The A – Z of Branding and Rebranding



17 min read

Jargon and technical terms can be a real barrier to entry into the world of branding and rebranding.

As a creative agency, it’s actually in our best interests to make sure you understand 100% what we’re talking about.

We want to partner with clients, so it helps if communication is as clear as it can possibly be.

Especially with branding projects, where the deliverables are clear cut and defined from the get go, it’s vital to be clear on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.



We’re an agency! Agencies help clients achieve their marketing goals via creative means. For more tangible examples of what an agency does, check out our work!


When talking about branding, a brand ambassador is someone who is evangelical about the brand. They talk about the brand and promote it in a positive light. There is some disagreement about whether this has to be a result of employment or engagement by the company or not.


A brand archetype is a way of personifying a brand and attributing certain characteristics to a brand. These archetypes can be used to define visual identity, tone, values, behaviours and even position in the market.


How a company structures it’s brands and sub-brands, and how they all work together.


Brand assets are elements that make up the brand as a whole that audiences distinctly associate with that particular brand. The golden ‘M’ on the red background of Macdonald’s is a brand asset, but it is also made up of several assets- the distinct colours, the M font style, and even the ‘ba da da dum da’ of the McDonald’s jingle.


Brand attributes are the core tenets of the brand that define everything else the brand does, and therefore defines the brand itself.


Who a company is going to try and attract with it’s branding efforts. Audiences can be segmented further for better targeting by using various audience personas.


A sense check of where your company are vs where you want to be.


Brand awareness is how memorable, impactful and recognisable a brand is, and how much of their target audience know, care to know, and want to know about that brand.


Brand Guidelines / Brand Book / Brand Manual

These are all interchangeable terms for the set of rules that dictates how your branding assets should be used.

Brand Loyalty

I’ll never not have an Iphone, unless something goes drastically wrong. I justify this to myself by saying the UI is just significantly better, the cameras are more versatile, the integration with my other tech is too good… but when it comes down to it, I’m just an Apple brand loyalist. Brand loyalty is the ‘good vibes’ people associate with a product or brand, and it makes them resistant to any efforts to draw them away from said product. Very useful for customer retention!


Branding is… well, branding is a complex entity. Branding is almost intangible. Functionally, branding is how people view and perceive your company. It’s also how you as the owner, and your workforce view and perceive the company. It’s your what, your how, and your why. For more of a deep dive explanation, check out our what is branding blog post.

Branding Services

Branding services are the strategic, creative, and ongoing service suite offered by an agency like Canny Creative. They can range from creating a brand strategy, to the design and rollout of your brand identity, to ongoing branding and marketing support. Check out our complete list of branding services for more information.


A brand brief is a comprehensive overview of exactly what your brand is, and isn’t. It outlines the objectives, goals, values, and vision of your brand, allowing you to communicate the direction, purpose, and positioning of your business as clearly as possible. It looks a bit like our branding brief template, but filled in with your details.


How much money you can afford to put into crafting your brand, considering the lifetime ROI a strong brand will give you.



A brand campaign is a marketing effort with a centralised theme that gets your brand in front of the the right audience and conveys the right message. There are a lot of ways to do this, but as an overarching definition, a marketing effort with a centralised theme is probably as succinct and accurate an answer as you’d ever get.

Clearance Space

This is how much space a logo or brand mark has on all sides so it doesn’t get drowned out by other visual assets.


Where two brands come together to promote or release a new product or service or form a brand partnership.

Colour Palette / Colour System

This is the colours you wish your brand to be associated with.


These are the corporate entities that exist in your sector who you directly compete with for attention.



Deliverables are the discrete things you get over the course of a branding project. This can include a logo, stationary designs, graphic identity and more.


This is how your branding sets you apart from competitors, and makes you stand out in your sector or industry.

Discovery Session

This is an initial meeting to go over and discuss anything and everything about your brand identity, where it is, and where you want it to be.


Ecommerce Brand

This is the branding for direct to customer online businesses that deal in one off transactions on the website.



A font is a graphical representation of text that may include a different typeface, point size, weight, colour, or design.

white i on a green background (the public information point logo in europe)



An icon is a graphic symbol that communicates or represents a brand, object, or function.


These are the unaccountable, undefinable effects of branding- the non-physical assets and benefits branding brings.



Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between characters to create a harmonious pairing. For example, where an uppercase ‘A’ meets an uppercase ‘V’, their diagonal strokes are usually kerned so that the top left of the ‘V’ sits above the bottom right of the ‘A’.

van with livery



Advertising using your businesses’ vehicles by wrapping them in branding and prominently displaying your logo and other branding assets.

Logo Design

The design process of an identifying image that customers and audience associate with your brand.

Logo Mark

An identifying image that customers and audience associate with your brand.



Brand management is an overarching management strategy that positions your brand to succeed through cultivating high perceived value, customer loyalty, and strong awareness.

Market Leader

The person, company or entity with the greatest audience share in any given sector or niche.


Marketing is, in a nutshell, any action taken to promote your brand. If you want to take your marketing to the next level, why not check out how Canny can help you with it!


Your Masterbrand is the overarching umbrella that all of your products and services sit under. For example, Intel is the masterbrand, but Pentium, icore, and centrino are all brands that sit under the Intel umbrella.


Brand messaging is exactly what it says on the tin- the ideas and concepts you want your brand to convey. More on exactly how to execute and refine brand messaging can be found in this deep dive into brand messaging.

Mission / Mission Statement

Your Brand Mission is why you do what you do, and your Brand Mission Statement is a one or two sentence statement that tells people the answer to this. For a template on how to launch your brand mission statement, check out our brand mission statement blog post.


A motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person’s initials, used to identify a personal possession or as a logo.


A mood board is a library of images, patterns and fonts that you find impactful and suitable for your own branding. Moodboards can be used to guide your overall branding design, as it centralises the branding aspects you favour.



This is the process of designation a word to your business. Just like naming a baby- this one is pretty self explanatory!

O and P scrabble tiles next to one another



Anything that conforms to the brand guidelines, as well as conforming with the visual identity and messaging of the brand.


If On-Brand means all of the above, what do you think Off-Brand means? Answers on a postcard.



Packaging is the disposable plastic, cardboard or whatever else that protects your products in transit. Branded packaging is a great way to reinforce your brand in customers minds.


A brand partnership is a mutual agreement between two or more businesses working to increase each other’s brand exposure, break into new markets, and add extra value to products/services.


A persona is an imaginary person that would be a typical member of your ideal audience. Check out our customer persona worksheet for an example of how to develop a audience persona.


Similar to a brand archetype, this is the human characteristic traits that can be attributed to a brand. Typical personality traits attributed to brands are:

  1. Sincerity
  2. Excitement
  3. Competence
  4. Sophistication
  5. and Ruggedness


Brand positioning is how the brand is perceived in relation to the rest of the sector and wider industry. It refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors, making it slightly different from the concept of brand awareness.


The actions taken in the order they are taken in to formulate your brand, from start to finish. For a more in-depth look at the branding process, check out our branding information page.

Product Placement

Product placement is when references to specific brands or products are incorporated into another work, such as a film or television program, with specific promotional intent. Usually this is done in such a way that the advertorial or promotional intent is masked- for more examples check out our product placement history blog!

Product Brand

Product branding is the branding of an individual product (like Pentium) that has branding that is distinct from the masterbrand (Intel).


Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting non-numerical data, such as language, digital body language and buyer psychologies. Qualitative research can be a little more subjective, but equally insightful, when compared to quantitative research.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting numerical data, such as bounce rate percentages, CTR, and buyer behaviours that result in actions on a website. Quantitative data is objective, but the results are easily manipulated.



Refreshing or updating your brand to reflect your business better, with a notable change to customer facing visuals. If you’re looking for a rebrand project, check out our process here and get in touch!


Changing a brand’s core messaging or personality to adapt to a change in marketplace demand, which can be done without changing the visuals and so is less intense than a full rebrand.


Editorial and changes made after the initial branding round has been provided.


RFP/RFQ stands for request for proposal or request for quote, and is the process of asking a business for a rough breakdown of costs for the branding services provided.

For your own RFP/RFQ template, check out our free downloadable RFP/RFQ template.


What is delivered to the client at each stage in the process. Typically 5 rounds of brand work.

a metal S embedded into a sidewalk



A sector is a defined section of all business or commerce in which each business entity offers a similar service or product. Sectors are typically defined by their offerings, so you have things like the healthcare sector, the technology sector, the design sector etc.

Service Brand

A service brand develops as companies move from manufacturing products to delivering complete solutions and intangible services. Typically, service brands are reliant on delivering a consitently high level of service.

Sonic Branding

The branding where a little blue hedgehog that fights against Dr. Robotnik… isn’t quite the correct answer. Sonic branding is actually the audio brand assets (anything to do with sound that identifies your brand) exclusively. This can include jingles, songs, themes, or even catchy little memory devices like the Hastings advert that sang the phone number- ‘0800 double 0 10 66’. I forget my own mobile number sometimes, but I’ll never forget that!


The important people involved in any project- this can be C-level executives, board members, or project managers to name a few. Strictly, the definition for stakeholders is “people or groups of people without whose support the organisation or project would cease to exist”. They’re kind of a big deal.


– Brandable physical objects like pens, pencils, letterheads, basically anything you would use in day to day life. We actually did a post about some of the best stationery designs we’ve come across, so if you’re interested in this avenue of brand promotion definitely check that out.


Your brand story is the story of your business, told in an interesting and engaging way. If you’re struggling to make that a reality for your business, check out this post about the 9 steps to crafting a brand story.
Strategy – Link to brand strategy post.

Style Guide

A more formal way of presenting your brand guidelines, the style guide shows the practical application of your brand guidelines and gives use cases for each individual guideline. This is also shared externally, whereas the brand guidelines are typically more of an internal tool.


A stylescape is a more developed version of the mood board, but instead of collecting any and all images that you like, this is refined into images you think match your brand exactly, and viable options for your actual branding rather than looking entirely outwards.


A sub-brand is a brand within a brand- a bit like Diet Coke within the Coca Cola brand. Distinct enough, but still irrevocably connected to the Coca Cola brand.


SWOT is an approach to analysing a business based on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Weaknesses and strengths tend to be internally focussed and something that you can control, whereas opportunities and threats tend to be external and need to be managed around rather than controlled.

SWOT analysis



A tagline is a short add on that explains or characterises the core messaging of the brand they accompany. Things like ‘Eat Fresh’ for Subway, ‘There’s some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s mastercard’ for Mastercard, and Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ are all particularly memorable and effective examples of taglines.

Tone of Voice

Your brand tone of voice is there to provoke an emotive response from your customer, and build a connection with your target audience. The brand voice you choose will help decide exactly how you communicate your brand messaging.


Each and every way a potential customer or existing customers might interact with your brand.

Think of a hotel, you have:

  • Your website
  • The booking experience / user journey
  • The hold music when people call your telephone line
  • The presentation of the hotel’s driveway/car park
  • The way your reception is decorated
  • The staff uniforms
  • The key for your room
  • The room itself, including colour schemes etc.

The list is endless! There are 1000s of opportunities to reinforce your branding and make for a positive customer interaction, if you get each of these touchpoints right.


Trademarking your branding is legally protecting it from use elsewhere or maliciously. Trademarking as a process and registering your brand legally can take up to 4 months, provided everything goes very smoothly, but registered trademarks last 10 years before you need to go through the process again.

Typography / Typographic System

Similar to font, typography or typographic systems are word styles that inform font, sizing, leading, tracking and kerning, measure, and scale. It’s basically the style guide for your fonts! Check out our blog post on typography and why it matters for more info.

a tree bending into the shape of the letter U



Unique buying proposition is the is what the consumer gains from buying into a certain company, offering, or brand. It is more sales focussed than a USP, and focusses on fulfilling consumer need rather than shouting about a brand’s uniqueness and differentiation factors.


Unique selling point is what makes the vendor or business unique, what they do that competitors don’t- their key differentiation factors.


Value Proposition / Statement

A value proposition or statement is a promise of values that will be delivered and can be taken as a given in any and all dealings with the brand. It puts brand values front and centre.


Brand values are the things that you most care about when it comes to your branding, and the things you’d like your brand to be perceived to be. The brand values should be so definitive, you could almost make a decision about whether or not to work with a company based on their values. Values are becoming more and more important as a growing number of consumers try to buy more ethically, and become brand loyalists to brands committed to strong values.

Verbal Identity

Covering the linguistic (rather than visual or sensory) aspect of your brand, your verbal identity is how your brand is spoken about and, arguably more importantly, how it isn’t spoken about.

Vision Statement

A vision statement sculpts the future of your business, and can include your brand as an aspect of that. If increasing your brand power is core to how you want your business to progress, then your vision statement and your brand outlook will naturally be closely tied together.

Visual Identity

Visual identity is the imagery and graphic aspects and assets of your brand that sets your company or business apart from the rest, basically the all encompassing identity of all of the visual branding assets.



A wordmark is a logo that is entirely made up of typographic elements, and no visual standalone elements. Vans is a good example of this, as although the typography is very stylised, it is entirely reliant on the brand name ‘Vans’.

vans logo

The A-Z of Branding and Rebranding

That’s all folks!

Unfortunately, X-raying a Yachting Zebra doesn’t have quite enough to do with branding to justify the inclusion, so we’re going to have to accept defeat and finish it at good old ‘W’.

I hope this has been enlightening, and armed you with enough knowledge to go ahead with a branding project– and if that’s the case, why not come and try out some of your new found lingo in a conversation with one of the Canny bunch?

Get in touch and see how we can help you with your branding project.