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Everything that is in a brand name
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Keeping the literary references aside, the above Shakespearean quote does not hold when it comes to giving your business a unique brand name. A brand name gives an identity to your business and helps you differentiate it from other players in the market. But does it matter as much to give so much importance to crafting a unique name for your brand? Just so you know, that your company’s name plays a monumental role in the way you want to shape the brand further. Simply putting, it can make or break your business and hence it can’t be cherry-picked from hundreds of different names you come across.
Your brand name is your story. It signifies what you stand for in the market. It depicts your products or services. It conveys your business ethics, values, and goals. In a way, it also tells the customers how you feel about them and what value you can offer them.
As much as a thoughtfully crafted name reveals the maturity and the relevance of what you stand for; a name lacking in vision and creativity does serious damage to brand reputation. The last thing as a business owner you would want is customers to mock about your brand name, isn’t it?
Going down the memory lane, you would come across organizations that were named something else previously. You would be surprised that even your most favorite names were once upon a time called something else. Why do you think BackRub became Google, Research in Motion became BlackBerry or Brad’s Drink became Pepsi-Cola? These names didn’t change overnight. Nor were they merely a happenstance. These organizations underwent the entire process of renaming their brand story so that it can appeal to their consumers. Mostly, after a lot of research, trial, and error, these companies concluded that all is in the name!
It’s amazing how important naming can be in the brand-building process. While there are many companies whose names have turned out to be entrepreneurial landmarks, there are several whose names do not reflect their brand identity. Knowingly or unknowingly, these businesses suffer in terms of their brand communication. When all the company communication starts with a strong name, this explains how the brand will maintain a steady flow of interaction with the consumers in the future.
So coming down to this very important question: For a brand, does a name matter just as much? Or is it just a marketing gimmick built over the years? Well, YES! (read in capital letters). It one hundred percent does add to the brand value! If you are one of those packed in the sardines, struggling to give your brand, a name, then let’s look as to why giving your brand a unique name shouldn’t just be for the namesake.
Penny for your thoughts! There is a reason why Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola. We, humans, form connections with words basis our experience, knowledge, and context. That rightly explains why you probably get two different feelings when you read the words ‘Kitten’ and ‘Cockroach’. Derived from the Cola leaves and Kola Nuts that is used for flavoring, the company’s founder, John Pemberton changed the K of Kola to C. He wanted to make the name appear better. Perhaps for John Pemberton, his company’s name was like a first handshake that conveys a lot about the person and makes a powerful impact. While your company might not be as big as John’s, you can still think out of the box and give it a name that’s good to see, read and even feel. Coca-Cola’s naming was a big part of how it became the brand that it is.
Have you realized that countless components go into designing a successful brand — right from several research insights to a nifty logo? However, most of the time, the name is the first thing that people hear when you introduce your company. Precisely for this reason, you must come up with something that lingers on in the mind. Saying so, you can opt for a less-traditional route and use some unique naming conventions. One of the most common examples is Yahoo! Back then when the internet was just creeping in, everything was a Yahoo! You won a lottery ticket, it was Yahoo and even when you got a green light at the traffic signal it was Yahoo! There was nothing very exceptional about this name. But by being catchy, it gave the masses a feel-good factor. Even now, when other portals have taken over, we tend to remember Yahoo and its bouncing smiley bouncing that greeted us. Also, when your brand name is catchy and different, it gets synonymous with the product or services you offer. Just like how most of the mineral water bottles are Bisleri and every photocopy is a Xerox. Over time, consumers start generalizing your name and even use them as verbs like the examples quoted above.
Another good way to increase brand recall value is to keep it simple. Overtly stylish names are difficult to pronounce and spell and therefore they are hard to remember. Most people do not know that the giant, Amazon.com was initially called ‘Cadabra’. It’s founder Jeff Bezos, went for a rapid re-conceptualization of the name when his lawyer misheard the word as ‘Cadaver’! You see, when your brand’s name is a difficult one, it can lead to serious mishaps. Perhaps, Bezos realized that brand name plays an important part to decide the brand’s fate in the market. The name ‘Amazon’ clicked so well in the market, that now you cannot imagine it to be anything but this.
As we said before, your brand’s name is your company’s story. It sums up everything a company is about. So coming up with a mere quirky name does not do it all. Well, quite a few factors need to be considered to craft a perfect brand name. Simply coming up with options off the top does not help. The name you select must communicate what your company stands for. It should justify itself and be in alignment with what you’ve got to offer your customers, what you promise and how are you going to cater to them. Yet at the same time, the brand’s name should be self-explanatory. When someone asks you why did you name your company what you did and you don’t have an answer? Phew, nothing can be as unimpressive as that.
At Slangbusters, the naming process involves generation of 600–700 unique words before one is finalized.
Let’s come back to Yahoo! While the name sounds catchy and did serve its purpose, the company’s owner did not just coin it out of the blue. In reality, the term represents repulsive, filthy creatures that resemble humans. Yahoo founders considered themselves yahoos — these creatures and hence thought that this term would be an appropriate name for their joint venture.
If you find that thinking something on these lines could be a little too tedious, then there are other approaches too. There are no hard and fast rules that companies follow to choose a brand name, but there are certainly some hacks! You can name your brand depending upon how you see it and the perception you want to create. Think of some of the largest names in the world — let’s say Apple. Specific values and beliefs are attached to the name and the brand is solidified because of it. Even Amazon for that matter. Bezos named the business after the river because he wanted to suggest the scalability factor to its audience.
Your brand’s name is also a way to create an emotional connect with consumers. Hence, coining something that appeals to their sensibilities and something they would like to be associated with can be a good idea. Then extending further to this appeal, you can build your entire communication on this line starting from advertisements, sales pitch, and marketing strategies.
In any given industry, there will be a lot of companies like yours, gaining traction faster than you. This means that a lot of other companies providing similar provisions as yours. Then what is it that makes customers choose you over others? It is the character of the company, the brand that you are which is reflected through its name.
Have you ever thought, why is Uber called Uber? Well, the Oxford dictionary defines Uber as denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing. Now, doesn’t it tell you instantly, that it’s a super-brand! Likewise, when someone thinks about Snapchat, one can quickly realize that it involves something to do with snapshots and pictures sent in the form of a chat.
Image source: brand.uber.com
Very much similar to laying the cornerstone of a building, discovering how to create a brand name can help you to set the foundation for your company in terms of branding. Once you have your brand’s name defined, you can begin to align the entire structure of your organization from scratch. Naming it right and then building the brand on it can give your business a solid competitive advantage, especially when there is hardly any product or service difference between what you and others in the market offer.
• A brand’s value is what it offers its customers and what it promises to deliver in the long haul. This uniqueness can be communicated through the brand name so that customers are drawn to you.
• The name you choose is an extension of your brand. It helps in reinforcing the value you provide or distance your company from it.
• For new-age ventures, a striking name around its product is very important to create a strong impact. A unique name evokes strong passion among consumers in the long run.
• Remember we are living in the digital age, where your name extends over geographical boundaries and carries your reputation far and wide.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.
But if no one knows that the roses exist, they will die in the store itself.
— by Tasneem Baldiwala, Freelance Content Writer, Slangbusters Studio