What’s in the Name?
Coca-Cola. Facebook. KFC. Proton. MAS (Malaysian Airlines). Panadol. These are brands, more often than not, are used or heard in our daily conversation, some of which are even verbs (i.e. “I’m going to Google that now”.)
Subconsciously, we are surrounded by brand names everywhere we go. From the daily routine of getting up to brush your teeth to deciding where to go for lunch, and whether to purchase a bag of Twisties or Mr Potato to munch on. It is inevitable – you are surrounded by the brands of toothbrush and toothpaste, restaurants and snacks.
Brand name is an element of a brand which helps the customers to identify and differentiate one product from another.
It is like meeting a group of guys at a dinner party. Unless they introduce their names to you (Adam, Chu Leong and Kumar), you would be clueless of who they are, and who try to distinguish each other based on their looks. And once you know each of their names, you can to identify each of each individual and who does what for a living.
For any company, a brand name should be carefully chosen, as it would be what the public will be calling the company from there forth. It should also captures the key theme of a product in an efficient and economical manner.
Some brand names can be based on places (Texas Chicken, Malaysian Airlines), animals (Puma, Ayamas, Ayam Brand), and people (Jimmy Choo, Alain Delon).
What makes a good brand name?
There are a few characteristics which makes a good brand name. Among those are;
- It should be unique or distinctive (for example Ferrari, Dell)
- It should be extendable (like Coke and its products, Cherry Coke and Diet Coke)
- It should be easy to pronounce, identified and memorized (for example, Shell, Apple, M&Ms)
- It should give an idea about product’s qualities and benefits (like Fedex, Under Armour)
Sometimes, the brand name should be one which can be translated into other languages. Some unfortunately, fall short on this category and got lost poorly translated into other language, like Nokia’s Lumia is a slang for prostitute in Spanish, or Iran’s detergent brand Barf (although translated into English means ‘snow’) might leave some with a bad taste in the mouth, pun unintended.
So, how does one start off with choosing a brand name which would be successful one day? In Steve Jobs’ biography, Jobs told author Walter Isaacson he was on ‘one of (his) fruitarian diets’ and had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating”. Hence, the name Apple came to be established, and known today as among the top Smartphone and gadget companies in the world.
Here is a process of selecting a brand name:
- Define the objectives of branding
This should be done according to six criteria – descriptive, suggestive, compound, classical, arbitrary and fanciful. It is essential to recognize the role of brand within the corporate branding strategy and the relation of brand to other brand and products.
- Generate multiple names
Any potential source of names can be used; organization, management and employees, customers, agencies and professional consultants. Do not filter any ideas at this point.
- Screen the names
Narrow the name list based on business goals and branding objectives.
- Gathering more extensive details on each of the finalized names
There should be extensive international legal search done. Consider local slang and ….
- Conducting consumer research
Consumer research is often conducted so as to confirm management expectations as to the remembrance and meaningfulness of the brand names. The features of the product, its price and promotion may be shown to the consumers so that they understand the purpose of the brand name and the manner in which it will be used.
- Finalize the brand name
Once all the steps are taken, the management can maximize the organization’s branding and marketing objectives and then formally register the brand name. After all that hard work, it’s a good idea to protect your new name by registering for a trademark in the countries where you want your brand to operate in.
Brand name is crucial so that people would know how to associate and identify the product in the pool of other brands and products out there.