20 Key Brand Elements and What They Mean
Branding is an essential part of starting and building a business, but the process and terminology can be quite overwhelming for someone new to the branding process. So I’ve compiled a list of the key brand elements to help understand what they mean and why they are important for your business to grow and succeed.
Now that we have a comprehensive list of key elements that might seem a bit overwhelming and confusing, let’s get into them one by one to see what they mean.
Your brand name is the unique name of your brand that identifies you in the market and differentiates you from other brands.
Your trade name is the name of your company producing your brand or brands. For example, Nike is a brand of shoes that is produced by a company with the trade name of Nike Inc. Similarly, one company can produce many brands like Apple produces brands like iPad, iPhone, etc.
A brand name is an important part of your business and you need to choose it wisely.
Brand identity can be a widely varied concept in itself but, covers anything that makes your brand identifiable to your audience. Your visual identity like your color palette, logo, icon, signature design element all fall under your brand identity. Your slogan or tag line and also your unique soundbite, if you have one, fall under your identity.
For example, the Intel “chime” soundbite, the Nike swoosh and “Just Do It” slogan, and the red background with the distinctive Spencerian script of the coca-cola logo all make the respective brand instantly identifiable based on these elements.
Your brand strategy is a long-term plan of how you will develop your brand to achieve certain sets of goals and ambitions. Your brand strategy, although it can be short, will be comprehensive in giving you’re a very clear idea of what you want your brand to become in the long-run.
Your brand positioning is how you position yourself in the market, differentiating yourself from your competitors. This is done through a brand positioning statement wherein you identify your exact target audience, your competition and the unique space that you occupy in your given market place.
Check out my article on How to Write a Personal Brand Positioning Statement to help you craft one for your business.
Your brand image is the image/perception that your customers or audience have about your brand. This also includes how the general public sees your brand, whether they interact with your brand or not.
Your brand personality is how you can characterize your brand in terms of human characteristics and personality traits.
In 1997, Jennifer Aaker conceptualized that brand personality consists of five broad dimensions, namely: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.
Your brand voice refers to the way in which you convey your brand personality and connect with your audience or customers. Your tone of voice is really important for helping to create consistency in your brand identity.
Your brand equity is the value of your brand as determined by consumers’ perception and experience of your brand.
Making your products more unique, memorable, of superior quality, etc are great examples of how brands can increase their brand equity.
Brand experience refers to how your customers or audience experiences your brand.
Experiential marketing is a marketing technique through which you can create a holistic set of conditions through which your customers can experience your brand to influence their perception of your brand. Events, product launches, etc are examples of experiential marketing.
Read my article on Why Is Experiential Marketing So Powerful For Businesses for a more comprehensive overview of the concept of experiential marketing.
Brand communication is the combination of all your activities related to communicating, persuading, influencing, informing, educating your customers or audience about your products, services or brand in general.
Brand differentiation refers to how you are differentiated from your competitors in the market. What are the key factors that make your brand different? Maybe you are the “fun” lawyer among a market place of serious ones for example.
Identifying or purposely creating your brand differentiation is an integral part of crafting your brand’s positioning statement and will help to guide your marketing efforts to highlight your differentiating factors to your potential customers.
Brand extension is when you use your well-established brand image, to market a new product or service by using the same brand name.
For example, Dettol, with a well-established brand name, might create spin-off products like cleaning wipes, etc under the same “Dettol” brand name. These new products become an extension of the Dettol brand, which has a very good brand image already, thereby increasing the brand value of the new products by association.
Brand recall refers to the recall value that your brand has among your customers or audience.
When a potential customer is presented with a specific problem or need, they will recall a brand, or a few brands, that could solve that problem or need for them. Where you fit into that picture will be your brand recall value.
Your brand values are at the core of who you are as a business. These are your values that you believe in and building your brand on.
Your brand promise is a statement that tells your customers or audience exactly what they can expect when they interact with your brand, products or services.
That sounds all good, but it’s up to you to constantly deliver on that promise. If you can consistently deliver that experience that you are promising to your customers, then your brand promise can convert into stronger brand value.
Brand recognition refers to how well your brand can be recognized by your customers or audience when they come across your brand.
You can increase your brand recognition by creating awareness campaigns to expose your brand to more people and increase the likelihood of them remembering your brand the next time they come into contact with it.
Brand loyalty refers to the loyalty that your customers or audience have towards your brand.
Brand loyalty takes a long time to be build up but can be very powerful for your brand. Just think of Tesla as an example. Tesla has an almost-fanatical brand following with intense loyalty towards the brand and most will never buy an electric car from a Tesla competitor.
Similarly, many people prefer Apple over Samsung and vice versa, and very rarely switch brands. They usually prefer to stay true and loyal to their preferred brand and only buy products from that brand.
A brand architecture is a system through which brands are organized in a specific company and to show how and where they all fit together under one umbrella.
Coca Cola, for example, has many brands under one company, like Fanta, Sprite, etc.
The 5 main types of brand architecture models are the Branded House, House of Brands, Endorsed Brands, Sub Branded and Hybrid Brand model.
Brand value refers to the financial value that your brand has.
This is sometimes a tricky subject because the value of a brand is more than just the value of the company that the brand belongs to. The Nike brand, for example, is worth so much more than the actual financial valuation of the company, because the brand goes far beyond the products that it sells to its customers.
Brand awareness is the process of creating awareness around your brand for people to interact or come in contact with your brand and to introduce them to your products or services.
Click here to download the free eBook version of these key brand elements and what they mean. Having a pdf version of it can help you to reference it at a later stage when you reach that stage in your branding.