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align with their brands to create value.
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Brand Glossary



Like any other subject, branding has its own terms. We've found it helpful to define some of the terms we use in our assignments.

A brand is a promise, symbolized by an identity and made tangible by experiences. A brand's promise is communicated and delivered through many brand signals or touchpoints - name, graphic identity, products and services, advertising and marketing activities, employee behaviour, the experiences of the people you deal with. Brand touchpoints are controlled by your organization, but the brand itself is intangible and lives in the minds of your audiences. It's not what you say, it's the experience your audiences have that defines your brand.

Brand architecture
The relationships between the different parts of an organization (and how they're expressed) and the value of those relationships.

  • It establishes how your key audiences see what you do.
  • It helps them understand the breadth and depth of the value you bring.
Brand assets
The elements that carry a brand’s visual identity. These include products, signs, printed materials, electronic media and endorsements. When you are planning a launch of a visual brand identity program, a brand audit helps determine the scope of the resources required.

Brand audit
A review of an organization's brand strategy, brand tactics and brand assets to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Brand/business alignment
A brand mean nothing unless its promise is delivered. Aligning what an organization does to the promise is key to creating brands that are relevant and create value (at the bottom line or in terms of helping the people who are the focus of the organization). Once the brand is defined, the necessary alignment initiatives bring it to life for key audiences.

Brand council
Many of our clients have found it helpful to establish a senior group internally to guide a branding or rebranding process. This helps build support for the brand initiative and communicates the importance of the endeavour to the organization. The members of the brand council bring insight from their particular areas of the business to help define and articulate how the brand should be positioned and how it can be brought to life for internal and external stakeholders.

Brand framework (see Brand platform)

Brand positioning
A short and compelling statement that captures what an organization does, who its key audiences are, how it's different and why it has value. A brand positioning provides the basis for answering the question "Why choose us?"

A brand positioning is a rational statement with an emotional core. It defines the present value of an organization but also points to aspirations and strategies for the future. The brand positioning is used by internal audiences to guide strategies, processes, actions and decisions around business issues.

Brand platform (or Brand framework)
A clear and concise expression of the fundamentals of the brand, including:

  • Mission
  • Promise
  • Values
  • Character
  • Brand idea
A short phrase that communicates what the brand (and organization) does - its purpose. For Shepell•fgi, for example, we developed the descriptor Strengthening the health of people and organizations.

The promise of the brand in the language of the brand. A tagline is a short phrase, often used in combination with a name and graphic identity, that sums up the value proposition in a succinct and emotional way. For Bloorview Kids Rehab, we created the tagline From disability to possibility. The tagline is not an advertising slogan - it is meant to be used over time to reinforce the brand promise. The Bloorview Foundation used the brand promise in the title of a fundraising calendar called "Recipes for Possibilities."