Brand Speak – Understanding the new Language of Brand

The Rising Tide of Brand Strategy Speak
It seems the brand and marketing industries are no more immune to the rising tide of ‘business speak’ than any other industry. Over the last year I’ve collected examples from around our brand agency and the web and researched the trends to bring you a list of my favorites. The good news is I think you’ll find them as imaginative and entertaining as they are informative.


Egonomics, Satsficing and other Freaks of  the New Brand Speak

Allodoxaphobia. Fear of opinions. Brands suffering this phobia will wither and die on the vine.

Baked-in brands. Those with an intrinsic value to their customers which as a result don’t require traditional advertising

Beamvertising. Guerrilla projections – brand messages and ads projected onto buildings in urban areas, usually from a moving vehicle. A powerful new brand design canvas from Santiago, Chile.

Blank Brand Canvas. Previously unidentified and un-utilized brand communication opportunity, ie. ‘Your out of office reply is a blank brand canvas – if i ran a juice co. mine would say: “out picking berries for our new summer berry smoothie.”’

Brand Acceleration. The Starbucks brand is 13 years old, Maxwell House is 108 – enough said.

Bold Brand Gesture. A brand communication or experience driven from your brand DNA making a particularly memorable impression through a combination of brand relevance, originality and uniqueness.

Brand decode. Breaking the visual code of brand design that sits beneath all categories and markets in order to successfully position a brand’s corporate image relative to its competitors.

Brand Mapping. Visualisation of the brands an individual consciously or subconsciously chooses to reflect themselves.

Brandthropology. The study of the laws of nature applied to brand extensions, especially for FMCG products.

Disruptive Branding. Paradigm busting mind-set providing a competitive advantage to any business not locked-into a straight jacket corporate mindset.

Egonomics. ‘Me branding’ – a fading trend in many ways the opposite to the growing trend of Ethonomics; ‘We branding.’

Emotionomics. The use of emotional connection through brand strategy and brand image to build commercially successful brands.

Farmwashing. Derisive term for big food companies who attempt to give the brand image of their mass-produced fare a dollop of fresh-farmed, country authenticity

Fameball. C-grade celeb with zero redeeming talents, no conscience and a shameless, unquenchable desire for fame.

Flashmob. Seemingly random but usually choreographed guerrilla experiential marketing performances that pop-up in public spaces to create memorable brand gestures.

Food Insecurity. Trend driving consumers to grow more of their own vegies, herbs, fowl, etc.

Fighter Brands. High risk, high reward brand strategy to knock-out cut-price competition and protect a premium market positioning.

Frugal Fatigue. People tired of saving their money due to the recession begin to loosen the purse strings.

Green graffiti. where street art and the environment collide, a new canvas for brand communication appears:

Greenwashing. Re-branding old, often inferior products as environmentally friendly.

Hackintosh. Apple fanatics hacking a cheap notebook and muscling it-up into mac a clone.

Hyperfoods. Superfoods, health drinks, added-value foods that improve well-being, prevent disease & the effects of ageing.

Hyperlocal. Brands of any size that customise their offer & tailor their communications to individual & unique markets.

Joywashing. Brands highlighting the positive and optimistic dimensions of their offer to appeal in the face of the recession.

Luxury Shame. Reflecting a conservatism towards outward displays of luxury consumerism.

Masterchef Effect. The popularity of foodie TV programs is positively impacting the health of food brands across the spectrum.

Mom & Popism. Individual micro retail that creates a unique collective community

Microsizing. Backlash to supersizing trend; TGI Fridays in the us has ‘right portion, right price’ menu – dishes 1/3 smaller and 30% cheaper.

Multiplicity. Describes the many layers and dimension of meaning brands need to connect. Also totally forgettable Michael Keaton film.

Nudevertising. When supermodels take it all off for a cause.

Review Revolution. Social media provides a real-time snapshot of what people are thinking, feeling & reviewing around the world becoming a new and powerful influencer of consumer behavior.

Satisficing. Sacrificing brand richness to get broad stakeholder approval – the quickest way to bland your brand and corporate image.

Simplexity. The answer to the challenges of Multiplicity – Simple solutions to complex brand problems.

Staycation. Recession-driven trend in which consumers are opting to stay-in rather than go out.

Toyobaru. Subaru announces a new hybrid sports car to be built in conjunction with Toyota.

Tryvertising. New breed of product placement in the real world, introducing your goods and services into the daily lives of potential customers in a relevant way.

Womenomics. The economic/brand/design/market/political power of women – you get the picture.

If you have more Brand Speak examples I’d love you to email them to me.
If you’d like some help unraveling the complexities of brand speak and figuring out what it all means for your brand, why not get in touch.

David Ansett, Brandamentalist
Graphic Design Melbourne.
If you’d like daily updates of our brand thinking, you can follow me on Twitter here.


  1. Here’s a few more:

    Urban culture is the culture. Extreme urbanisation, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and far beyond will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world.

    Closely tied to what constitutes status (which is becoming more fragmented), luxury will be whatever consumers want it to be over the next 12 months.

    Mass Mingling
    Online lifestyles are fuelling and encouraging ‘real world’ meet-ups like there’s no tomorrow, shattering all cliches and predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future.

    To really reach some meaningful sustainability goals in 2010, corporations and governments will have to forcefully make it ‘easy’ for consumers to be more green, by restricting the alternatives.

    Embedded Generosity
    Next year, generosity as a trend will adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative donation services for consumers.

    2010 will be even more opinionated, risqué, outspoken, if not ‘raw’ than 2009; you can thank the anything-goes online world for that. Will your brand be as daring?

  2. Great collection of mumbo jumbo.

    I think this speaks to the desire of brand consultants to differentiate themselves by creating new words and phrases to describe their own philosophies and processes. Sadly, by inventing their own language, they create confusion among clients.

    I made a similar observation about the multitude of terms used to describe the concept of “brand essence” in a post at

  3. Jonathan Geach

    I hate brand jargon, it’s used for all sorts of different reasons:

    1. I don’t know what I’m talking about so I’ll cover it up with jargon.

    2. If I make it sound too obvious I’ll never be able to charge a lot for it.

    3. My brief to the agencies doesn’t sound “professional” enough.

    4. Our proprietary brand processes are better (more expensive) than the competitors and they require our own vocabulary.

    5. I didn’t go to collage just so I could use plain English and be understood by anyone.

    6. All professionals use jargon, don’t they?

    Any other reasons?

  4. Jonathan,

    Agree with all your points, only I wouldn’t use the word ‘hate’. I find it amusing and sometimes quite creative. Putting the list together was great fun, and if viewed that way the brand speak can be harmless. Hope you got some enjoyment from the post.

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