Naming of Brands
A great name can play an important role for a brand. While the brand name isn’t a substitute for the reputation that comes with a good product or service, it can help it stand out in a competitive market.
A memorable brand name that resonates with consumers sets a powerful stage. The brand name is the container of meaning. It is how people will talk about it.
The process of finding a name is called naming. This is the naming process we follow at Make it Clear.
Start by describing the thing that you are naming. Is it a company, a product or a service? What makes it unique? What do you want it to be best known for? Get a clear idea of what your name needs to communicate.
Map your competition. Understand the landscape where your brand will exist. Which names are taken? Which ones are good? How is the audience responding to them?
Now it is time to put pen to paper.
2. Make a list
Divide your list by name categories. You can have as many categories as you like. We normally use four: descriptive, suggestive, abstract and legacy.
Descriptive: names that describe what the company does like Snapchat, PayPal, DirecTV, Playstation and Toys R Us.
Suggestive: they set an evocative mood for the brand like Apple, Sky, O2, Red Bull and Uber.
Abstract: these are made up words that have a strong memorable sound and have the potential to gain new meaning like Google, Skype, Kodak, Yahoo and Rolex.
Legacy: these include founder’s names, nicknames and organisation acronyms that may already be in use, even if not officially, like Ferrari, Chanel, Adidas, IBM and H&M.
3. Generating names
Once you have your categorised list you can start writing names down.
- Keep them short.
- Easy to memorize.
- Easy to say in any language.
Build your creative team. Bring people on board whose criteria you trust, but make sure they will offer different points of view. Start a collaborative document where everyone on the team can write down their ideas. Add everything that you come up with. Look up synonyms and analogies. Search for interesting words. Write as many word combinations as possible. Include syllables that add meaning. Create acronyms. Explore every possibility without second guessing any of them.
4. Short list
Print out the list and gather the team. Some names will look very similar. Some new combinations may appear. Let everyone pick their favourite names and veto the bad ones. Once this process is done, you will have culled quite a few weak names. Then let the team have another go at discarding. Pretty soon you will be left with just a few favourite ones. Make sure you leave at least 5 names per category.
5. Background check
You have your short list of 20 names. Now it is time to find out if they are viable. Do a search to see if they already exist. If they already exist in your sector they are certainly not an option. This will help you get rid of some more. Research the names in case they have a negative connotation in other cultures or languages. Finally, you need to check if the domain is available. If you have budget to buy a taken domain, this is a good option. If you don’t, you can either think creatively about domain choices, or go back to the drawing board on the name.
Keep editing your list until you have only one or two names left per category.
When presenting, lay out your final names in big Helvetica font. That way you can test if they are visually attractive, without attaching any branding to them. The client might discard a perfectly good name because they don’t like the style you chose for it. Explain the rationale behind each concept and how you arrived at it.
Hopefully one of your presented names will resonate with the client. If not, you can always go back and recover names you had discarded at an earlier stage, or go through the whole process again.
Remember that picking a name is a big decision for a brand. Be patient and open minded; this process is likely to take some time.
Importance of Brands
It is much easier to convince management to allocate money for a new promotional flyer than for a magazine ad.
No company, regardless of size, operates with an unlimited marketing budget. A commitment to branding requires balancing long term growth and short term results.
This article is dedicated to business owners, company presidents and all those in management positions who are doubtful that branding, this intangible concept, is worth investing in.
Investing in brand building initiatives has many benefits. A strong brand:
- Creates consumer preference for the product/service behind the brand: The multitude of choices in every category leads to confusion and uncertainty. One way consumers deal with these issues is by gravitating towards brands they know and trust. Well-known brands are considered less risky purchases and provide the piece of mind that the product will perform as expected.
- Generates increased revenues and market share: A company can leverage the power of their brand in many ways, such as entering new segments and geographical markets, co-branding, gaining new distribution or brand licencing.
- Increases the company’s market value: A company’s physical assets and number of employees play a limited role in its valuation. What really matters is brand equity. John Stewart, the former CEO of Quaker once said that “If this business were split up, I would give you the land
and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trademarks and I would fare better than you.”
- Helps the company survive temporary crises: Toyota, a brand positioned on superior quality, has had some serious product quality issues in 2009, which generated a PR nightmare. However due to the many years of delivering on its “quality” brand promise the company managed weather the storm and restore confidence in their product.
- Prevents new competitors from entering the market: A market segment dominated by well-known brands is a serious barrier to entry for most new competitors. Being the first to create the segment helps tremendously.
- Increases profitability by commanding a higher price: This is one of the strongest arguments for the importance of branding. Customers are in most cases willing to pay a premium for an established brand versus a no-name product.
- Helps create a unique and differentiated company image: A brand goes well beyond the tangible product or service being offered. Emotional attributes could be the perfect foundation of a strong differentiation strategy.
- Increases existing distributor’s loyalty: Independent distributors are in the “money making” business. For them brand loyalty always comes second. However if the brand is demanded by the end user the chances of it being dropped from their portfolio are pretty slim. It’s an easy sell after all.
- Helps the company attract new distribution for its products: A well-known brand with proven consumer loyalty will have little problems finding distribution partners, both locally and internationally. Everybody wants to sell a brand that consumers ask for and provides a high turnover.
- offers the company more negotiation power with its suppliers.Vendors want to be involved in projects for a well-known brand, as their portfolio will be greatly enhanced. In order to get the business suppliers are usually willing to make deep concessions, which translates into cost savings for the company.
- Decreases employee turnover: Strong brands provides a sense of purpose and direction for employees, who tend to be more loyal to the company.