The Glossary

A comprehensive glossary where I define all the industry buzzwords. To submit new ideas or suggest an edit, shoot me a note.


Direct-to-Consumer (DTC/D2C) - refers to selling a product or service directly to end customers without third-party retailers, wholesalers, or other middlemen.

Digitally Native Brands - refers to brands with a digital-first DNA.

Digitally Native Vertical Brand (DNVB) - refers to highly customer-centric brands born on the internet aimed at millennials and digital natives. These brands inspire their customers, speak to them, shape their choices, and have a sharp understanding of modern economics and growth trajectories. (via Andy Dunn of Bonobos)

Martech - the blending of marketing and technology in an effort to harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.


Brand - the gut feeling people have about your business based on the brand story you tell. 

Brand Story - the cohesive narrative that stitches together your origin, purpose, positioning, persona, and the products you offer, and how your customers are transformed as a result of using your products. A compelling brand story evokes a gut feeling people associate with your brand. 

Branding - the strategic process of influencing the gut feeling people have about your business. When people are willing to pay a premium for your product based on a gut feeling, you have succeeded in branding.

Brand Strategy - the plan you create to evoke a compelling gut feeling. The key difference between brand strategy and marketing is brand strategy focuses on the macro, long-term view of your brand, marketing focuses on the micro, short-term tactics.

Brand Development - includes the strategic and creative elements of your brand based on the market, customer, and business factors. Consider this your brand's foundation. It consists of who you are, what you do, who else does what you do, why you do it, who you do it for, and how you do it differently or better than the competition. 

Brand Identity - the visual expression of your brand consisting of tangible elements like your mood board, logos, fonts, color schemes, etc. Your brand identity creates visual cues for people to recognize you. Visual brand identity comes after you've nailed your overarching brand strategy and developed the foundation of your brand. A creative director/graphic designer designs the brand identity while working with the founder and brand strategist to ensure everything is aligned.

Brand Expression - the way you communicate your brand via your owned channels including your website, blog, and newsletter along with your shared channels from social media to IRL conversations. 

Brand Expansion - expansion grabs a megaphone and shouts your message to the masses in the form of earned channels like PR and influencers along with paid channels aka ads.


Mission - describes the purpose of your organization and how you’ll achieve that purpose. For example, Patagonia’s mission statement is “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” 

Vision - an aspirational statement that outlines your long-term objectives and goals over time. For example, Patagonia’s vision statement is “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

Values - your values are your guiding principles—that which matters most to you—that drive every aspect of your business. It’s your moral compass and core and gives you and your employees a sense of purpose and direction. For example, Patagonia’s stated values are the following: 1) Build the best product. 2) Cause no unnecessary harm. 3) Use business to protect nature. 4) Not be bound by convention.


Brand Authority - your dominance in your particular market and industry.

Brand Communication - core message delivered through various media sources.

Brand Differentiation - how a brand stands out from the crowd, unique elements of a brand. 

Brand Elements - tangible brand deliverables like messaging, packaging, logo, etc.

Brand Equity - the value of a brand, both tangible and intangible like product features and benefits.

Brand Expectation - delivering on your brand promise

Brand Experience - every touchpoint a customer interacts with while purchasing and using a brand.

Brand Gap - the difference between what a brand says it will deliver and what it actually does.

Brand Image - the picture in people’s minds. 

Brand Perception - how consumers perceive your brand.

Brand Persona - emotional and personal qualities associated with a brand.

Brand Positioning - targeting, niche, way a brand is positioned in a market.

Brand Promise - a simple sentence that encompasses your tagline and mission.


Public Relations - often abbreviated to PR, is the art of communicating a business or brand’s messages to the consumers they hope to reach, impact and influence. The primary role of a publicist is to work with a brand to decide what those messages will be, how they will be delivered, who will deliver them, what platform to use, and how to deeply engage with this targeted niche audience in a meaningful way.

Macro-Influencers - established brand ambassadors with 300k to 1M followers on their primary channel. Ambassadors with 1M+ followers are known as powerhouse or celebrity influencers.

Micro-Influencer - emerging, up-and-coming brand ambassadors with fewer than 100k followers on their primary channel.

Earned Media Value - also known as EMV, is the metric for quantifying the estimated value of consumer engagement with digital earned media. It assigns a unique value to a piece of content based on the engagement received from followers and consumers. EMV can be used to evaluate the earned performance of individual marketing campaigns and benchmark brands within the competitive landscape. 


Community Management - this is about engaging with your audience beyond your social media publishing. It’s part customer service, part listening to the internet, and part being active in discussions that relate to your brand.

Social Media Marketing - the production and distribution of social content to reach new customers and communicate with your current ones. Here, you might be focused on things like reach, engagement, and how much traffic a post drives to your site.


AOV - average order value. How much a customer spends on average each time they buy.

CAC/CPA - customer acquisition cost or cost per acquisition. How much it costs in advertising spend, referral spend, etc. to get a new customer. 

- cost of goods sold. The cost not just of buying/manufacturing some item but also all the associated variable costs of selling it like storing, packaging, and shipping it.

Contribution Margin - the amount of revenue after accounting for CoGS.

LTV lifetime value (sometimes CLTV for customer lifetime value). The total amount of money a customer spends over all their purchases: AOV x number of purchases.

Payback Period - the amount of time or number of purchases until you’ve paid back your CPA.