I have heard “We need a new brand” from more than one executive in my 30+ -year career, and the little voice inside my head keeps saying: “Why? Does your company have such a bad reputation that it’s worth blowing the whole thing up? Do you realize what it takes to build a brand from scratch?”
After I dig beneath the surface with a few probing questions, I soon understand what I had suspected all along. It’s not the brand that needs to be new, it’s a logo, or a marketing campaign, or even a website!
Therein lies the confusing question: What do people mean when they use the word, brand?
Now, don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the exact meaning of brand. We marketers, like so many other professionals, have our own jargon. If you don’t know what those words and phrases are, it can be very confusing and you may resort to the one word that seems to encompass it all – brand.
To help you along, here’s a short list of terms that can help you figure out what those marketing pros are saying and what you need them to know:
- Brand: An overarching feel, look and essence of a company.
- Identity: Another word for brand.
- Logo: A visual (graphic) representation associated with a company.
- Tagline: A written expression – generally only a few words – used to convey further understanding of a company and its brand.
- Marketing Plan: An internal document, driven by the company’s strategic goals/initiatives, that outlines marketing goals, strategies and promotional activities.
- Campaign: A promotional effort (generally advertising and/or public relations) that is associated with a strategy within a marketing plan. It has a beginning and an end.
- Advertising: Paid promotion.
- Public relations: Unpaid or earned promotion.
- Social Media: Promotion (paid and unpaid) through websites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…
- Digital marketing: Promotion delivered on computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
- Collaterals: Printed materials, like brochures, direct mailers, and stationery.
- Content: Words, pictures, videos, etc…
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization, which in basic terms means getting your website recognized and ranked high on search engines like Google and Bing.