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Branding Basics: 6 Key Branding Terms You Need to Know

June 26, 2023

Do a Google search for “key branding terms,” and you’ll likely find many lists, articles, and definitions, some of which feel repetitive or contradictory. Branding terms are often used differently in different contexts, and there is definitely some overlap between terms. Even for a branding professional, the brand/branding/brand identity issue can start to feel like the human resource lady scene in Step Brothers.

YARN | -Are you saying Pan or Pam? -I'm saying Pam. | Step Brothers (2008) | Video clips by quotes | 57ec91fa | 紗

To simplify, I like to think of these key branding terms in relation to brand STORY. I also order the terms/definitions in a more-or-less chronological order to give my brain a logical path to follow when using and comparing these terms in real life.

Here’s a simplified breakdown of the most basic branding terms that anyone growing a brand, large or small, should know and understand. ✨

Brand Messaging

Your Brand Story

Your brand messaging lays the foundation for your entire brand. It encompasses your mission, vision, values, tagline, brand backstory, core offerings, and value proposition. These components define the essence of your brand, its purpose, and the unique value it brings to customers. Crafting a compelling brand story that addresses customer problems and offers solutions is crucial for engaging your audience on a deeper level.

Brand Voice

How You Tell Your Brand Story

Your brand voice guides how you communicate your brand story with your audience and encompasses your brand personality traits, tone of voice, and language or usage guidelines. A consistent and authentic brand voice helps create a relatable and memorable experience for your audience. Whether it’s a friendly, conversational tone or a formal and professional approach, your brand voice should align with your ideal client’s preferences and expectations.

Brand Design

How You Visually Communicate Your Brand Story

Your brand design is what most people think of when they hear the word “branding” and plays a significant role in your overall brand identity. Brand design encompasses various visual elements, including logos, colors, icons, design elements, brand patterns, typography, and imagery. These visual components work together to create a cohesive and visually appealing representation of your brand. Careful consideration of design choices ensures that your brand visually communicates its core values, personality, and message.

Brand Identity

All The Previous Components Combined

Your brand identity is the cohesive, harmonious “thing” that emerges when your messaging, voice, and design unite. It represents the unified expression of your brand across all touchpoints. A strong brand identity leaves a lasting impression on your audience and fosters brand recognition. It conveys the essence of your brand in a way that evokes emotions, builds trust, and differentiates you from competitors. When your messaging, voice, and design align seamlessly, they create a powerful and memorable brand identity. It can be thought of as a simple equation:

Messaging + Voice + Design = Brand Identity


The Process of Discovering and Crafting Your Brand Identity

The only verb on this list of key terms, branding is an action. Branding encompasses all of the tactics you employ to define and position your brand. It is the ongoing, active process of creating, evaluating, and optimizing your brand identity. It involves strategic decisions, creative exploration, and continuous evaluation and optimization. Through branding, you actively shape and refine your brand identity, ensuring that it consistently resonates with your target audience. This process empowers you to create a meaningful and authentic connection with your customers, fostering loyalty and long-term success.


Brand Identity + The Way Others Feel When They Experience Your Product Or Services

Your brand not just the story and brand identity you share with the world, but how the world reacts to your story. It encompasses name recognition, reputation, client satisfaction rates, and the emotional responses people have when they experience your product or services. Your brand is the sum of how others perceive and feel about your brand. It is the image, concept, or memory that arises in their minds when they think of your brand.


I hope this breakdown gives you a better understanding of key branding terms and how to apply these to your own brand story. If you think it’s time to enlist the help of a guide to help you on your branding journey, I’d love to hear from you! You can reach out here to schedule a free consultation call or simply ask me a question. Chat soon!

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