Discover the 10 rules for developing a killer brand name.
Naming and branding can be a powerful combination when developed correctly. Together they form the vision and the essence of your brand, communicate the benefit of your product, and ultimately support an emotional connection with your target consumer.
Developing and choosing a name is a delicate balance of art and science. Names that follow these 10 key rules will have the greatest chance of success:
- Fit to Concept
Which name candidate best fits your brand’s positioning? Will the product name appeal to your target customers and their lifestyle?
- Creative Opportunity
Does the name allow for creative opportunities? Does it conjure positive visual associations that reinforce the brand’s essence or unique selling opportunity?
- Easy to Pronounce
Research reveals what should be common sense: If your target market can’t pronounce the brand name, they won’t ask for it. Is your name easily pronounceable? Picture your brand on a wine list with no other visual cues except the name. If your name isn’t easy to pronounce, your target consumer is likely to order a competitor brand.
Brand name research shows memorability is the true litmus test of exceptional names. Can your target market recall the new product name after seeing it just once? After they ordered it from the wine list at the restaurant, will they be able to remember what it was at the wine shop? Your brand name should tell a story, conjure an emotion, place, or visual that is reinforced with the brand’s logo and package design.
Make sure your name is unique— if the name has unique ties to your brand, its positioning or market space. Simply making an existing name plural or a derivative of a name is not a new name. Even phonetically similar sounding names should be avoided. This is especially important in the wine category where there are so many choices – you don’t want your faithful consumer recommending a different brand to their friends because of a name mix-up right?
If at all possible, Avoid being too tricky with the spelling of your name. Consider what search engines will pull if your name is searched online. Consider what the name means in other cultures that may come in contact with your brand. E.g. the famed case of Chrysler’s “Nova”, a name that when translated into Spanish means “it doesn’t go”.
What positive and negative associations exist with your new product name? What barriers have to be overcome with negative latent associations? Make sure your name has a positive meaning and is suggestive— don’t make your customers guess.
How does sound symbolism or phonosemantics (the relationship between sound and meaning) affect the evaluation of a name’s latent association? Is the relationship between the sound and meaning the same in all languages of your target consumers?
Shorter names are generally easier to remember and easier to work with in label and package design applications. However, simply having a short name is worthless if it doesn’t meet the other criteria. A general rule of thumb: A short name with few creative opportunities is worse than a long name with many.
- Emotional Bonding Power
When naming an alcohol beverage brand or developing a product name, the name must connect with your target market. Ask yourself does the name have emotional bonding power?
Can your name support product extensions? Does it create a theme that can be carried across a spectrum of future offerings? Will it work with different varieties/blends/sources etc.?
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