FAQ and Definitions

Have a Brand Strategy Question?

You Probably Have a Few Questions…
We have Over 20 Years of Answers.

To follow is a not an exhaustive list of  frequently asked questions but answering them all sure made us tired. A list of brand definitions follows the FAQs.

What size firms do you work with?

We work with all sizes of firms. The sessions have greatest impact in groups of 8-12 people.

What types of firms do you work with?

We work with marketing industry clients exclusively (design, advertising, public relations, interactive, and in-house agencies).

Can we call you with questions after the BrandSmart strategy sessions?

Absolutely, all our clients have unlimited remote access to us for a full 3 months after the session. After that, we are available remotely on an as-needed basis. Several of our clients call us back for refresher courses too.

Can we meet in person before making such a big decision?

We work with companies all over North America, making it almost impossible to meet with every prospect. We are happy to spend time with you on the phone, answer your emails and, of course, provide you with references.

What makes BrandSmart so different from the other strategy consultant processes?

BrandSmart was developed over a 20 year period for use by a nationally recognized branding agency, Cartis Group. This anthropological process produces a unified executive brand vision specific to the organization and/or product. Quite simply, it works!

Who will I work with?

You will work directly with Shannon Carter—more.

How do I know if BrandSmart is right for my agency?

BrandSmart is right for you if:

  • You are looking for a way to be more strategic with your clients
  • You need to build more meaningful relationships with your clients
  • You are struggling to differentiate your services or agency
  • You need additional revenue streams
  • You need your creative to be more strategic
  • You want Account Services to be more than order-takers
  • You need to inform your media buys

BrandSmart Definitions

Brand — A set of beliefs, values and images held by your various stakeholders about your organization and offering.

Branding — The process of instilling a defined set of beliefs, values and images into every communication touchpoint.

Brand Architecture — The defined configuration upon which branding endeavors and extensions are built.

  • Independent Brand — Independent brands may share ownership and resources but are built as independent and sometimes competing brands. (for instance, Brinker International owns Chili’s and Macaroni Grill)
  • Parent Brand aka “Over Brand” — All brand offspring share the parent brand’s name, therefore drawing brand association and trust. (For instance, Microsoft, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Word)
  • Central Brand aka “Master Brand” — All products and services are marketed under the Central Brand name (For Instance, Sears sells Sears brand hammers, dishwashers and clothing)

NOTE — Large brands with complex product and/or service offerings may operate several architectures simultaneously. (For instance, Sears sells and owns Sears Tools and Craftsman Tools)

Brand Audit — An assessment of all communication touch-point materials, ensuring they harmoniously support the core brand strategy.

Brand Platform — The Brand Platform is the foundation upon which a brand strategy is built. It typically consists of the following elements: Brand Positioning Statement, Brand Architecture, Brand Personality, Brand Promise and Brand Essence.

Brand Culturalization — The process of building a strong brand culture within your organization, centered on delivering a defined brand promise.

Brand Equity — The monetary value of the brand as a corporate asset above and beyond the balance sheet.

Brand Essence — The distillation of the intrinsic brand characteristics into a succinct core concept.

Brand Extension — A new product or service that is related to an existing brand through its defined brand architecture.

Brand Identity — The outward manifestation of the brand.

Brand Messaging Propositions — Defines the three or four key “messages” most relevant to your customer, based on both rational and emotional variables. The Brand Messaging Propositions are the building blocks for all organizational messaging.

Brand Personality — The human characteristics and attributes describing the brand.

Brand Positioning Statement — The conceptual “space” occupied in the mind of the customer — rooted in competitive advantage and resonating with broad audiences yet motivating and influencing individuals on their own terms. The Position Statement answers: what do we do, who do we do it for, why do we matter?

Brand Premium — The difference between the value of the brand to the consumer and the cost of the product/service without the brand attached…the premium the brand brings.

Brand Promise — A formal pledge, made by every employee to every customer, which is delivered through every aspect of business.

Brand Strategy — The formal plan for the systematic development of a brand to enable it to meet its business objectives. The strategy is rooted in fundamental research; the brand’s vision is driven by the principles of differentiation and sustained consumer appeal. The brand strategy will influence the total operation of a business to ensure consistent brand behaviors and brand experiences.

Branding Taskforce – A taskforce typically includes 8-15 people, representing every aspect of the business. These individuals are guided through several workshops to ensure the brand represents the entire organization and/or product. Along with participating in brand strategy development, the taskforce members will be the primary brand advocates during implementation. To ensure success and brand adoption, the branding taskforce should include executive leadership (CEO, President, CFO), Sales, HR, Product/Service Management, Facilities, Technology and Marketing.

Brand Touchpoint Map/Flowchart — The road map showing all brand touch points from the customer’s viewpoint and how the organization will live the brand promise at each opportunity.

Brand Value Pyramid — The messaging propositions specific to your organization placed in a pyramid structure based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This construct allows us to produce contextualized brand messaging based upon the items most important to your Ideal Customer Model.

Ideal Customer Model — Your customers’ behavioral and attitudinal attributes that go beyond traditional marketing segmentation.

Key Impact Triggers — The key 5-15 subjects crucial to success, specific to your brand.