BRAND GLOSSARY


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Apperception:  This is the mental process by which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses. As the writer Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are.  We see them as we are.” Great brands know how to connect with the target audience’s field of experience and their understanding of the world.

Brand: The name and/or symbol that identifies a product, service, institution, organization, person, etc.  We believe that a great many things that do not stand on store shelves or have any place in commerce should be considered brands and managed as such.  

  • Fun fact: The word "brand" derives from the Old Norse "brandr" meaning "to burn" - recalling the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products.[2]  (Wikipedia)
  • The oldest generic brand in continuous use in India since the Vedic period (ca. 1100 B.C.E to 500 B.C.E), is the herbal paste known as Chyawanprash, consumed for its purported health benefits and attributed to a revered rishi (or seer) named Chyawan.[3] (Wikipedia)

Branding: 1) Creating the name, symbol and/or design that identifies a product, service or organization.  2) Branding is the systematic process of implanting the brand name and the appropriate associations in consumers’ minds.  When we are branding we are sending messages through a variety of targeted media vehicles to seed meaningful impressions of the brand in consumers’ minds.

Brand Architecture: is the structure of brands within a company or organization. It is the way in which the brands within a company’s portfolio are related to, and differentiated from one another. There are three main examples:

  •  Monolithic Brand: This describes a company that uses a single brand name across all of its products.  Mitsubishi is an example of monolithic brand that puts its name on financial services, cars, appliances, TVs, etc.  This is a sub-optimal approach because a brand that spreads itself across too many categories can be perceived as a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.   
  • Endorser Brands: Two of the best examples of endorser brands are Johnson and Johnson and Nabisco.  Both companies prominently display that they are the makers of Band Aids and Baby Shampoo and Nilla Wafers and SnackWells, respectively. This can be an effective relationship between the driver (Band-Aid) and the endorser (Johnson & Johnson).  For instance, if a brand is a new entry in a category, consumers may feel more confident knowing that it comes from and has the support of a proven endorser such as J&J.  The driver/endorser model only works if both brands can bring something to the party.  Endorsing a brand can backfire when an endorser brand imposes its name on an already popular brand.  In many instances, parent companies that are acquirers feel compelled to slap their names on valued brands and that can diminish the brand’s value.
  • Free-Standing Brands: Procter and Gamble, the venerable “House of Brands”, is the foremost producer of free-standing brands.  Whether it’s Tide, Cheer, Gain or Dash, the average consumer is none the wiser that these are all P&G brands. The merits of this architecture is that if for some reason, a brand loses favor or is the victim of some misadventure, its siblings will not suffer.

Brand Awareness:  This is the extent to which members of a target audience are aware of a brand.  

  • Aided Awareness – This is defined as a consumer’s awareness of a brand when it is mentioned.  If a consumer is aided with a list of company names and he recognizes the name then we categorize it as aided awareness.
  • Top-of-mind Awareness - This is typically considered to be the first brand name mentioned when a consumers mentions a series of brand names within a given category on an unprompted basis.
  • Unaided Awareness – This is awareness of a brand without prompting.  For instance, what car companies come to mind?  You will no doubt rattle off many names.  

Brand Development Index (BDI).  This represents the index of brand sales to category sales.   This can also be calculated as the percent of brand sales divided by the percent of the target audience population in a given area.  For example, a brand may have 6% of its sales in the Los Angeles DMA yet that market represents 4.92% of the brand’s target audience.  6 / 4.92 x 100 = 122.  Any BDI over 110 is considered a strong market any BDI under 90 is considered a weak market. Some national brands choose to reduce media spending in markets where they have low BDIs.  

Brand Elasticity:  The degree to which a brand can stretch into other categories, other industries or change its voice without stepping out of the bounds of credibility.  For instance, Hershey’s would not have credibility making laundry detergent unless perhaps it makes a detergent formulated for removing chocolate. Nah… that’s still a stretch.  In the 1980’s, BIC the plastic pen and razor and lighter manufacturer tried to market a perfume thinking that because Bic makes affordable pocket-size dispensers they can sell perfume.  As Bic learned, It doesn’t work that way.  The most famous of all branding stretches: when Levi Strauss introduced tailored 3-piece suits.  See ‘cognitive dissonance.’

Brand Equity: The monetary value of the brand name.  This is an almost impossible thing to calculate but it’s still attempted.  Conceivably, the brand value for a publicly held name should be its total market capitalization minus its tangible assets.  A brand encompasses the name, logo, image, and perceptions that identify a product, service, or provider in the minds of customers.

Brand Graveyard: This is the area of an awareness chart where brands that have high aided awareness and very low unaided awareness “live.”  If the x-axis represents unaided awareness and the y is aided, then brands that would “plot in the northwest section of the graph would be in the graveyard.  In the automotive realm, if we were measuring awareness among US consumers, perhaps Renault or Citroen would live in this space. They are known entities among a large portion of U.S. adults, but these names are not likely to be mentioned on an unaided basis.

Branded House: This is another term for a monolithic brand.  A branded house is a company such as Mitsubishi that has products and/or services across a range of categories and uses the same name for all products and services.  In contrast, a “house of brands” such as Procter & Gamble uses different brand names for each of its products and the parent company plays a very limited role.

Brand Image:  The thoughts, images, feelings, associations that are evoked in the minds of consumers when the consumer sees or hears the brand name and/or symbol or perhaps even a brand fragment, e.g. such as Verizon’s red and AT&T’s orange colors.   

Brand Integrity: 1) The extent to which a brand’s message and personality carries through to all aspects of its existence.  2) The extent to which a brand’s actions lives up to its claims.  For instance, one might think that through BP’s graphic identity and its messages that it cares about the environment but we have lots of evidence to show that the environment plays second fiddle to its profit motives.

Brand Salience: 1) The extent to which a brand stands out or comes to mind relative to its consideration set. 2) The extent to which a consumer feels close to the brand. For instance, people have equal awareness of Microsoft and Apple yet many feel very close to Apple and feel no connection whatsoever to Microsoft. When it comes to effective branding, the name of the game is salience, not awareness.

Brand Strategy: The brand strategy is the plan for shaping and delivering your message to your target audience.  Magnet’s brand strategy documents typically include pertinent observations about the target audience, a demographic and psychographic profile of the audience, a brand positioning recommendation, which includes the recommended positioning statement and strategic personality and tactical and promotional ideas to illustrate how the brand positioning might come to life.  Often our brand strategy documents are appended to a detailed media plan that provides the recommended medial vehicles, their audience delivery, cost per ad unit and recommended frequency of messages.  The brand strategy encompasses the who, what, where, when and how of how your brand will be presented to its audiences.

Brand Personality:  This describes the way in which a brand comports itself.  Nike has a confident, competitive and slightly irreverent tone. In contrast, Disney’s personality is fun and family-oriented.  It’s not just what you say but how you say it that matters.  Brand personality is an essential component of the brand positioning.

Brand Planning: This is the on-going use of research to collect consumer insight to insure that all facets of brands are maximally relevant and desirable. In the simplest terms, brand planning is the process of keeping consumers involved in all significant developments of the brand.  

Brand Position: The brand position is where the brand “lives” in consumers’ minds relative to its competition.  Smart brands effectively position themselves by connecting the brand with a distinct set of attributes or characteristics.  For example, in the realm of paper towels, Bounty “owns” absorbance, Brawny “owns” strength and Marcal holds the value position.

Brand Positioning Statement:  This is the single-minded, seminal idea from which all aspects of branding emanate.  A positioning should be a simple and direct idea. “Altoids is the curiously strong peppermint.” We believe that the brand positioning statement is the seminal point for all facets of branding.  Without a clear, and compelling positioning, your branding efforts will fail.  So, what does your brand  stand for?

Brand Positioning: Brand positioning (as a verb) is a series of calculated measures involving messages, promotions, PR tactics, events and other methods to establish the brand position in consumers’ minds.  For instance, Subway sends messages about its fresh and healthy menu items and it also uses athletes to promote how Subway plays a role in their healthy lifestyles.

Brand Voltage:  We don’t care for the arcane definition given by other branding firms.   As far as we’re concerned, brand voltage defines the amount of life or energy the brand has.  Let’s face it: some brands are more “on” than others.  For example, Subway has more voltage than Blimpie’s.  Dunkin Donuts has more voltage than Krispy Kreme.

Co-branding:  This is when two or more brands join forces to promote a new product, service or business venture.  It is very important that your brand choose its co-branding partner wisely.  A good partnership should have some leverage as opposed to just being a good fit.

Cognitive Dissonance: The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. Cognitive dissonance can arise when a brand does something that falls outside the bounds of credibility.  For instance, Exxon/Mobil should not make coffee.

Perceptual Map:  This is a technique in which consumers plot a brand on a chart with two dimensions or attributes. The X-axis might represent traditional to trendy while the y-axis represents expensive to affordable. For example: we might use this chart to see where a set of restaurant brands compare to each other on the attributes.  In this instance, The Palm would live in the traditional/expensive corner of the map while Wagamama would live in the affordable/trendy zone.

Projective Techniques: These are a variety of techniques or exercises that qualitative researchers use to help interviewees and focus group participants express their perceptions, feelings and attitudes towards brands and various issues in interesting and engaging ways.

  • Card Sort: Using brand names on index cards, we ask participants to sort these cards in a variety of ways, e.g. in order of prominence or familiarity, in whatever order they think makes sense, in order of perceived up-and-comers and decliners. We might have participants sort cards by order of popularity and then re-sort according to perceived order in a couple years.  This provides a clear and tangible way to see how consumers think and feel about brands.  Here are just a few projective techniques:
  • Collages:  We ask participants to select images or words that they believe describe the image of a brand.  This creates a powerful way for consumers to visually display (project) their feelings toward a brand.  This technique can be used to describe feelings about life, relationships, products, circumstances, work or any manner of life.
  •  Drawings: Participants draw pictures to describe their relationship with things and their feelings towards brands. We had participants draw pictures about insurance companies to explain to the client the way people felt about this category.  One image that displayed an insurance executive sleeping amidst piles of money spurred our client to develop a campaign called “Insurance in Action” which showed all the work this insurance company does in the areas of safety and loss prevention.
  •  Personification:  Also called Anthropomorphism (if you want to get fancy), is the process in which we ask consumers to think of brands as people.  “Imagine that Nike just entered the room, describe that person.” This can provide some very illuminating insights into the personality and status of a brand and how that brand is perceived relative to its competition. “Imagine that Guinness and Corona are having a conversation.  What are they talking about? How are they relating to each other?
  • Planet – X:  In this exercise, we had participants envision three planets, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.  We asked them to think about what life was like on these three planets. Our client, a major communications carrier, found this exercise very helpful in distinguishing the difference between them and their competitors.

Share of Voice:  This represents the percentage of media weight a brand has in the market relative to the entire category. In the realm of fast moving consumer goods (fmcg), it is possible to measure the increase in market share relative to the increase in SOV.  

Sub-brand:  A sub-brand is a name that a company attaches to part of its product range or services because this particular sub-brand needs to stand apart from the main brand. Sub-brands send a signal to the consumer that they should be thought of and appreciated differently than the main brand.  For example, Marriott offers Residence Inn, Courtyard and Fairfield Inn.  Each of these offers a different lodging experience but comes with the assurance that Marriott is involved.

Teflon Brands:  These are brands that no matter how disreputable and underhanded their behavior may be, they manage to roll along and rake in billions. Some of the brands are considered “too big to fail.”  Hmmm… Can you think of any?

Value Proposition: A statement in ‘plain English’ that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.