Branding Blog

Building a Brand Vocabulary

What do people talk about when they talk about your brand?
What unique elements define your brand?
What everyday word or imagery is associated with your brand?
What new experiences, phrases or trends has your brand created?
What, in essence, is your brand vocabulary?

Let’s do a quick test. See if you can identify these brands just by the words and descriptions that are normally associated with it.

Albert Einstein, Innovation, Different
Clown, Burgers, Big M
Mermaid, Coffee, Third Place
Joy, Performance, German
Budget, Red, Flight

Easy, no problem. Probably took you all of 5 seconds. Now, try these on for size.

Balinese, Contemporary, Mont Kiara
Stylish, Iconic, Mont Kiara
Luxurious, Extravagant, Mont Kiara
Premium, Prestigious, Mont Kiara
Low Density, High-End, Mont Kiara

These ones? Not so easy. In fact, almost impossible because the vocabulary is so interchangeable. And that’s the problem, not just with many property companies, but brands in general. Sure, the argument is that in a competitive space, it’s difficult to own an element that makes you stand out, but the reverse is also true; in order to stand out from the crowd, having a unique vocabulary is essential.

Now let’s try a final list, this time, all from F&B brands specialising in chicken. Notice how each has tried to differentiate itself through a strong supporting element that immediately makes it identifiable.

Chicken, Fried, 11 Herbs & Spices
Chicken, Roasted, Muffins
Chicken, Chargrilled, Peri-Peri
Chicken, Louisiana, Biscuits
Chicken, Rice, Halal

So, what’s YOUR brand vocabulary, and is it helping you occupy a differentiated position?

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