16 Aug The Importance of Brand Naming
One of the misconceptions that surrounds what I do for a living is that I design logos. This comes from a perception in some quarters that a brand constitutes a graphic marque or visually identity, when of course the reality is it’s far more intricate than that.
Because brands are complex beasts;
A mixture of emotional and functional associations.
A promise that a service or product will perform as expected.
A statement of intent that underpins values and aspirations.
And this matters because….
Brands are a way of gaining competitive advantage.
Brands convey a commitment to responsibility.
Brands provide an easy way of identification and legal protection.
Brands signify quality and lower risk in the minds of the end user.
Brands have more intrinsic value and can command a higher price.
My go-to quote in explaining brand is this;
“A product is made in a factory. A brand is made in the mind”.
Of course logos are important, just like brand positioning, strategic brand planning, brand communications and the development of a robust brand marketing plan.
What I’d like to talk about here though, is the importance of brand naming; an exercise that is often forgotten about but is crucial to future brand success. (It’s also something that I offer as part of my suite of services, but we’ll come to that later).
Start-ups are, of course, required to come up with a new name for their organisation, but so too are established companies who want to relate to their target audience in a new and more compelling way. It is part of a natural desire to build a brand that is consistent, memorable and clearly differentiated to appeal to the outside world and capture ‘share of mind’.
The name of your company, or brand, is the very first thing that people hear when you are making an introduction. At that point they are instantaneously making a positive or negative mental association. Just like a well crafted identity, a strong brand name will instill confidence, evoke maturity, create positivity and forge an emotional connection with the target audience that helps them along the journey to seeking a deeper and more meaningful association.
What makes a great brand name?
This is a very good question and one which almost everyone will have their own opinion on. Personally, I like to apply three stress factors :
1. Is it memorable?
2. Is it relevant?
3. Can you buy a decent domain name to go with it?
Memorability is naturally entirely subjective – so you have to go on gut feel, or ask a bunch of people whose opinions you admire. Never ask family and close friends. They always tell you what they think you want to hear, rather than the reality of what you need to hear.
Relevance is about storytelling – is there a reason why you chose the name in the first place? Although this might not always be communicated in 9ft high neon capitals, it’s a nice touch to have a back-story or rationale that links to who your company is, what it does and what defines its overarching purpose.
Domain names? Well that’s just a part of today’s wwworld and will almost certainly lead you into the murky waters of phonetic spelling, hyphens and weird dot somethings.
Over the last three decades I’ve named a heck of a lot of companies. They might not be megabrands in the way that you’d think of Apple or Amazon, but they are organisations that operate as brands within their field of expertise. I’d like to tell you about seven of them.
Previous name : Great Mitchell House
Rationale : The business has ambitious plans for growth and the foxglove plant is one of the fastest growing in Britain. The company is located in Leith’s most leafy corridor.
Previous name : George Street Studios
Rationale : The business was transitioning from being an artwork studio into a digital agency. ‘Whitespace’ is the empty area on a screen or page that makes the creative work sing out.
Previous name : Alba Water
Rationale : The business wanted greater differentiation. It wanted personality and a sense of fun in a crowded and vanilla marketplace. It wants people to regularly drink more water.
Previous name : GH Catering
Rationale : The business wanted something contemporary and at the time of creation, smoking food on wood was a thing, It is also headquartered in East Lothian, where golf played with hickory wood clubs was first established
Previous Name : None
Rationale : Edinburgh Airport was seeking to develop land within its footprint for affordable housing, commercial development, retail and leisure. The site itself is known for the benign cross winds that have allowed aircraft to safely take-off and land for more than 100 years.
Previous name : Stephen Sheppard
Rationale : The business tests, measures, implements and improves the user journey experience and propensity to buy for brands that sell online.
Previous name : Start up
Rationale : The business curates prestigious invitation-only networking experiences for brands who wish to reach HNY individuals and influencers. The name refers to the treasure of a win/win for all participants.
There is no definitive instruction manual for building a brand. Every single situation is different and sector and trading conditions must be factored in. Brand positioning and the earning of a positive reputation take time to nurture, but the process can be enhanced and sped up with the adoption of a compelling brand name at the outset.
When I struck out on my own in 2008, I simply went by the name David Reid. When I went to events I had a name badge that said I was David Reid of David Reid. It was stupid and embarrassing. When I explained to strangers that I was a marketing guy, they nodded sagely, but were instantly distracted by a tray of vol-au-vents and beat a retreat tout de suite.
That’s when it struck me that my own business needed a name. A name that didn’t need much of an introduction. And Because Brands Matter was born. It’s funny, but whilst business people see marketing as a cost, they see brand building as investment. Even though it really is one and the same thing.
So that’s what I do. I help people build their brand. And I help people name or rename their businesses. Why not get in touch if you’d like to talk about yours.
It could be what’s holding your business back.