. It cannot be set in standard typefaces. Almost always, the logotype is joined with the globe symbol in an approved configuration.

Market Leader: A company that has achieved a dominant position, either in scale (e.g., British Airways) or influence (e.g., Virgin) within its field. This leading position often comes about because the company was the first to market a certain type of product and, with the protection of a patent, has managed to consolidate its position before direct competition was possible. Alternatively, a company may overtake a previous market leader through greater efficiency and skilful positioning.

Market Position: A measure of the position of a company or product in a market. Defined as market share multiplied by share of mind.

Market Segment: A group of customers who share the same needs and values, can be expected to respond in much the same way to a company’s offering, and command enough purchasing power to be of strategic importance to the company.

Market Segmentation: Dividing customers into market segments according to how and for what purpose they use a product. Do they use it for cleaning their teeth or making cakes (baking powder)? For oiling their hair or frying food? (True story concerning use of Brylcreem in Nigeria). As a decongestant chest rub or as an aphrodisiac? (True story concerning Ribby Rub in Caribbean).

Market Share: A company’s share of total sales in a given category of product in a given market. Can be expressed either in terms of volume (how many units sold) or value (the worth of units sold).

Mass Marketing: Simultaneous standardized marketing to a very large target market through mass media. Other names for this are market aggregation and undifferentiated marketing.

Masterbrand: A brand name that dominates all products or services across a business. Sometimes used with sub-brands, sometimes used with alpha or numeric signifiers. (See also Monolithic Brand.) Audi, Durex, Nescafe and Lego, for example, are all used as masterbrands.

Monolithic Brand: A single brand name that is used to “masterbrand” all products or services in a range. Individual products are nearly always identified by alpha or numeric signifiers. Companies like Mercedes and BMW favor such systems.

Multibrand Strategy/Multiple Branding: Marketing of two or more mutually competing products under different brand names by the same company. The motive may be that the company wishes to create internal competition to promote efficiency, or to differentiate its offering to different market segments, or to get maximum mileage out of established brands that it has acquired. When a company has achieved a dominant market share, multibrand strategy may be its only option for increasing sales still further without sacrificing profitability. For example, Lever Brothers sells washing powders under the Persil, Omo and Surf names; Cadbury sells chocolates under the Dairy Milk, Bournville and Fruit & Nut names; Heinz sells canned convenience foods under the Baked Beans, Spaghetti Hoops and Alphabetti Spaghetti names.

Names: There are three basic categories of brand (or corporate) name. The descriptive name describes the product or service for which it is intended, e.g., Talking Pages. An associative name alludes to an aspect or benefit of the product or service, often by means of an original or striking image or idea, e.g., VISA. A freestanding name has no link to the product or service, but might have a meaning of its own, e.g., Penguin.

Naming and Branding: Naming is a unique specialty, and gkBRAND Naming, a specialized naming division of gkBRAND , offers fresh, crisp, creative talent. gkBRAND is highly experienced, with a 25-year history in the business of making great brands. From gkBRAND, you will always get names that are: memorable because they are unique and relevant, thanks to our unique approach to naming; and communicative, because we have linguists who analyze the name in 27 different languages. They make sure the name is trademarkable, too, because they do a thorough global trademark search before you fall in love with it.

Niche Marketing: Marketing adapted to the needs, wishes and expectations of small, precisely defined groups of individuals. A form of market segmentation, but aimed at very small segments. Niche marketing characteristically uses selective media.

Nomenclature: A system for naming; principles that are usually applied to naming any product or service within the company offering.

OEM Market: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The OEM market consists of companies that use another company’s product as a component in their own production. A manufacturer of ball bearings, for example, sells both to OEM customers who build the bearings into machines, and to end users who need the bearings as parts for machines that they have bought from the OEMs. Most manufacturing companies thus have an OEM market and a replacement market. The latter is usually called the MRO market or aftermarket.

Offering: What a company offers for sale to customers. An offering includes the product and its design, features, quality, packaging, distribution, etc., together with associated services such as financing, warranties and installation. The name and brand of the product are also part of the offering.

On-Brand Behavior: Behavior of the organization and its people that consistently represents and builds the brand positioning and values. On-Brand Behavior is an important cultural first step in ensuring that the company and its people are committed to delivering the desired brand experience to external audiences.

Packaging Design: The design of the package format and graphics for a product brand.

Parent Brand: A brand that acts as an endorsement to one or more sub-brands within a range.

Passing Off: A legal action brought to protect the reputation of a particular trademark or brand. In essence, the action is designed to prevent others from trading on the reputation or goodwill of the existing trademark or brand. The action is available only in those countries that recognize unregistered trademark rights (for example the UK and US). In some countries, it is called “unfair competition action.”

Perceptual Mapping Graphic: Analysis and presentation of where actual and potential customers place a product or supplier in relation to other products and suppliers. Most perceptual maps show only two dimensions at a time, for example price on one axis and quality on the other. There also are methods of graphically analyzing and presenting measurement data in three or more dimensions.

Positioning Statement: A written description of the position that a company wishes itself, its product or its brand to occupy in the minds of a defined target audience.

Positive (signature): The positive version is used when the signature appears on a white background. It may not be inverted (modified to reverse form) for use on a dark background.

Power Branding: A strategy in which every product in a company’s range has its own brand name that functions independently, unsupported by either the company’s corporate brand or its other product brands. Power branding is a resource-intensive strategy, since each brand must be commercially promoted and legally protected. Mainly manufacturers of consumer goods use this strategy. Lever and Procter & Gamble detergents are good examples of power brands.

Product Brand: A brand that is synonymous with a particular product offering, for example, Cheerios.

Rebrand: When a brand owner revisits the brand with the purpose of updating or revising, based on internal or external circumstances. Rebranding is often necessary after an M&A or if the brand has outgrown its identity/marketplace.

Relative Market Share: A company’s market share compared to those of its competitors. A large share confers advantages of scale in product development, manufacturing and marketing. It also puts the company in a stronger position in the minds of customers, which has a positive influence on pricing.

Relaunch: Reintroducing a product into a specific market. The term implies that the company has previously marketed the product but stopped marketing it. A relaunched product has usually undergone one or more changes. It may, for example, be technically modified, rebranded, distributed through different channels or repositioned.

Repositioning: Communications activities to give an existing product a new position in customers’ minds to expand or otherwise alter its potential market. Many potentially valuable products lead an obscure existence because they were launched or positioned in inadequately. It is almost always possible to enhance the value of such products by repositioning them.

Reverse (signature): The reverse version is used when the signature appears on a black background. It may not be inverted (modified to positive form) for use on a light background.

Rollout: The process by which a company introduces a new product or service to different geographical markets or consumer segments.

Selective: Media which, unlike mass media, reach only small and identifiable groups of people, for example, members of a particular profession or industry or other groups defined by geographic, demographic or psychographic data (otherwise known as targeted media).

Service Brand: A product consisting predominantly of intangible values. “A service is something that you can buy and sell, but not drop on your foot” (The Economist). In this sense, a service is something that you do for someone, or a promise that you make to him or her.

Servicemark or Trademark: A legally protected name for a product, service or offer; or graphically, the notation indicating that such a product, service or offer is legally protected.

Share of Mind: There are many definitions of share of mind. At its most precise, share of mind measures how often consumers think about a particular brand as a percentage of all the times they think about all the brands in its category. More loosely, share of mind can be defined simply as positive perceptions of the brand obtained by market research. Whereas market share measures the width of a company’s market position, share of mind can be said to measure its depth.

Share of Voice: The media spending of a particular brand when compared to others in its category.

Signature: Any symbol and/or logotype that officially represents a company.

Sub-brand: A product or service brand that has its own name and visual identity to differentiate it from the parent brand.

Sub-branding: The consistent method of naming and displaying specific branded business signature products, services or offers.

Tagline: A short phrase used in advertising to help communicate and support the brand positioning.

Tangible: Capable of being touched. Tangible assets include manufacturing plants, bricks and mortar, cash, investments, etc. Tangible brand attributes are the product and its packaging. Tangible brand values comprise useful qualities of the brand known to exist through experience and knowledge.

Target Market: The market segment or group of customers that a company has decided to serve, and at which it consequently aims its marketing activities.

Top-of-Mind: What is present in the uppermost level of consciousness; the manufacturer or brand that people in market surveys name first when asked to list products in a specific category. Top-of-mind is the highest degree of share of mind. To attain that position, a company normally needs to have a large share of voice in its category.

Trademark: Any sign capable of being represented graphically and that distinguishes goods or services of one undertaking from those of another.

Trademark Guarantee: When a branding company such as gkBRAND comes up with a new name for your product or service. Research ensures that the naming project results in a trademarkable name. We don’t recommend that you come up with a name yourself or have your ad agency do it. A specialist such as gkBRAND Naming, a division of gkBRAND , Inc., offers a trademark guarantee for most branding projects.

Trademark Infringement: A trademark registration is infringed by the unauthorized use of the registered trademark, or of one that is confusingly similar to it, on the registered goods or services, or in certain circumstances on similar or dissimilar goods and services.

Trendsetter: Someone or thing that breaks a traditional mold or routine and gains a following because of it. iMac is an example of trendsetting in design , because office supplies come in the familiar colors and translucent packaging of the iMac.

Typography: The method of displaying text. It covers font styles, sizes and colors.

User Segmentation: Division of potential customers into market segments according to how and for what purpose they use a product.

Visual Identity: What a brand looks like, including, among other things, its logo, typography, packaging and literature systems.

Contact Us

If you're ready to find out what makes us the world's leading brand consultancy for innovative and bespoke advertising, branding and design projects, please get in touch today. Got a branding challenge for us? Let's talk.

  • Boston
    Brand Real @Learning Learning Architects LLC.
    993 Massachusetts Avenue
    Suite 215
    Arlington, MA 02476-4519 USA

    New York
    Brand Real @Kaleidoscope New York
    251 W 39th Street
    4th Floor
    New York, NY 10018 USA

    Brand Real @Learning Learning Architects Armenia
    28 Yeznik Koghbatsi Street
    11th Floor, Suite #20
    Yerevan, 0010 Republic of Armenia
  • International Call
    WhatsApp: +1.917.952.0278