When I see some brand names, I can’t help but laugh out loud. Azzz in…how do you like ‘kemyosol Nig Ltd’ (a fusion of Kemi+ Yosola + Sola) or ‘NathJen Ventures’ (Nathaniel + Jennifer)… lol. It’s amazing that when people think brand name, the first thing that comes to their mind is conjuring their children name together or lumping the first 3 letters of their name and their spouses’ name. Incredible! Have you put the people who will pronounce these name into perspective? At least pity their tongue now…lol.
Seriously, coming up with brand names is a serious part of your business and a lot of thought should go into it. You’ll be doing yourself a whole world of good by coming up with a great brand name, as a great name makes a great first impress and opens door. Your brand name can earn you a position as a market leader and generate positive buzz for your brand. Whereas, with a poor brand name you might have a hard time getting people to be interested in your company, product or services and you will be spending more time and money to educate the market about your value.
“The right name has the potential to become a self-propelling publicity campaign, motivating Word of mouth, reputation, recommendations, and press coverage”. – Lissa Reidel, Publisher www.verytogether.com
The best brand names are emotion-driven and memorable as a result. It will help if you focus more on the emotions that you want your target customer to feel. So, when choosing a name, find a concept that resonates with as many people as possible.
The qualities of an effective Brand Name according to Alina Wheeler in Her Book, ‘Designing Brand Identity’ are:
Meaningful: It communicates something about the essence of the brand. It supports the image that the company wants to convey.
Distinctive: It is unique, as well as easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. It is differentiated from the competition.
Future-oriented: It positions the company for growth, change, and success. It has sustainability and preserves possibilities. It has long legs.
Modular: It enables a company to build brand extensions with ease.
Protectable: It can be owned and trademarked. A URL domain is available.
Positive: It has positive connotations in the markets served. It has no strong negative connotations.
Visual: It lends itself well to graphic presentation in a logo, in text, and in brand architecture.
If you can’t find a word that perfectly captures the essence of your brand, invent your own for example ‘Google’—this is a word that arose from complete obscurity and has eventually earn its place in the Oxford Dictionary.
Here are a number of ways you can go about creating your brand name:
- Use the founder or inventor’s name: Many companies are named after founders: Ben & Jerry’s, Martha Stewart, Dangote, Mercedes, Deola-Sagoe, Ralph Lauren, Hewlett-Packard etc. It might be easier to protect. It satisfies an ego. The downside is that it is inextricably tied to a real human being.
- Describe what you do: These names convey the nature of the business, such as Toys “R” Us, Find Great People, E*TRADE, Southwest Airlines, The Chair Place, Nigerian Breweries, These kind of names clearly communicates the intent of the company. The down side to this is that as a company grows and diversifies, the name may become limiting. Some descriptive names are difficult to protect since they are so generic.
- Describe an experience or image: This kind of names can easily be connected to emotionally e.g. Sprint, Pampers, Sweet Sensation, Tantalizer etc.
- Take a word out of context: Apple, Blackberry, Konga, Sunlight, etc.
- Metaphor: Things, places, people, animals, processes, mythological names, or foreign words are used in this type of name to allude to a quality of a company. Names like Nike and Patagonia are interesting to visualize and often can tell a good story.
- Fabricated: A made-up name, like Kodak, Jumia, Xerox, Google or TiVo, is distinctive and might be easier to copyright. However, a company must invest a significant amount of capital into educating its market as to the nature of the business, service, or product. Häagen- Dazs is a fabricated foreign name that has been extremely effective in the consumer market.
- Acronym: These names are difficult to remember and difficult to copyright. IBM, CNN and GE became well known only after the companies established themselves with the full spelling of their names. There are so many acronyms that new ones are increasingly more difficult to learn and require a substantial investment in advertising. Other examples: UAC, USAA, AARP, DKNY,
To cap it all your brand name should be:
- Distinguishable from competitor’s
- A URL domain is available.
I sincerely hope you have been able to learn a thing or two about naming your brand? With this I pray I won’t be seeing a lot of jaw-breaking brand names up and down again…lol.
– Tolulope Adebayo