Name Branding: How to Brand your Business
Creating and managing brands is one of the most important and challenging activities in all of marketing. A brand can be an enormously valuable asset for your company if it’s done properly. In fact, for some companies, brands are the single most valuable asset the company owns. I’m Lisa, and I’ve been in the marketing profession for many years. I teach branding to graduate students, and I help companies improve their branding effectiveness. In this course, I want to share with you some quick tips on creating brand names, ones that are unique and memorable.
So first, let’s talk about the name. The name of your brand is an important touch point in your customer experience. A well selected name is essential if a brand is going to generate loyalty with your costumers. Think of a brand’s name as a memory jogger to help consumers recall the benefits that the brand promises. By attaching a product, or a company name to the brand, your customers associate it with the brand. So, what kinds of things can you give a brand name to? It’s not just products and companies that can be named.
You might want a brand name for a particular feature of a product. Hertz [hertz.com], the car rental company brands its gold club, an exclusive club for loyal customers. You can also brand a single ingredient within the product. My favorite example is when Intel created then now icon Intel Inside brand. Most people had no idea what the Intel processor actually did, it didn’t matter, as long as the computer they were about to buy had Intel inside, they were satisfied.
If your product has a unique technology, especially if it’s something you own, perhaps with patents, you can give it a brand name. Toyota, for example, branded its hybrid synergy drive as part of its fleet of eco-friendly cars.
Can you brand services? Absolutely, a service is the same as a product, in that they are both benefit delivery vehicles. Google, for example, offers a range of services that are all branded. In fact, an entire company can be branded.
Take Starbucks, for example. You can also create a string of brand names. Here’s a good one, Amazon Kindle delivers books using Whispernet technology. A branded company, a product, and technology all in one. Just about anything can take on a brand name, but selecting the right name is key. Let’s look at that next.
A great brand name is both distinctive and memorable. So, how do you create one? Here are some tips. First, use a name that is descriptive of what the brand does. A straightforward literal name may not seem creative, but in fact it helps customers instantly assess what the brand does. The Microsoft web browser called “Internet Explorer” is a great example. There is nothing confusing at all about what it’s for. Or, how about this one, Dunkin’ Donuts? That’s another great brand name that’s easily understood and memorable.
Another way to create a brand name is to use compound words. You do this by putting two words together to form a completely new name. They key is to pick two words that link to what the brand does. A great example is the name of a line of car batteries sold by Sears called “DieHard”. Now, that’s the kind of battery you want in your car. Another example is Photoshop. Or, how about this one? Coppertone, the suntan lotion. If you want something that is completely different than anything out there, take the brand name and change the spelling.
This works because misspelled words tend to catch people’s eye. Consider the names of two of my favorite rock bands: “The Beatles”, and “Led Zeppelin”, both slightly misspelled. A lot of consumer products use this technique such as the household cleaner “Fantastik”, and the kids cereal called “Trix”. The word “Google” is a misspelling of the word “googol” which is the number one followed by 100 zeros. Many successful brands are named after people, both real and fictional.
Levi Strauss, for example. Or, how about this one, the George Foreman Grill. What’s nice about this approach is that consumers associate the attributes of the product to be the same as the attributes of the person it’s named after. I bet the George Foreman Grill is just as tough as it sounds. Finally, another way to create a brand name is to make up a completely new name. The word “Sony” is an example. Or, how about the name “Gatorade”? While this makes for a distinctive name customer won’t understand it until you put meaning to it.
If you had never heard the name “Gatorade”, you might think it’s some type of product for alligators. Now, to create meaning in a fictitious name, you have to promote the brand with marketing communications. It can be expensive, but that’s what great brand-building is all about.
The name you select for your brand will almost certainly end up somewhere on the Internet, whether it’s on your website or someone else’s. So you need to pick a name that is web-friendly. Here’s what you need to consider. First, you probably will want to use the brand name as a URL address. Brands typically have their own website and the website address can become another important touchpoint to reinforce the brand name. It would confuse your customers if the website address was completely different than the brand’s name.
Go to a search engine like Google and find out if the name is already being used. If not, you can use a variety of companies, including Google, to reserve the name. Speaking of search engines, the name of your brand will almost certainly become a keyword that customers will use to search for your brand on the Internet. If you want your website to be search engine optimized, the name of your brand will need to be placed throughout the website in strategic places, like page titles and headers.
But perhaps more important is you need to pick a brand name that is not commonly used for other things. Ideally, you want a brand name that is used often as a keyword for searching, but not common on other websites. That will improve your page rankings on search engines. Finally, be sure to check out how your brand name appears on social media sites. For example, go to Twitter and find out if there are any hashtags with your brand name.
You may find the name is already in use, but has nothing to do with your business. That’ll confuse customers. Do the same on Facebook and see if any Facebook pages have been created with your name. If you find too many that use the name you selected, you’ll probably want to go back to the drawing board. The bottom line is that customers expect to findinformation about your brand online, and you certainly want to make it as easy as possible. Picking a name that is web-friendly will help you do just that.
A clever and effective way to name a brand is to use an existing verb. Verbs, by their very nature, are action-oriented, so it’s a a great way to create a sense of activity and movement for your brand. But even more powerful is when your brand creates a new meaning, and becomes the verb itself. In marketing, we call it “verbifying a brand.”
Let’s look at some examples. Consider the two most popular search engines, Google and Bing. Google has become a great brand name because people use it as a verb.
How many times have you said, “Hold on, let me Google that” You probably don’t hear anyone saying, “Let me Bing that” Associating the name with the activity may be why people prefer to search the internet with Google. Skype is another great example of a brand that has been turned into a verb. Now it’s not just technology brands that can be verbified. The Segway is the name of a transportation device, and it is also an activity when using the device. We go Segwaying.
Same with Rollerblading, or Swiffering. Now to get consumers using your brand as a verb,you’ve got to create the new vocabulary and explain what it means. For example, take the brand name, and simply add the letters “ing” to the end of it. Then use this new term in your marketing communications, perhaps showing people actively doing the thing associated with this new verb. The key is to socialize this new term, so be sure to use the term in your social media marketing.
Once consumers start using it with other consumers, the verbifying will take off. The other way to use verb names is to take an existing verb related to what your brand does. The iPod shuffle is a clever name because the verb “shuffle” directly implies what the MP3 player does, it plays songs randomly. Another example, Bounce dryer sheets. This is clever because it creates an image in your mind of the product bouncing around inside your dryer along with your clothes.
To create a brand name out of an existing verb, first look closely at your core brand promise. What are the benefits associated with the brand? Then, look at the action steps that consumers take to use the brand and realize those benefits. Also look at any actions that the product does itself. Find a verb that describes what the consumer or the product itself are doing. These become great candidates for your new brand name. Great brand names help consumers understand your brand.
Putting the brand name into people’s lives as a verb is a powerful way to make people more loyal.
Effective brand names are distinctive, but they also need to be simple. Clever names that are relevant to the brand but also simple and easy to pronounce are more memorable.
A name that’s difficult to pronounce or awkward to say is unlikely to be repeated or remembered. Brand names must mimic our natural language if they’re going to connect with your consumers. Simple names stick in your mind. The more the name sticks in a consumer’s mind, the more likely they are to recall it when making a purchasing decision or recommending a brand.
Now here’s a tip. Simple names that look and sound like real words are recalled easier and more often. In general, shorter names are better. The longer and more complicated the name is, the more difficult it will be to remember. Some examples of short names include Tide, Sony, 3M, Nike, and Zara.
Now keep in mind that a simple name doesn’t have to be short. Simplicity has more to do with the alphabetical construction of a brand name.
Simple words can have multiple syllables, but they tend to have natural rhythm that make them easy and fun to say. I like the names Coca-Cola, Toyota, Nescafe, and Amazon. Simple brand names are usually easy to spell. If you complicate the name by having a combination of letters and numbers or upper and lower case, you make it more difficult for the consumer. If you try adding symbols to the name, this makes it really tough for consumers, especially when they try typing your name in a search engine.
Here are some easy to spell names, Target, Pampers, Honda, Apple, and Shell. So, in the words of Albert Einstein, “Make things as simple as possible but no simpler.” The same is true for great brand names.
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To make your name stick in your customers' minds, you need to have a solid brand. No matter how small your budget, When many small-business owners hear the term "branding," they envision long, complicated projects and expensive consultants. While a complete branding exercise can be extensive, there are also many inexpensive ways that you can contribute to your branding efforts without breaking the bank. in this book you will learn how to brand your business the right way.