A Rose by Any Other Name Might Smell as Sweet, but Consumers aren’t so Forgiving when it comes to your Brand Name.
In developing your marketing strategy, finding the perfect brand name can be a very serious element distinguishing between success and failure. So, what should you look for in developing a brand name?
1. Meaning Resonates
Your brand name may be the first and most important element of your company’s brand. It should be a short cut for customers – telling them about your brand personality. If your brand name doesn’t have positive association for consumers, they’re not likely to choose your brand.
For instance, look at Godiva. What image comes to mind? For most people, they’ll think about the lovely, wealthy woman riding her horse clothed only in gorgeous hair. So, what does that tell consumers about your brand? The image likely implies luxury, privilege, sensuousness, maybe even decadence. Are these positive associations for the brand? Sure, they make people think they’re getting something exclusive, expensive, and rich.
Other brand names have associations that contribute to your marketing strategy in other ways. Take Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, for instance. This brand name creates associations of church socials with a couple of guys making hand churned ice cream. The brand name implies comfort and quality. This is a great marketing strategy when competing against big businesses that seem impersonal.
What comes to consumers minds when they hear your brand name? What meaning is associated with the words used to reflect your brand?
2. Cross Cultural Meaning
In developing marketing strategy, you need to look far into the future to where you see your brand in 50 years — in 100 years. Are their opportunities for your brand to go beyond a regional product to a national or international brand? Then, think about the meaning of your brand in different cultures and languages.
Probably the most famous international branding mistake was when the Chevy Nova was introduced into spanish-speaking countries where the words mean “no go” — hardly an association you want with a car.
What meanings are associated with your brand name in other cultures; other countries?
3. Easy to pronounce and remember
You’ll spend lots of money advertising your brand, you’d like consumers to remember your brand name, but your name may be entirely forgetable. Consumers who can’t pronounce your brand name also can’t recommend it to their friends.
In the age of social network marketing, your brand name also needs to be easily spelled. If consumers can’t spell your name, they can’t post about it to their social network, they won’t be able to find your Facebook fan page or your Twitter feed, and they won’t be able to find your website. Short names work better than long names.
4. Clear legal title
Brand names are normally legally protected trademarks and you can’t choose a brand name that is the same or too close to a brand name owned by another company. Companies protect their brand names fiercely, so you’ll face expensive lawsuits if you infringe on another company’s brand name. You also need to protect your brand by registering is in the US and foreign countries (in case your brand goes global).
In the internet age, you also need to make sure domains for your chosen name are available. People buy up domains they think might make good brand names, so even if there’s no company using your brand name, the domain might not be available. You also want to buy up all the domains associated with your brand name, not just .com. Get .net, .org – everything available. Otherwise someone might take advantage and create problems for your brand name. A famous example comes from the White House, where whitehouse.com will take you, not to the home of the president of the US, but a porn site — the home is whitehouse.gov.
5. Strategic fit
Finally, consider how the brand name will fit within the overall strategy of the firm and with other products produced by the firm. If you’re using a family branding strategy — where all your products share the same brand name — strategic fit is assured. However, if you use individual brands, you probably want your brand names to fit together or at least not fight against each other by creating brand images that are inconsistent.
Your brand name is a critical starting point in building a brand image for your product. There are 5 key elements in selecting a good brand name: 1) it creates a positive image for consumers; 2) the positive image travels to other countries well; 3) its easy to pronounce, remember, and spell; 4) its legally available and domains are available; 5) it fits into your overall marketing strategy.