For many organisations, a brand name is simply a sign… a means of identification. It serves no other purpose than to define a function or link the business with its founder. That’s the way names were used for centuries (and there are still times when those styles of name are right). But an evocative name can do so much more…
Whilst a great brand name is no substitute for a poor experience, it is a golden opportunity to conjure up a mental picture that extends far beyond the products or services that you offer.
Reinforce your positioning
An evocative name will create both instant impact and a lasting impression. Consider the feelings you wish to evoke in your audience. Does your name tell a story – such as the provenance of Innocent, the adventure of the North Face or the defiance of Virgin? What vision do you wish to paint of the future – Is it the travel convenience of EasyJet, the safer world of Greenpeace or the harmony of the United Nations?
A great name should unmistakably support your brand positioning. But choose a weak name and you will forever need to explain your positioning. It’s wrong to believe your name needs to describe what you do. That task can be left to your marketing headlines or be evident from the context in which it appears. So look for your metaphor and don’t describe your brand, describe the positioning of your brand.
Vive la différence
In the snake pit of undifferentiated, copycat brands it’s tough to get noticed. Being ‘different’ is not about insincerely calling yourself ‘Blue Banana’ (that’s the naming equivalent of a Hawaiian shirt at a black-tie dinner). Quite the reverse, it’s about being honest and authentic. There’s simply no point in pretending to be something you’re not.
Avoid the clichés and buzzwords of your sector. If your industry has a certain style of name, view it as the perfect chance to break the mould.
Be unexpected, make your audience look twice – and watch them smile, as they share the connection with your positioning. A strong name will create additional brand awareness and be memorable.
Visualise the mileage you can get from your name, not just in one campaign but for years to come. Imagine your new name amongst a list of your competitors and see how it fits (or misfits) – if you’re not thoroughly excited, you probably need to think again.