Why invest in brand naming?
As highlighted in an earlier Bigeye article about the art and science of business naming, investing some resources and effort into brand naming can support a positive business image and forge emotional connections with potential customers.
As the old saying goes, nobody ever gets a second chance to make a positive first impression. Since branding generally provides customers with their first impression of a company or product, marketers should carefully consider brand naming.
Take a look at some cautionary tales about naming mishaps, branding best practices, how to brainstorm for the perfect brand name, and a case study of an effective naming strategy from Bigeye, a top branding agency.
Examples of Obvious Brand Naming Mishaps
Happily, Snopes debunked the old story about the Chevy Nova. This marketing myth said the car failed to sell well in Spanish-speaking countries because Nova translated to no go. Apparently, the Nova sold very well south of the border. Also, Nova means the same thing in Spanish as it does in English, and no vayas means no go. Even so, generations of college students could have benefited from this cautionary tale in their marketing books, even without knowing it was really a fable.
Still, Mercedes-Benz did first translate their brand to Bensi in China. In Chinese, bensi can mean “rush to die.” Clairol also started to market their Mist Stick curling iron in Germany, even though to Germans, mist sounds like the slang word for manure.
Even without suffering errors in translations, such real company names as Analtech, Poopsies, and Passmore Gas could send the wrong message. Also, almost everybody has seen some news about how Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s have changed their names to Pearl Milling Company and Ben’s Original to avoid the suggestion of using ethnic stereotypes.
No business wants the expense and potential poor press of having to change their brand name, so smart marketers will invest some effort in getting the brand name right the first time.
How to Avoid Branding Mishaps
Obviously, business naming services will try to avoid such obvious missteps as offensive or unintentionally humorous brand names. Like almost every other business decision, companies should begin by setting goals that they hope to achieve through brand naming. Some considerations include the way the name will reflect upon the intended brand image, how it will get used in marketing materials, and mostly, that it will not get misunderstood or sound offensive to anybody.
Consider this quick summary of best practices to create a name that will reflect well on the brand’s intended image and help accomplish such goals as improved brand recognition:
Readable: Make the name simple to read, pronounce, and spell. In particular, a customer should not experience problems trying to Google a brand after hearing the name spoken.
Unique: At least, keep the brand name as unique as possible, especially within an industry or local area. Turn to the internet to search for matches and to check the domain name’s availability.
Memorable and distinctive: If possible, consider names that people will have an easy time identifying with the product. Short, punchy names help grab attention, keep companies from having to resort to acronyms, and make it easier to develop graphics.
Evocative: According to a Harvard professor quoted in Inc. Magazine, consumers base 95 percent of their buying decisions on subconscious emotional reactions. Also, an earlier article from Bigeye discussed how brand names tend to trigger emotional responses more than other nouns. A name that helps evoke a positive, emotional response will provide a competitive edge.
Tips for Brainstorming Company Name Ideas
Businesses can find plenty of resources online to help with a brainstorming session for company names. One branding professional summarized a quick list of her go-to brainstorming tools for Entrepreneur.com. These accessible resources include:
Use an Online Thesaurus
With the product or service in mind, look for related words in an online thesaurus. Thesaurus.com doesn’t just offer synonyms and antonyms but also other possible related terms. For instance, a search for pies to name a pie shop could uncover such fun or evocative terms as “easy as pie,” “last course,” and “mulligan.”
Try an Industry Glossary
All businesses have their own jargon. Back to naming the pie shop, a glossary search of baker’s terms revealed some potential winners like “baker’s dozen,” “cream,” or even “hard crack.”
Google might not contain all human knowledge, but it definitely offers a gateway to the accumulated insights of millions. A simple Google search for pie showed some interesting twists, like “Pi” and “tart.” Beyond that, the latest news stories about pies offered some tasty ideas. If nothing else, just performing a search showed the kinds of terms that people searched for.
Research Song Names
Songwriters carefully craft song names as evocative hooks for their work. That’s very similar to the effect businesses hope that their brand name will have on customers. For example, some of the top songs about pie include “Wild Honey Pie” by the Beatles and “Slice of Your Pie” by Motley Crue.
Do an Image Search
People are visual creatures, so look for the kinds of images that might represent a product. Naturally, most images with a tag of pie have pies in them. However, they also have forks, plates, and crumbs, which could prove helpful.
Bigeye Brand Naming Example
Epoch Residential develops multifamily housing projects. They asked Bigeye to help them develop a warm, welcoming brand for their new project. With a beautiful, tree-lined property for inspiration, Bigeye set out to craft the perfect name.
The team considered the area’s history, the anticipated target market for new residents, the location near attractions in Orlando, and the natural beauty of the property. Finally, they drew inspiration from a hawk that often inhabits the surroundings and soars overhead, called the American kestral.
With all that in mind, they agreed upon the perfect name for the property: Kestra. The name evokes the same sense of beauty, freedom, and promise that this scenic property hopes to inspire for potential and current residents. Learn more about Bigeye’s complete branding journey for this top apartment project.
Work With Bigeye, a Top Branding Agency
Certainly, brand names serve as only one component of an overall marketing strategy. At the same time, the name serves as a focus for all the other branding efforts, like ads, slogans, and logos. Mostly, the name often provides customers with their very first and most memorable introduction to a company.
Businesses might change color schemes and graphics periodically. Still, they always find it much more troublesome and expensive to change a name. Work with Bigeye, a top brand naming firm, to get branding right the first time.