You want your brand name to be known, respected and trusted by your prospects. You want them to hear the name and associate it with authenticity.
Quite the challenge, eh? Maybe.
But it is the one element that your brand may have to live with forever. The competition for memorability in the mind of the customer is fierce. The human mind can retain perhaps 50,000 words, but there are more than a million trademarks in the marketplace vying for attention. So how do you make your brand name part of your prospect’s vocabulary?
The Different “Types” of Brand Names
Buyers generally buy brands, not companies. Sure, there are successful companies whose names add credibility to any new brand they launch: Coca-Cola, 3M, IBM are notable examples. But even in those cases, that credibility originally emerged from those companies’ brand identities.
You have to know what type your identity fits.
- Founder (examples: H.H. Gregg & Sons)
- Descriptive (Brawny, Hefty)
- Fabrication (Google)
- Metaphor (Dove, Cougar, Jaguar, Thunderbird)
- Acronym (IBM, GE)
- Double Entendre (Staples)
- Composition (Sunkist, FedEx, Drano, Windex)
Does your brand name accurately reflect your brand name? Do you anticipate needing to change your name? Your brand name can evolve, for example, from Founder to Metaphor to Composition. Just be prepared to develop a full rebranding campaign around it.
Three Tests to Apply To Your Brand Name
Wherever possible, a brand name should evoke appropriate and emotional images, establish some sort of kinship with the customer, and appeal to their personal taste. The name should sound pleasing when spoken. It should send a message that is sharp, precise and clear.
When testing names, test for…
Comprehension: will they “get” your message?
Recollection: will they remember the name?
Appeal: does the name appeal to them psychologically and will they be motivated to investigate?
Powerful Brand Names That Stand Alone
If you look at today’s most powerful brand names, they score perfectly on those three tests. Uber, the ride share service, has a short and powerful name that’s easy to remember and evokes the sense that the brand and their service will be there, everywhere, at all times. It’s a promise in a name.
Cheerios, the breakfast cereal, created by General Mills, has a fantastic product name that’s easy to pronounce, sounds pleasing, and is memorable. It also evokes a lightness to it that can create a happy tone.
Kleenex, the facial tissue, is a composition-type brand name that is easy to pronounce and combines two words “clean” and “ex” to connote its best features. The brand is so prevalent that even household members use the word “kleenex” more often than “tissue” or “facial tissue” to describe their product.
And do we even need to mention Apple?
Spend time on developing your brand name. It will be worth the testing, research, brainstorming and variation development. A great brand name will last.