Strategic brand positioning is critical to an organization’s success, whether the company is launching a new product, introducing a new service or completely reimagining its business. Sharing common language across all cross-functional teams involved in a brand initiative is essential, regardless of whether the organization is leading its own brand refresh or hiring an agency with brand positioning expertise.
Beehive’s Brand Glossary for Business Leaders includes common brand positioning terms to help organizations collaborate effectively to establish memorable connections and build better brands.
Brand positioning terminology to know
The simplest definition of a brand is the cumulative effect of the name, image and personality of a product, service or organization. But more realistically, brands are a reflection of what key stakeholders think and feel when they experience a specific product, service or entity. Brands are a dynamic representation of promises made to stakeholders, and the stakeholders’ interpretation of the delivery.
Brand architecture is how an organization defines the relationship among its brands. There are three main brand architectures — the branded house, the house of brands, endorsed brands — and several hybrid structures.
Brand guidelines, also commonly referred to as brand standards, style guides or brand books, are a set of rules that explain how your brand works inside your organization and in the marketplace. These guidelines include key information describing the use of messaging, voice, logos, colors, typography and images.
Brand identity (visual identity)
Brand identity includes the visible elements of a brand (e.g., colors, logo, name, typography) that together identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds.
Brand persona (personality)
A brand persona is the attribution of human characteristics and personality traits to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. These traits inform a number of key brand assets: how a brand looks (brand identity or visual identity), how a brand speaks (brand voice) and how a brand behaves (values and actions).
Brand position is the distinct description of a brand’s attributes that differentiates it from the competition. Brand position ensures that all brand activities — including marketing, sales, community relations and more — have a common theme designed to deliver a specific and intentional customer experience.
Brand voice is a distinct way of speaking and communicating to ensure a brand is clearly heard, quickly recognized and easily remembered. Brand voice brings a brand to life through writing style — a customized approach designed to showcase the personality of a brand through stylistic language.
Customer journey map
Customer journey maps identify the key cross-channel interactions each of the organization’s targeted audiences has with a brand, including where they find, engage, buy and stay in touch with the business. Customer journey maps are critical to brand positioning work because they help organizations bring their brand personas to life consistently across every customer touchpoint.
A logo is a recognizable and distinctive symbol, mark, stylized name or other graphic treatment used to identify an organization. A logo can appear on a product, in advertising or on other marketing related materials. It’s important to emphasize that a brand is more than its logo.
Messaging is a verbal strategy for using language to communicate what makes an organization, business unit, product or initiative different from its competitors. Audiences come to understand what your brand stands for, in a differentiating and authentic way, when they consistently hear and see the same messages, but with fresh, varied expressions. Messaging is the roadmap for content strategy and content development.
A tagline is a short, memorable description that succinctly and clearly communicates the brand message and reflects the brand personality. A tagline is different from an advertising/marketing slogan. Unlike slogans, taglines don’t usually change. For example, Disneyland’s tagline is “The happiest place on Earth.” But the company has used different slogans for its marketing campaigns, including “I’m going to Disneyland.”
Cross-functional teams involved in strategic brand initiatives can more effectively define and activate a brand’s position when they have a shared understanding of important terminology. Share Beehive’s Brand Glossary with your teams to intentionally and strategically cultivate a brand that stands out, connects with audiences and establishes loyalty.
About Nicki Gibbs, EVP, Strategy
Nicki Gibbs leads strategy and services development at Beehive Strategic Communication. She has more than 20 years of strategic communication experience at Twin Cities PR agencies and on behalf of clients ranging from family-held businesses to multi-national organizations. Nicki helps companies discover, articulate and activate their authentic brand positions to reflect their purpose and values, and to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. Nicki’s ability to imagine what’s possible creates contagious enthusiasm that moves businesses forward.