Brand naming: How to craft a new brand name
Brand naming: How to craft a new brand name
Naming is hard. Skills in linguistics, marketing, brand trends and naming approaches all need to be applied creatively to develop a name that resonates with the target audiences for your business, product or service.
But why is naming so difficult?
Finding a name for your product or company can be a daunting task. Not only because everyone will have an opinion on the name (and most likely be attached to this opinion) but most words have already been used and are protected by trademarks.
Peek has successfully developed names for many companies, their services and their products. We understand how to develop a coherent approach to understanding the needs and preferences of your target audiences and the approaches to developing a company's brand name that manages your desired perception. This requires creativity, insight and contextual understanding of the naming landscape.
Equally important is understanding how a business might then evolve the brand name and the brand hierarchy. As this important step can sometimes give rise to insight for marketing and delivering the brand.
Often, Peek will generate well over 100 names over a period of weeks until we arrive at a name that could actually work. Finding an available URL, the different meaning of words in languages and cultures and the meaning of words to different people are just some of the obstacles to overcome. Parent brand names are developed with sub-brand, endorsed brand and product/service names in mind. Sometimes a name's acronym spells out something undesirable or the words result in an odd phrase when run together in a URL.
In many industries, the most meaningful or powerful words and phrases are already used in competitors' names.
So what helps an organisation develop an effective name?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
• Who will ultimately decide the name?
• One person or a team? Whoever that is should be involved in the criteria-building process.
• What kind of brand are you naming? Company, consumer product, business service, or event?
• What is the expected life of the brand name?
• Does the name fit into a larger family of names?
• Will it be used only in the UK. or will it go global?
• Who is your primary audience for the brand names?
• Are you creating a new category or joining an existing one? If joining a category, what are your competitors' names?
• What are the primary strategies for building your brand?
It's important that at the beginning of the brand naming project the decision-makers are identified and the key naming evaluation criteria are agreed. Ideally, the brand positioning and brand architecture would be developed before commencing too. As we are generating name ideas we tend to buy the URLs on the spot for the stronger options, just in case. We conduct a simple trademark search and background internet research on the final few names before commissioning a full search with a trademark attorney. This helps keep the legal costs down and minimises wasted time on already taken names.
Our recommendations are then presented to the key decision-makers for a final evaluation against the naming criteria and for a choice to be made.
Why is the right brand name so important?
A brand name is the word given to a company, product, range of products or services, in order to identify and differentiate it from others. Usually a brand name is protected by trademarking. Your brand name should be chosen very carefully as it captures the key essence you wish to communicate in an efficient and economical manner.
Did you know that 'Cargo House' and 'Pequod' were two names being considered for the brand Starbucks? Can you spot the connection? Whilst both these proposed names have their good and bad points, it was taking it a further step that led to the Starbucks choice for the three men who started the business in 1971.
For those that don't know, Starbuck was the name of the first-mate of the whale-ship Pequod, the ship in Moby Dick. This gave the brand story a literary connection to the founders; A writer, an English teacher and a Historian.
Your brand name plays an important part in deciding its fate in the market place.
Pick any name and you immediately will have an opinion on the qualities an values attached to it. For example, what do you think are the qualities and values of a brand named ‘Low, Ball and Lynch’ who are in the legal sector?
Names can be hijacked by PR and turned into something you don't want so it is important to consider the negatives as well as the others when evaluating a new brand name.
It’s the power of communication that builds a brand. Any communication whether B2C, B2B, C2C, or C2B which relates to the brand involves its brand name.
Research showed that if people feel that the brand name is easy and a good fit, they’ll remember it better and even like it more. How your brand is pronounced is equally important as your brand will get the advantage of word of mouth marketing.
Did you know, Amazon was originally called Cadabra? It had to change its brand name as it was often misheard as 'Cadaver' – which means a corpse!
THE 4 STEPS TO BRAND NAMING
1. Competitive analysis is an essential step in any naming project
Understanding the naming landscape
Working with you and your knowledge we carry out a brief review of the competitive landscape focussing on the following points to ensure that any names and structures put forward for consideration do not cause confusion with something that is already in existence in the marketplace. We will be looking at:
What brand names the competitors use
What brand structure the competitors use
Listing of competitors product portfolio names
Setting names into a positioning map for reference
2. Defining your brand’s proposition and positioning strategy
What's the difference between proposition and positioning?
Brand proposition: The bundle of benefits that the buyer derives out of any brand. It also includes the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) which the buyer will benefit from, and that no other brand can provide.
Brand positioning: One of the cornerstones of any brand’s marketing strategy. A strong brand positioning directs marketing strategy by explaining the brand in detail. It is how the brand appears and perceived against other brands in the same market/segment.
Based on your brand proposition, you can position your brand in the market place using a perceptual map.
What's a perceptual map? A perceptual map defines the market in terms of the way buyers perceive key characteristics of competing products or services. Here's an example of a basic map using price and quality as the criteria.
Defining your brand’s proposition: A clearly defined brand proposition will create desire and deliver the brand’s promise. Put simply it acts as your brand’s guarantee of consistency and quality and provides your customers with this understanding so that they can choose your product or service in preference to that of your competitors. It acts as your desired differentiation. In order for brands to stay ahead in changing times, they need to remain constantly desirable.
Your brand needs to be: Clear, compelling, differentiating and measurable. A promise that your customers and all your other stakeholders care about.
Any new brand created is informed by, and feeds directly back into, what your business is trying to achieve. Which means the business will witness tangible results that accelerate growth. And we don’t believe that branding should be a process that takes months to complete; we can create a new brand in as little as three weeks.
Brand positioning: This has been defined by Kotler as “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”.
Brand positioning describes how a brand is different from its competitors and where, or how, it sits in your customers’ minds.
By shaping consumer preferences, brand positioning strategies are directly linked to loyalty, brand equity and the willingness to purchase the brand. Effective brand positioning can be referred as the extent to which a brand is perceived as favourable, different and credible in the target audiences minds.
A brand positioning strategy, therefore, involves creating brand associations in customers’ minds to make them perceive the brand in a specific way.
It is important to define your brand positioning as this will inform the bias of a new name. The more specific you can be about your positioning, the more effective the name could be.
3. Evaluating a name: How do you choose the right name?
Evaluating the name is critical. Skills in linguistics, marketing, brand trends and naming approaches all need to be applied creatively to develop a company name that resonates with the target audiences.
Evaluate the possibilities: It isn't just creating a name that is the challenge. It can also be difficult to get your key stakeholders to agree on a new name. Individuals will often fall in love with a name as soon as they hear it regardless of whether it is right for the business, or not. It is essential to understand the criteria which the name must meet before the process begins to help balance out the heart and head.
Some people believe that their new brand name will do all the heavy lifting of engagement and perception, but this takes time to achieve. However, having a great name is a good start. The messaging and brand experience are built up over time with the use of ongoing marketing activities. Famous brand names that have catapulted to fame initially still require continuous effort to keep them on track. Being top of mind and establishing yourself in the marketplace, for the right reasons, takes time and energy for longevity.
4. Protecting your name
Online Trademark check: The shortlist of names we present will have been checked against the relevant online trademark registers for availability or potential conflict in the categories/classes that have been defined in the criteria. (Note: This does not include visual marks at this point). We are not Trademark lawyers so it will be up to you to take it further if you wish to actually proceed with registering any names or doing a more detailed check.
URL availability check: The availability of the TLD domain names to match the shortlist is then checked and if any are available they may be secured at time of checking in order to avoid any cyber sniping during the process. If direct URL matches are not available then we will evaluate whether or not they are available for purchase, or if a short form or extension of the name is available as an alternative, depending on the criteria set for the name selection.
Naming may be one of the most difficult tasks in branding, but with Peek on your side, it will be a pleasure.