Brand Naming Mistakes

Brand Naming Mistakes

What is in a name? People build their first impressions within 3 seconds of meeting each other. Customers also quickly form an impression of your brand from its packaging, description, imagery and name. According to the American Marketing Association   a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers." A great name communicates something positive about the brand, is clear, simple, memorable and can easily be pronounced. According to Interbrand , there are various reasons for making mistakes when naming your brand/product.

Lack of a Clear Approach

When creating a new product, good product managers take a systematic and clearly defined approach from product & concept development, package design, advertising, PR and distribution. Naming is the first act of public branding and establishes an inspirational tone for the product/service or company. Despite this, many managers fail to give it the attention it requires.

Not giving naming it’s required time

If you are considering exporting, you may require a global brand name. According to Brandscape  this can be very challenging, as many names around the world have already been trademarked. Many companies underestimate the time needed to research and create a good global brand name that will be easily pronounced and will not mean something negative when translated into a foreign language. It is also vital to check that you can obtain the correct URL web address for your new brand.

Holding onto old names

Many product managers keep a brand name that is no longer relevant because they are afraid to alienate the current user base. You should research current customer perception of your brand names against longer-term objectives and change the name if necessary. This change must be handled smoothly with customers being informed of the new name, its new attributes and continued relevance or value to them.

Creating a name around product functions

Brand naming is both a creative and strategic act. Beware of falling into the “descriptive” trap by focusing on the products functional attributes such as price, quality, service etc. A good brand name communicates something inspirational about the brand such as its core values and goes beyond functional attributes. Creating a good name requires a clear understanding of what benefit actually serves to customers and how the brand differs from competitors. As a company and product evolves, many product managers retain the same brand name but release sub-brands (such as Gillette, Fuzion) or alter the brand slogan.

http://www.marketingpower.com/_layouts/Dictionary.aspx?dLetter=B. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
http://www.interbrand.com/en/knowledge/papers-and-articles/10-Most-Common-Naming-Mistakes.aspx Retrieved 2012-03-15.
http://www.brandscapeafrica.org/index.php/articles/branding-theories/173.html Retrieved 2102-03-24

Not seeking feedback

A great name can be very subjective. Some managers choose a brand name that they personally like but fail to get feedback from their key customers or other staff. This can be a particular concern for small owner operated businesses. It is important discuss the brand name and attributes with customers and staff to ensure they are aligned before product launch.

Overlooking global naming

The Internet has revolutionised global commerce, we can view and buy products & services from around the world. It is important to choose a name that can be easily pronounced and does not have a negative meaning when translated into another language. For example, an American car manufacturer launched its “Nova” model in Latin America. When translated into Spanish, the name “Nova” means “doesn’t go/doesn’t work”. Even if the product/service is not being sold globally, global naming consideration is important as customers from around the world can view it on the Internet.

Lack of internal support

Great names can fail because of low understanding and acceptance among key staff within the company. It is important to effectively use internal communications to raise employee awareness, morale and excitement about the new name. Employees will feel involved & committed to the brand and deliver a better customer experience. For example, Apple continually communicate with and excite their staff, this is seen is the high level of customer service delivered in their stores.

Not moving past the name

Great brands not only create a name but they create an atmosphere around the name using a brand logo, symbol, colour scheme, tone of language and ethos. For example, Nike can be recognized from its name, the swoosh symbol, its slogan “Just Do It”, its colour scheme and style of advertising that focus on high performance athletics. McDonalds have evolved beyond a simple burger restaurant by focusing on fun, camaraderie and use the slogan “I’m Lovin It”.

Having too many names

According to Julie Cottineau , Companies can overlook the benefits of one strong umbrella brand name instead create several names for their products when sub-brand names would suffice. When creating a new product, managers must decide whether to give the product a new name of include it under an umbrella brand of existing names. For example, when Proctor & Gamble release a new razor, they include it under the main Gillette brand and give it its own sub-brand name such as Mac 3, Fuzion or Venus. This allows all the positive attributes of the Gillette brand instantly transfer to the new brand acting as a seal of quality assurance for the customer

Great naming & branding doesn’t just happen

A great brand or name is the result of careful consideration of the brands attributes, its value to customers, its unique selling points and so on according to Brandscape . Many creative people know they value of reflection by considering all aspects of a problem and then walking away to allow their brain to assemble the information. When creating a global brand name it is advisable to seek specialist help and feedback to explore and position the brand correctly. Entrepreneur.com  warn against lazy naming such as taking a random noun or two and combining them into a seemingly funky brand. This is currently a popular trend that could become dated over time.

 http://pedroguitton.mitodesign.com/phd_knowledge_center/pdf/10_NamingMistakes.pdf. Retrieved 2012-03-21
 http://www.brandscapeafrica.org/index.php/articles/branding-theories/173.html. Retrieved 2012-03-24
 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76958. Retrieved 2012-03-24

By Robert Farrell

 

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