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The Ultimate Brand Dictionary: Definitions and terms for brand marketers

24 minute read
The brand dictionary

One of the hardest parts about communicating brand strategy is getting the whole team to speak the same language.  

The Ultimate Brand Dictionary creates a common lexicon between you and your team. Share it, bookmark it! 

The 95:5 Rule

95% of potential buyers of your brand are not active in any given moment. They are not shopping for your category today. During this period of buyer inactivity, your brand should be priming these buyers, so that by the time they start shopping, your brand is the first one they consider.


Anchoring is a cognitive bias whereby a customer or stakeholder is exposed to some information (such as product features, benefits, price, packaging, etc.) and that information sets expectations for what future entrants should have. With anchoring, brands benefit from first mover advantage. Successive brands must emulate the anchor or fight to overcome the mental model. 


Archetypes are a mechanism used to help identify the personality of a brand by bundling related traits together. There are 12 basic archetypes: The Caregiver, The Creator, The Explorer, The Hero, The Innocent, The Jester, The Lover, The Magician, The Rebel, The Regular Guy, The Ruler and The Sage. Archetypes are used as a general guide (not a strict rule) for portraying the brand. 

Attitude Study

An attitude study is an effort to assess how customers feel, and how strongly they feel about a brand. This typically includes their overall sentiment about the brand, as well as specific perceptions they hold. 


In marketing, attribution refers to the identification of the actions a user takes across channels that lead to a desired outcome, such as a purchase. Marketing organizations will run multiple branding campaigns to increase the awareness, interest and preference for their brand. These efforts are measured via brand scores. As a buyer gets closer to purchase (or activation), the metering switches to the use of attribution (or multi-touch attribution) to determine specifically what channel, campaign or message is credited for the desired outcome. Variations include: First Touch Attribution, Last Touch Attribution and Multi-Touch Attribution.

Learn about BrandOps

Awareness Study

An awareness study is an effort to measure an audience's familiarity with a brand (prompted and spontaneous). Questions about awareness are often part of a brand tracking survey


In branding, the backstory is the story behind a brand such as where it came from, the key people, the meaning of the name, etc. Backstories are important element to growing brand loyalty and to expressing the brand purpose. 


The term 'brand' has multiple meanings depending on the context:

  1. (n) - A reference to a company. "Sales are down - we need to land some new brands!"
  2. (n) - The output or outcome of branding efforts. "In the last year, our brand has really been in front of our audience."
  3. (n) - A reference to brand image in terms of reputation in the minds of others. "After treating their workers poorly, their brand went to the toilet."
  4. (v) - The process of brand building

Brand Ambassador

A brand ambassador is anyone, but often employees of the company, who promote the brand to stakeholders. Some companies have an official role for brand ambassador who lead or participate in internal branding efforts. The ambassador acts as an advocate within brand communities with the objective of growing brand loyalty and creating a brand tribe

Brand Analytics

Brand analytics is the process used to measure the health and performance of a brand. Typically, the measurement is highly quantitative and focused on the brand pillars. The purpose is to provide insights used to enhance the brand strategy. Software, such as BrandOps, automates the collection and analysis of brand data to enable continuous improvements.

Brand Approval

Brand approval measures a stakeholder or set of stakeholders' beliefs that the brand is performing at a satisfactory level or better. Approval is often measured by reviewing sentiment analysis of unsolicited mentions, as well as via brand tracking surveys.

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture refers to both the techniques used to manage brands, and the output of that work. Over time, the number of brands in a company will grow. Brand architecture helps to answer questions about how to strategically maintain a portfolio of brands to enable synergies, expose distinctive properties and mitigate risk through brand diversification. The primary frameworks are house of brands and branded house.

Brand Assessment

A brand assessment is an evaluation of a brand's performance. A brand is assessed across the brand pillars. Historically, brands were assessed by only using brand tracking surveys but in the era of digital marketing, brand analytics platforms are used. The assessments provide insights into brand alignment, recall/recognition, preference, loyalty, and so on. 

Brand Assets 

Brand assets are produced by the brand to inform a customer or stakeholder about the brand. The assets are often digital like logos, social media cards, infographics, website images, etc. The assets are typically stored in a Digital Asset Management system, and are used to create composite assets such as sales decks, full websites, etc. Brand Assets are expected to follow the brand style guidelines.

Brand Associations 

A brand association is when a brand intentionally, or unintentionally links its brand to another brand (see co-branding), person (such as a celebrity or influencer) or event. Intentional brand associations are done with the hope increasing brand strength through the association. Unintentional associations can have a negative effect such as brand safety issues.

Brand Attention

Brand Attention measures how interesting and relevant a brand is across all digital channels. Alternatively, it can be thought of as a measure of the success of a brand's marketing efforts on digital channels. It consists of metrics that highlight positive outcomes,
such as the number of social followers, branded search, online word-of-mouth traction, and more.

Brand Attributes 

Brand attributes are the output of a brand design effort, and are often aspirational attributes that a brand portrays and which a buyer wants such as rich, successful, powerful, etc. Alternatively, the attributes are simply the properties that the buyer wants in a company or product (e.g., trustworthy, efficient, etc.) 

Brand Attractiveness 

Brand attractiveness is a measure of how an audience judges the actions, personality, and associations of the brand. It factors in the overall reputation - an aggregation of brand perceptions. 

Brand Authenticity 

Brand authenticity is the extent to which a brand: 1. fulfills brand promises, 2. has strong alignment between the brand personality and the actual behavior of the brand. 

Brand Awareness 

Brand Awareness is a measure of the familiarity of a brand that is created through repeated exposure and memory cues. Brand analytics software determines brand awareness by looking at interactions in the digital purchase path. Historically, brand awareness was measured via surveys, with two primary variations:

  • Unaided - Can a customer recall a brand name when prompted with a category?
  • Aided - Is there brand name recognition from a list of brands?

Brand Benefits 

Brand benefits are the personal value and meaning that a customer attaches to the product or service. Conversely, the value that brand achieves are called brand equity

Brand Building 

Brand building (or, branding) is the process of creating and improving brands over a sustained period. Although there's no one way to build a brand, common steps include:

Brand Campaign 

A brand campaign is a type of marketing campaign that focuses on improving the brand pillars. Brand Campaigns are often run after a rebranding or when a company is taking their offering to a new market. The emphasis is typically on exposing the brand to drive awareness and build interest in the offerings. The result is a set of customers who have been primed and are then more likely to engage deeper with the brand and potentially convert to a paying customer. 

Brand Champion 

See brand ambassador.

Brand Community 

A brand community is a virtual or physical network of people who interact around topics related to the brand often in their spare time. The community might be sponsored by the brand but thrives based on active participation by the members, who show genuine interest and concern for each other's welfare and the brand. Successful brand communities have optional membership, advance toward a purpose, and rally around a shared value and purpose. (Jones & Vogl)

Brand Damage 

Brand damage is the negative effects resulting from brand gaps, brand safety violations and a general failure to consistently perform brand building

Brand Design 

Brand design is the process of creating the style elements which will be used in brand assets to convey a memorable, interesting, and presentation to the brand. The brand design often produces brand style guidelines and initial assets. 

Brand Differentiation 

Brand differentiation is the act of intentionally making a brand contrast with the competition to highlight the differences and to stake a position. Differentiation is typically communicated via brand messages that only it can make (a unique value proposition). Kevin Keller encourages the use of 'points of difference' including desirability (from the customer's point of view), deliverability (the company's capability), and differentiation (relative to competition). The point on 'deliverability' emphasizes that the differentiation can't just be about messaging - it must include the investments and talents that enable the firm's sustainable competitive advantage. 

Brand Dilution 

Brand dilution is a negative effect caused by inappropriately creating brand extensions. It occurs when a parent brand becomes overused, and the associated perceptions of that brand are lost on the sub-brands and then have a diminished overall value.

Brand Elements 

Brand elements refers to the visual aspects of a brand (wordmarks, brandmarks, pictorial marks, emblems, characters, dynamic marks, letterform marks), fonts, style, shape, color and so on. 

Brand Equity 

Brand equity is the commercial value that is attributable to the brand, rather than the product or service itself. A simple way to think of it is the value the brand has over a generic alternative due to the branded offering conveying some additional attributes (trusted, consistent, etc.) A strong brand equity offers price premiums, stronger loyalty and advocacy rates, easier entry to new markets, and the possibility of performing brand extensions and brand licensing

Brand Extension 

Brand extension is a brand architecture practice of using an existing brand's identity and equity to enhance a new brand's acceptance in the market. Brand extensions are used when the parent brand has high esteem and high familiarity. 

Brand Experience 

Brand experience is the accumulation of sensory perceptions and emotions related to interacting with a brand across brand touchpoints. The experience includes interactions with people (customer service, salespeople, etc.), the products and exposure to brand assets. A brand experience is evaluated based on the expectation that the stakeholder has, and the degree to which the brand fills, or fails to fulfill the brand promises. Brand experiences are often determined relative to experiences with the competition.

Brand Fit 

Brand fit is a measure of what a buyer wants in a brand compared to what the brand communicates. If the intersection is high, then the fit is considered to be good/strong. Brand fit is evaluated at various touchpoints. Buyers consider the personality of the brand and their perception of the brand's strength.

Brand Growth 

Brand growth is not well defined in the literature. That said, the two most common connotations are: 1. increasing brand equity, and 2. increasing market share, however, we'd suggest using the share of everything model instead.

Brand Guidelines 

See brand style guidelines.

Brand Health 

See brand strength.

Brand Identity 

Brand Identity is the primary output of brand design. A brand creates an identity to increase the rate at which stakeholders recognize the brand and associate meaningful attributes to the brand. The identity typically encompasses a set of visual assets such as a color palette, fonts, shapes, icons, patterns, the use of space, etc. The identity also incorporates a brand personality and brand assets to communicate the desired perception of a brand to an audience.

Brand Image 

Brand Image is the perceived image of your brand by your stakeholders (customers, partners, stockholders, etc.) The image exists in the stakeholder's mind and includes attractiveness, authenticity, and personality. Companies can influence their brand image through via their brand identity, ongoing branding, and brand experience programs.

Brand Influence 

Brands have become an integral part of our everyday lives. For the brands we trust and admire, their personality and purpose influence how we see the world. Brands strive to be forward thinking and to serve as a virtual role model for customers and stakeholders. As affinity to the brand increases, so does their ability to influence decisions related to purchase, and beyond. 

Brand Interest 

Brand interest is one of the brand pillars and refers to a buyer's intrigue about a brand and its offerings. With high levels of interest, a buyer is motivated to learn more about the brand and increase consideration and purchase intent.

Brand Lift 

Brand lift is a measurement of the impact that advertisements or brand campaigns have on brand awareness, brand interest and brand perceptions

Brand Licensing 

Brand licensing refers to the legal process where one brand grants another organization the right to use its brand for some consideration (usually money). 

Brand Loyalty 

Brand Loyalty exists when a customer plans to consistently purchase and use one brand over the competition often in the presence of obstacles such as cost or convenience. Loyalty is increased through positive brand experiences and involvement in brand communities which lead to a tribe mentality.

Brand Management 

Brand management includes the set of activities performed to achieve brand goals. See brand manager.

Brand Manager 

A brand manager is an individual responsible for managing one or more brands including the strategy, governance, execution, and continuous improvement. The brand manager owns the brand strategy and works with marketing teams to ensure a strong brand presence and successful execution of brand campaigns. In some cases, the brand manager is responsible for the brand's P&L. 

Brand Mark 

A brand mark is the visual elements of brand identity that use symbols, colors, images, etc. for trademarks, service marks, logos, characters, etc.

Brand Marketing 

Brand Marketing (also called demand marketing) is a subdiscipline of marketing that focuses on making a brand highly attractive to an audience in a memorable and compelling way. It focuses on increasing brand presence, brand awareness, brand interest and creating an association with the desired brand perceptions. Brand Marketing is often contrasted with Activation Marketing which focuses on buyers who've already been through a brand journey and merely need to be activated via a Call to Action, or some other urgent action.

Brand Metric 

Brand metrics are a means to measure the success or failure of a brand. The metrics are often bundled into related groups called brand pillars, and managed by a brand analytics platform, such as BrandOps. The metrics are used in brand assessments and as input to the brand strategy.

Brand Name 

A brand name is the portion of a brand that can be spoken (words, letters, numbers) and is typically protected via intellectual property rights. The brand name is an element of the brand identity. Brand names are often combined by using an internal brand architecture or part of a co-branding effort. 

Brand Operations 

Brand operations (or, brandops) refers to the roles, activities and processes within an organization that define, protect, and build the presence, awareness, identity, and perception of the brands. They are the stewards responsible for maintaining brand strength and brand growth. From an organizational perspective, brand operations can reside inside of marketing ops team, however, its focus will extend beyond the traditional marketing boundaries:

Brand Personality 

Brand personality is an outcome of the brand design process and is an important step in building a brand strategy. It involves the identification of the brand's purpose, traits, values, emotions, and style. Some organizations use archetypes as inspiration for their brand. After the personality is established, it is used as input to the brand identity. The brand personality defines the ongoing messages throughout all brand campaigns.

Brand Penetration 

Brand penetration (or, penetration rate, market penetration) is the percent of people who buy a specific brand in some time period, divided by the size of the relevant market population.

Brand Perception 

Brand perception refers to how a customer or stakeholder views the brand. In contrast, brand image indicates how the brand wants to be viewed. Optimally, these two views would be aligned. Organizations use brand tracking surveys and artificial intelligence to ascertain stakeholder perceptions' of the brand. Various frameworks exist to evaluate the perceptions along different dimensions including: trust, like/love, confidence, quality, ease, value, and so on. Additionally, BrandOps considers brand perception to be a brand pillar for evaluative purposes.  

Brand Pillar 

A brand pillar is an aspect of how a brand is evaluated. BrandOps recognizes four pillars: Brand Presence, Brand Awareness, Brand Interest and Brand Perceptions. Brand Analytics is used to analyze each pillar and provide the brand scores.

Brand Presence 

Brand Presence is a measure of the extent to which a brand is available and can be found in the digital world. Prospective buyers often start their purchase journey online by using search engines, company websites, eCommerce sites, social media, etc. New buyers rely on brands to have a strong presence. For brand growth, it is essential to maintain and grow the presence of the brand at a rate greater than competitors. Brand presence is measured by using the share of everything model and is considered one of the brand pillars.

Brand Promise 

Brand promises are either explicit or implicit statements made by a brand to the stakeholders which set an expectation (the promise). Explicit promises are often stated in advertisements or public venues such as FedEx's famous declaration, "when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight". Implicit promises are those assumed by a stakeholder because of a category or past experience. For example, a hungry customer would assume that all fast-food brands actually deliver their food quickly. Failure to deliver on either an explicit or implicit brand promise negatively affects the brand experience, and could incur brand damage.

Brand Purpose 

Brand purpose describes the reasons a brand exists beyond monetary reasons. Typically, the purpose extends into corporate social responsibility (CSR), bettering the work environment through diversity and inclusion (D&I), and embracing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). The brand purpose acts as an internal guide for employee behavior and part of the messaging related to the brand's personality. 

Brand Recall 

Brand recall is a measure of a customer's ability to retrieve the brand from memory when given the product category. Recall is often measured via a brand awareness survey (unaided). 

Brand Recognition 

Brand recognition is a measure of a customer's ability to confirm prior exposure to the brand when given the brand as a cue. Recall is often measured via a brand awareness survey (aided). 

Brand Relevance 

Historically, brand relevance refers to whether a brand is worth considering (functional properties, benefits, and emotional reward). Given a category entry point, a brand can be measured by its applicability to fulfilling some need. Brand relevance is a measure of the extent to which a brand fulfills the need given a specific situation, and relative to a set of competitive alternatives.

Brand Reputation 

See brand attractiveness

Brand Safety 

Brand safety is the process and tools used to protect the brand image and overall reputation. As it relates to the Internet, brand safety focuses on where a brand advertises and promotes itself. Here, the goal is to not associate the brand with undesirable attributes (e.g., hate sites, fake news, terrorism, etc.) 

Brand Salience 

Brand salience is a measure of how top-of-mind a brand is for a customer. Although the buyer might have brand awareness, it is important that they think of your brand in a buying situation. Brand salience is often measured as a percent, indicating the percent of time that a brand is thought of when they make a purchasing decision. 

Brand Signal 

A brand signal is the output of a brand touchpoint, where the interaction between a stakeholder and the touchpoint can be measured by a brand analytics platform to determine brand strength

Brand Score 

A brand score is a metric used to identify the overall health of a brand, or the strength of the brand pillars. At BrandOps, we use a scale ranging from 0 to 100, where 100 is the top score. 

Brand Strategy 

Brand strategy is a type of business strategy specific to how a brand will outperform the competition. Elements of the strategy include: identifying the buying audience and market segments, creating a brand personality, designing the brand image, establishing positioning and messaging, creating a brand architecture, planning key brand campaigns, and identifying a system of improvement through brand analytics.

Brand Strength 

Brand Strength, (aka, brand health) is a metric that indicates the overall health of the brand in the mind of customers and in the digital landscape, relative to competitive brands. It is determined by performing brand analytics, and communicated via brand scores across a set of brand pillars

Brand Style Guidelines 

Brand Style Guidelines are used to specify a consistent look and feel for the brand. The guides are published internally for design teams and externally for agencies and other 3rd parties to reference. The guides typically contain rules or suggestions on colors, imagery, fonts, white space, use of marks and logos, and the voice and tone of the messaging. 

Brand Switching Analysis 

Brand switching analysis is a focused effort to identify the root cause of switching from one brand to another. The process involves identifying brand perceptions across the category.

Brand Touchpoint 

A brand touchpoint is any point where an interaction with a stakeholder can take place. Each touchpoint has an influence on the perception of the brand. Touchpoints are encountered along a purchase path.

Brand Tracking Survey 

Marketers use a brand tracking survey to gain information about how a target market perceives your brand. The advantage of using a survey is you can segment the audience around demographics, psychographics, firmographics, or geographic area. The survey typically asks very specific questions on aided and unaided awareness, brand preference, and perception of the brand. 

Brand Traits 

Brand traits refer to the personality traits that a brand attempts to emulate. For example, a brand might want to be portrayed as luxurious, sophisticated, or friendly. The traits are considered part of the brand personality and are often grouped into bundles called archetypes

Brand Tribe 

Brand tribes are people who exhibit high brand loyalty and act as advocates. Often, they are the core members of a larger brand community. Brand Tribes often reinforce each other's commitment to the brand.

Brand Valuation 

Brand valuation is the process of determining the monetary value of a brand. The purpose of the valuation varies but common reasons include: licensing or divestiture of the brand, financial reporting of intangible assets and strategic financial investments in the brand. Several techniques exist to perform the valuation including: determining the amount already invested in the brand, determining the amount a 3rd party would purchase the brand for, and determining the loss a company would incur if they lacked the brand.

Brand Value 

Brand Value is often considered the price premium a customer is willing to pay for a specific brand beyond a competitor or baseline. 

Branded House 

Branded house is a brand portfolio management technique whereby more specific product brands are tucked inside of a portfolio brand, or a portfolio brand tucked inside of a corporate brand. For example, '3M' is a corporate brand, 'Scotch' is a portfolio brand, and 'Giftwrap Tape' is the product brand. In this scenario, the tape borrows credibility from 'Scotch' and '3M'. 

Branded Traffic 

Branded traffic refers to the traffic is generated from a search engine when the brand's name was used as the search term. Branded traffic can be used as a metric to indicate awareness of the brand. Contrast this with 'non-branded traffic', where a user enters search terms that describe what they're looking for rather than who (which brand) they're looking for. 


See brand building.

Causal Relation 

Causal relations are used to identify the cause-and-effect between events (e.g., the light switch was turned to the 'on' position, and then, the light came on). Causal relations are notoriously difficult to determine when the number of variables increase. For example, an organization might run a Google ad that results in a click-through and a purchase. Was the ad directly responsible (causal) for the purchase? Or, had the user already been primed by reading about the products online, studying the competitors, or having interacted with the brand previously. Hence, it's extremely difficult to identify causal relations for the purpose of attribution.


In the context of marketing, a category refers to a set of competitive offerings that compete for a buyer's attention and spend in a market. Categories are often divided into subcategories to ensure that the products are truly competitive. For example, in automotive, a person shopping for a new luxury sports car is likely not comparing it to a pre-owned minivan. 

Category Entry Point 

Category entry points (CEPs) are mental pathways to the brand. CEPs represent the buyer's thoughts at the beginning of the purchase journey. Jenni Romaniuk identifies six areas of entry:

  1. purchase situations (at the mall)
  2. consumption situations (for a birthday party)
  3. environment the buyer is in (at the beach)
  4. who else is present (with the kids)
  5. their needs (need something refreshing)
  6. the benefit the category can offer (filling snack)

Category King 

The category king is the brand that dominates within a competitive category. From a branding perspective, the leader is identified by using a brand score across the brand pillars. From a sales perspective, the category king is the brand that has the largest share of revenue.

Challenger Brand 

A challenger brand is one that is not the leader in a category yet seeks to gain or surpass the category king. This contrasts with a niche brand that prefers to dominate one corner of the category. Challenger brands must grow their brand at a rate faster than the leader. Because of this, a challenger brand typically employs techniques that are riskier but offer a higher reward. 


Co-branding is an arrangement where a single offering or campaign will use multiple brands from different companies. The agreements are often short in duration and used to lend the equity of each brand for a mutually beneficial opportunity. Co-branding relationships typically extend beyond just the branding and serve as revenue opportunities for both companies. For example, a concert might give exclusive rights to a credit card company for early purchase. Here, one brand acts as the lead brand, and the other as a subordinate / sponsor brand. 

Cognitive Bias 

A cognitive bias is an effect where a person is exposed to some signal or information which influences their beliefs, and potentially the decisions they make. Marketers leverage biases to increase conversion rates. Examples include: social proof (your friends recommend X), authority bias (an expert recommends X), limited-time offer (buy now!), power of free (buy 1, get 1 free). 

Cohort Analysis 

Cohort analysis is the process of identifying a set of users who share common characteristics (e.g., age, education, etc.) These groups of characteristics are then used to find similarities in the data. Cohort analysis is a form of cluster analysis


In marketing, consideration is the level of thought or diligence put into a purchase. Low consideration purchases are typically inexpensive or commodity items, while expensive or complex offerings are usually high consideration. Both high and low consideration items rely on their brand strength but for different reasons. Low consideration items use brand strength to win ad hoc opportunities, while high consideration offerings leverage their brand to be automatically included in 'the short list'.

Corporate Brand 

A corporate brand is the brand name of a corporate entity. In some cases, the corporate brand is not promoted such as Alphabet (the parent of Google), but in many cases the corporate brand is the primary brand used, especially in organizations that only offer one product. 

Cluster Analysis 

In market research, cluster analysis is used to group similar items together (in a cluster). The items being grouped are often customers, and their preferences and behavior. The data is used to identify segments that might benefit from personalized messages or purchase paths. 

Correlative Relation 

Correlative relations are a type of statistical relationship between two variables used to indicate the extent to which they are related. Correlations are commonly used in complex scenarios when it's difficult to prove a causal relationship. In branding, it's important to look at brand marketing efforts to determine their impact on some goal (sales, high margins, etc.). Due to the complexity of this problem, it's common to draw correlations and rank their significance level. 

Customer Lifetime Value 

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV, or CLTV) is a forward-looking estimate of the net profit that a customer contributes over a brand's relationship with them. CLV is a useful metric because it helps a business set an upward limit on the level of investment to acquire the customer. 

Defection Rate 

The defection rate is the rate at which customers abandon their current preferred brand and switch to a competitor. Some level of customer attrition (churn, turnover, defection) is expected. The objective is to keep the defection rate lower than industry or category average by encouraging brand loyalty.

Digital Asset Management 

Digital asset management (DAM) refers to the tools and processes used to store digital assets like logos, pictures, icons, etc. Modern DAM software facilitates the storage of assets for teams via workflows, security mechanisms and version control. Most DAM solutions make it easy to categorize and search for an asset, facilitating reuse and consistency. 

Digital Availability

Digital availability is the measure of a brand's discoverability and captivation across all digital channels. It can also be thought of
as the digital brand distribution that simultaneously acts as a permanent augmentation of mental availability, attracting new buyers
and as a brand's always-on digital shelf. The formula for measuring it is a sum of Brand Presence and Brand Attention.

Distinctive Assets 

Distinctive assets are non-brand name elements, such as colors, logos, characters, and fonts that can trigger the brand for category buyers (attr., Jenni Romaniuk) These assets facilitate the mental association between a brand touchpoint and the observer's recollection of the brand. The distinctiveness of an asset is measured via Fame (% of category buyers where the brand has a salient link to the asset) and Uniqueness (the brand's level of ownership of the asset versus competitor brands).

Double Jeopardy Law

An empirical law that says market share size is the key factor that determines customer loyalty levels.
In other words, small brands have fewer buyers, who buy less frequently and are less loyal (compared to big brands).

Duplication Of Purchase Law

An empirical law that says all brands share their customer base with competing brands in line with the size of those other brands. In other words, everyone shares a lot with big brands and a little with small brands.

Emotional Branding 

Emotional branding is the act of using imagery, sounds and associations to evoke a desired emotion in a stakeholder. The brand personality is used to determine the type of emotion evoked. For example, a gun manufacturer wants people to feel safe and secure, while a cosmetics company wants their buyers to feel beautiful and confident. 


Ethnography is a qualitative research method that suggests the researcher spend significant time with a target audience to observe their behavior. The objective is to create a holistic view of their daily routines. This data can be used by branders to identify category entry points, better understand how their offering might be used, and what aspects are deemed important.  

Exemplar Brand 

An exemplar brand is the predominant example for which other brands are compared against. They define the must have features or properties that become necessary to enter a category or subcategory. Exemplar brands often become the most visible and credible brand option. (attr., David Aaker)

Google Effect 

The Google Effect is phenomenon where people tend to forget information that can be easily found online via Google or another search engine. Due to this effect, brand marketers now must split their efforts between creating a memorable brand (distinct, salient, etc.) and dominating the branded purchase path. 

Hero Brand 

Hero brands serve as model examples for others to emulate. These brands are considered so strong that they endure through crisis and easily achieve high levels of brand equity. Hero brands are not specific to a category (like an exemplar brand); they cross industries and categories and provide a guiding light for other brands to follow.

House of Brands 

House of Brands is a brand portfolio management technique whereby each brand maintains its own unique identity rather than relying on a master brand. Brands inside the house are given large degrees of freedom in their naming, colors, symbols and so on. This freedom allows it to maximize appeal to a target audience, but because it is independent, it doesn't gain the benefits (or detriment) associated with a master brand.

Internal Branding 

Internal Branding is the process of educating and engaging your employees about the values and purpose of your brand, and how the brand is reflected in the company culture. It creates an emotional connection between employees and the brand, incents and aligns employee behavior (NPS and CSAT), and encourages brand advocacy

Jobs to be Done 

The Jobs to be Done framework is a process for identifying indirect competitors via their substitutable properties as related to an objective. For example, Coke might consider their competitor to be Pepsi but the consumer might choose to solve their thirst problem by drinking a glass of water. Similarly, one might think they need a calculator to solve a problem, but instead use paper and a pencil. 

Market Penetration 

Market penetration is a measure of how much an offering is actively being used relative to the total estimated market size. For example, the category of widgets might have an estimated market size of $10,000,00, and three competitors all have a $1,000,000 share. Here, the market penetration would be 30%.

Market Share 

Market share is percent of total sales a particular company has relative to the actual sales in a category. For example, the category of widgets might have total sales volume of $1,000,000. One company might have $700,000 of sales (70% market share), and the other competitors have the remaining. 

Marketing Campaign 

A marketing campaign is a sustained effort to promote a brand or the products and services a company offers. The campaign typically crosses multiple channels (television, email, online ads, etc.) and is targeted at a specific audience. The objectives range from introducing the brand, to education, increase switching or generating leads or sales. Also see, brand campaign.

Master Brand 

The master brand is the overarching brand name used in a brand architecture to anchor sub-brands. Although the master brand is often the corporate brand (e.g., "3M"), you'll often see the portfolio brand act as the master brand (e.g., "Scotch"). In this example, the packaging might highlight "Scotch Tape", and barely reference "3M". 

Mental Availability

The probability of a certain brand being thought of in buying situations, or even in scenarios that remotely resemble demand for brand's category. The higher the mental availability, the broader the range of situations the brand will be thought of, thus increasing the brand's chance of being bought.

Messaging Ladder 

A messaging ladder (or messaging hierarchy) is a technique used to convey the messages of a brand to the audience. The rungs on the ladder refer to the types of messages and their perceived value. The lower value messages are related to product features, while the mid-level messages focus on the benefits and the highest rungs discuss the outcomes and emotional associations of those outcomes. 

Parent Brand 

In brand architecture, a parent brand is a brand that qualifies (or precedes) either a portfolio brand or a product brand

Personal Branding 

Personal branding is the use of brand building techniques applied to an individual, rather than a product or corporation. Individuals build their brand to increase their ability to influence a population, and often to monetize that influence. Strong personal brands increase career opportunities and position the individual as an authority figure.

Portfolio Brand 

A portfolio brand (also, called family brand or umbrella brand) is a brand name used to group together a set of related offerings. If an organization sells a suite of products as a single unit (e.g., Microsoft has a portfolio brand "Office"), the portfolio brand acts as the unit of purchase - but it is more common for the portfolio brand to qualify a product brand (e.g., "Microsoft" is the corporate brand, "Office" is the portfolio brand and "Excel" is the product brand). Portfolio brands unify a set of offering and lend their brand equity to the individual products. 


Positioning (aka, 'competitive positioning') is used to highlight how one brand contrasts with the other brands in the category. The differences are used in the brand messaging to showcase the competitive advantage. For example, brand-X might position itself as the 'expensive, but highly durable solution', while brand-Y might position itself as the one with 'best support and highly convenient'. Positioning should align with brand fit: do customers care about that position? and brand promise: can you actually deliver on your position?


Priming is the process performed by brand marketers to stimulate a buyer or stakeholder with brand signals. Priming often triggers emotions that connect a person to the brand. These signals could be in the form of the brand personality, the positioning or a key message.  As a buyer moves through the purchase path, new signals are introduced to increase their affinity to the brand. In business, the objective is to fully prime a shopper to purchase your brand over the competition. 

Product Brand 

A product brand is the branded name of an individual product. Product brands are frequently preceded by corporate brands and portfolio brands

Purchase Frequency 

Purchase frequency measures the number of times a customer has purchased from your brand within some time period. It is typically aggregated over all customers, or a segment, and compared to prior periods to determine changes in purchase trends. 

Purchase Recency 

Recency measures how recently a customer has purchased from your brand.


Rebranding is a strategic marketing decision where the brand image is significantly modified, and the revised brand is reintroduced through one or more brand campaigns. Typically, a rebranding occurs when the brand becomes stale, has incurred significant brand damage, or fails to resonate with a changing audience (new global markets, shift in demographics, etc.). Rebranding is often risky because existing customers might lose some of their associations between your brand and their affinities. 


Semiotics is a research method for understanding cultural practices focused on the use of visual images, written symbols and other forms of communication. The discipline uncovers the underlying meanings that the concepts have to some audience. 

Share of Everything 

Organizations have moved to a digital-first model and incorporated omnichannel customer touchpoints. In addition, customers have a growing array of entry points and influence points as they identify and evaluate options for purchase including rating and review sites, new social sites, more emphasis on audio and video platforms, OTT advertising, etc.  Although this variety might be convenient for the customers, it leaves the selling organization with a splintered view of the customer and having to piece together insights. Share of Everything combines dozens of metrics across digital channels to analyze brand strength. It overcomes the limitations related to single channel metrics like share of voice or share of search

For a more thorough discussion, see Share of Everything.

Share of Search 

Share of Search is a metric used to indicate the extent to which a brand is being queried in a search engine (like Google). It is measured by counting the search queries for a brand relative to the cumulative count of search queries for the competitors in a category. The two limitations of this metric are: 1. It's a single channel metric, and 2. No search engine has implemented named entity recognition to disambiguate brand names from common words (Apple vs. apple), hence the accuracy of the data significantly limits its usefulness as a standalone metric, but it is valuable input to the share of everything model. 

Share of Voice 

Share of Voice (via Ads)

One of the early metrics for comparing brands was Share of Voice. As used in advertising, the analysis was done on the amount of ad spend relative to a set of competitors. It’s a rather crude way to look at things, but it essentially asked the question, “Are we outspending the competition?” Unfortunately, the metric isn't tied to an outcome, so it yields no interesting insights other than willingness to spend money to gain awareness and market share.

Share of Voice (via Social)

Although share of voice was a well-defined term in advertising, it was commandeered in the social media era. The new meaning focused on earned mentions of your brand relative to competitors. We continue to use this meaningful measure under the qualified moniker, “Share of Mentions, Social”.


A slogan is a memorable phrase that is often associated with a marketing campaign. For example, the slogan "like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" associates the company with an attribute (dependability). Also see, tagline.

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is the process of monitoring and analyzing social media for the purpose of understanding audience, finding influencers, spotting trends, measuring campaigns, identifying PR crisis, as well as monitoring personal and corporate brand strength. Social listening tools typically use sentiment analysis and provide online reports/dashboards to convey the results. 


In brand architecture, a sub-brand is a brand that has been qualified by either a corporate brand or a portfolio brand. It is the 'child' of a parent brand. 


A subcategory is a subset of a category where the products are more specific. For example, there is a category for 'automotive' and subcategories for SUV's, luxury sports cars, and so on. A subcategory introduces a set of 'must have' features or properties, and entrants typically compete primarily within the subcategory. 


A tagline is a few words that represent the value or ideals of your brand without explicitly mentioning your offerings. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” and KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” are popular taglines. Also see, slogan.


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