How to Name a Brand and Why (Part 1)

September 20, 2012

How to Name a Brand and Why (Part 1)

No matter how human natures evolve throughout ages, there is always a need to create attractive impressions in one’s will of engaging others. It is so unavoidable in social lives as it is indispensable in business lives. In the same breath, non-business and business fellows alike do, or are supposed to, concern of the light of their identities and how that light shines. This light is going to be perceived. This light also longs to be perceived brightly, sensibly as well as cognitively. That necessity, that will, that longing, altogether define the principal ground of branding.

The Aim of a Name

We can name lots of term and activity that circle the motion of a brand, such as brand imaging, brand positioning, brand identity, brand management, brand equity, brand strategy, brand marketing— name what you will. All these terms and activities, along with their long series of associations, aim all their darts toward one mark only: to build a memorable positive collection of perceptions in the customers’ mind.

To get your brand lingers within perception and memory, as it has always happened universally, the journey must start with a name, whether the name is composed strategically by the in-house staffs, by some agencies specializing on brand naming, or through repetition made by some vocal and happy customers that speak beautifully about your satisfying-yet-unnamed-or-just-named-in-difficult-pronunciation product. Now, the prime line here is the brand naming as an intentional activity that requires profound effort and comprehensive value testing— the one that is most challenging, critical, and decisive.

The Lights of a Right Name

The brand’s name can be a blessing and a burden at the same time to the company or the product it represents. While other supporting elements of your brand (logo, tagline, color scheme, etc.) may evolve over time, the name will remain constant. Once people encounter a brand’s name, automatically they will affect certain impression and memories that associate with what they believe about the brand. Bill Chiaravalle and Barbara Findlay Schenck state that a good name, meaning the right one, always distinguishes itself from all other brand’s names, while assuming its brand character, market position, and the nature of what the brand offers. Here are some ideals of a brand’s name according to them:

  • It represents the brand character that is going to be developed.
  • It is descriptive of the brand’s offering.
  • It creates an association to the meaning of the brand.
  • It is easy and pleasant to say.
  • It is unique and memorable.

The points are very agreeable and recommendable, as giving the proper representation; investing associations; being descriptive of the offering; tongue-friendly; strong and faithfully reminding are some pivotal factors in naming a brand. But often these ideals simply would make a brand naming process a very daunting task indeed.

One would focus on being descriptive and insist on the uniqueness, but later the name is not even easy to pronounce. Another may could deliver a name with all the criteria above but could not help being expansive on the possibilities of association. Ideals could also be tricky, but ideals nevertheless. Meanwhile, a brand’s name would succeed, as our millennia would go on and on more informational and technological, through the best of marketing and media campaigns. Most of all, a right and good name is better settled at first than all the marketing forces that would enhance its prospects, since the wrong name for a company, product, or service, said Alina Wheeler, can hinder marketing efforts, through miscommunication or because people cannot pronounce it or remember it. Name first and make it right.

In the ocean of names, how to stand out differently is the challenge one must take in naming a brand. Beside the ideals mentioned above, it is much better for your brand’s name to:

  • Be short enough, so it can fit easily on marketing materials and to say on the phone,
  • Be capable of growing with your business over time,
  • Be capable of expanding to apply to new products or geographic areas, and
  • Be available to trademark and as a domain name.

Considering the importance of brand naming as described above, it is totally wrong to take lightly the process of achieving a brand’s name. There are various methods with various consequences that one should select wisely and effectively, for the aim must have long term vitality.

Want to share your thoughts and experiences on brand naming? You’re very welcome!

Further Readings


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