Understanding the Psychology Behind Perfect Brand Names

See how the emotional response brand names elicit from consumers can impact your business to ensure you choose the best brand name.

Almost all guides to starting a new business include picking a name as one of the first steps. That might sound like a simple task. Still, you should carefully consider the emotional impact of any names under consideration.

You certainly want to avoid making the list of the worst all-time business names. Yes, there’s a pizza restaurant named Poopsie’s and a propane company called Passmore Gas. You can even find a popular taco joint in Texas called Dumass Tacos. The founders may have been in on the joke and appear to have succeeded anyway. As local business owners, they probably knew their market pretty well. Still, the joke might get old and in particular, not so well embraced for companies that hope to grow into a national or even international eCommerce brand.

You’re starting a new business. Risky of frivolous company names can backfire when you need to use them to appeal to an audience that you haven’t even had a chance to get to know yet. That’s why business naming services exist. They focus upon not just helping new brands avoid offensive or misunderstood names but even by using the psychology of branding to create a positive impression.

Why does psychology matter for brand naming companies?

Brand names may do more than help people identify different companies. Sometimes names provide clues about what the company does, how they work, or what they believe in; however, often, they don’t. According to Psych Central, brand names trigger more of an emotional response than other nouns. While people tend to process language in the more rational parts of their brain, they also pass a brand through their more emotional, right side before responding.

That makes brand names an important part of marketing. While the rational part of a consumer’s brains may make logical comparisons, advertising works mostly because of how it can make people feel about the company. Companies reinforce this response by presenting their brands with consistent fonts and logos. One psychologist who studied the psychology of branding even went so far as to conclude that the way people thought about brand names appeared to give them a “special, neurological status.”

Creating a brand name you won’t regret

Julian Shapiro founded NameLayer, a company which provides business naming services. He mentioned considering the emotional reaction that you want customers to have when they hear your brand, even without knowing one other thing about your business. Shapiro referred to this quality as gravitas, or the degree of seriousness you hope to evoke from customers, investors, and even employees.

You can certainly choose a fun name, even for some serious businesses. Still, this tactic won’t work for all types of companies. As an example, he said that he wouldn’t pick a domain like Securit.ee for a cybersecurity firm. On the other hand, he’d be fine with playing with domains and extensions for a casual clothing or photo-sharing site. Think about the types of prospects you plan to court and how you attend to acquire them before you decide how serious you need your name to sound.

If you choose your own name or try some suggestions from business naming agencies, you should still try to figure out what sort of emotional reaction each name elicits before settling. You will probably benefit by asking other people for their perspective. Shapiro suggested passing names by partners, colleagues, and perhaps even better, friends who aren’t involved in the business.

How to choose the perfect brand name

You can find plenty of advice about picking the perfect brand name. For every set of rules, it’s easy to find examples of companies that violated these rules and succeeded anyway. Still, these risk takers either knew their market very well or got lucky enough to enjoy some benefits that outweighed the potential risks of eliciting the wrong reaction. As a business owner, you’ll have plenty of other business matters to focus on without having to worry that you’ve offended part of your market.

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Business Naming Really Is a Science – Or Is It?

Although the business naming process is far from exact, you can develop a formula to find a name that can rocket your company to success and sustain ongoing growth.

Would a rose, by any other name, truly smell as sweet? Romeo may think so in regard to his fair Juliet, but in the business world, a name can truly make or break you.

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious: a good name cannot save a bad company. A clever or interesting name may attract some consumers to a particular company, but those consumers will not stick around when they encounter significant flaws in that company’s products and/or services. Furthermore, that once “clever/interesting” name will take on a whole new meaning in the marketplace as public opinion of the company begins to decline. 

So why is a company’s name so critical to success? The answer lies in the fact that a name is so easy to instantly love or hate. First impressions are incredibly important, and so are the ways in which a company’s name initially hits the ear and/or the eye.

Everybody automatically judges a name and, furthermore, feels qualified to do so. For this reason alone, investing in an effective name makes great business sense.

So what differentiates a good business name from a bad one? Investigating this question, The Atlantic contacted marketing executive and legendary brand naming expert Hayes Roth, who could offer no universal rules for landing on the ideal name, but presented the act of business naming as a protracted process that begins in strategy and ends in practical application.

As an example, Roth, the mastermind behind the brand name BlackBerry, stresses the importance of speaking with “a familiar voice.” He adhered to this principle by choosing all one-syllable words for BlackBerry’s line of smartphones (Bold, Curve Storm, etc.). From the iPad to the iPod, Apple’s mobile products also epitomize this concept by universally beginning with a lower-case “i.”

Forbes adds to this key tactic with several other general but imperative tips for effective company naming. Consider the following four tips carefully before embarking on the business naming process. 

1. Keep it simple and catchy.

Avoid overly long and hard-to-spell names. You want your name to be eminently “googleable.” Obviously, you want to avoid any boring names, but you can easily confuse and/or repel potential customers if you choose a name that is too strange or outlandish. As Forbes puts it, ”You want your employees to be able to say where they work without hesitation, and you want your name to resonate with your target audience.” Play close attention to the way your name sounds when it is spoken and looks when it is read!

2. Use a name that conveys strategic meaning.

Although meaningless names such as “Google” can certainly catch on, in general, the name of your company should clearly convey something that is meaningful, positive and associated with the type of business that you conduct. By developing a name that has recognizable meaning with direct ties to your company, you can also cut down significantly on branding costs.

3 Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.

Today, few people are aware that the electronics chain Best Buy formerly did business as Sound of Music. That name worked perfectly well during the early years of the company, when it primarily sold home stereo equipment. But as the company gradually expanded to offer the diverse array of products that it offers today, the original chosen name of this multinational retail giant just made less and less sense. The moral of this story? Prevent the tremendous expense and dangerous pitfalls of a complete rebrand by avoiding company names that are narrow enough to cause future problems.

4. Conduct thorough Internet and trademark searches.

When you begin to favor a particular name, it’s time to check to see if it is already in use. Although businesses with the same or similar names can conduct business simultaneously in some cases, this arrangement will almost always create significant issues. After conducting a general Internet search, check USPTO.gov to see if you can get the name trademarked or service marked.

Getting Professional Help

In light of the incredible importance of an effective company name, wise companies will often seek the help of a quality marketing agency that provides professional business naming services. If you have questions about effective naming strategies, contact a skilled and knowledgeable marketing expert at Bigeye today.

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Learn the Brand Benefits of Transmedia Storytelling

In marketing, “transmedia storytelling” is a trendy buzzword. Marketers have often proclaimed the benefits of placing much of their advertising-driven focus on telling a compelling “story,” but what is actually represented by the story itself may be a bit hazy. That’s where the marketers at your favorite marketing agency in Orlando come in – we’ll help you paint a clearer picture of how a viable story might help you to provide positive support and reinforcement for your message.

Before the digital revolution, brand storytelling meant something very specific. In particular, it applied to the types of stories we share with one other, in both formal and informal settings, often containing an overarching narrative – including protagonists, antagonists, and the like.

With the ever-present and constantly changing advent of emerging technology, storytelling has taken on a brand new connotation (pun intended). Sometimes called transmedia storytelling, these are, from a broad perspective, the stories about your brand as told through the use of social media, design and other elements that help give people the entire picture of what your brand is all about. Additionally, every image or bit of copy itself can also tell a story. Even Google’s “Don’t be evil” slogan gives us a pretty solid example of how the brand strives to present itself – abiding by the belief that a company that does good things for the world might be forced to forego some short-term goals.

Let’s take a look at how we can apply storytelling in a variety of business facets:

Storytelling in Copywriting

“Just do it.” “Think different.” “Got milk?” Each of these copywriting examples represents a widely-known slogan. In just a few short words, the copywriters responsible for these taglines are able to tell fantastic stories about their business. But it doesn’t stop here. Content through longer-form text and via social media are both excellent avenues to deliver stories out into the world.

Storytelling in Imagery

Images are effective because they truly resonate with people, transporting them to the locale that they see in the visual. Make an impact on your audience by relying on impactful visuals to tell these stories.

Storytelling in Web Design

Does the design layout of your website accurately depict who you are as a brand? Cutting-edge companies often have interesting websites that also reflect these values, whereas simple brands will employ more simplistic websites to reflect the mission of the business.

Storytelling in User Experience

Beyond simply website or mobile app design, this scenario poses the question of whether the user’s experience across platforms is consistent with your brand story. For instance, if you advertise excellent customer service, then your user experience can aptly highlight this feature by allowing ease of navigation of your apps, as well as features that place the customer at the center of the experience.

Storytelling in Sales

People are much more engaged with stories than with hard facts. Use interesting stories in your sales decks and presentation in order to help highlight your business’s strengths and create a feeling of “relatability” within your audience.

Storytelling in Company Culture

To at least some extent, your company’s people are the living and breathing representations of your story. Think of corporations like Google and Apple, both of which lean on their unique corporate cultures as the heart of how they do business. As an organization, who are you are, where you come from, and why you do what you do often makes for a very compelling story.

Storytelling in Customer Service

For Zappos, customer service IS the story. Zappos employees will stay on the phone with customers for 8 hours or longer just to fulfill the high customer service expectations set forth for and by customers. And, Zappos’ customer service commitment actually inspired an entire book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, which essentially contains a collection of stories the culminate in the overall Zappos brand story.

If you’re not focusing on your brand’s story in all areas of your business, maybe it’s time to shift the paradigm – to begin thinking about how your great tale might best be told. Our Florida marketing agency can help you find and focus on a brand story worth sharing with your customers. Contact us today to let us help you refine your approach, and develop strategies to create a library of success stories!

Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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How a Brand Development Company can Help You with the Impossible

If a brand development company can make voting fashionable, then anything is possible.

It might seem like a stretch, but some of the best minds in branding are on that very mission. Though doing your civic duty is critically important for democracy, the U.S. has historically underperformed in terms of voter turnout, regularly ranking near the bottom of most indexes.

And that’s somewhat understandable — standing in line at a polling station is nobody’s idea of a glamorous way to spend a morning, and once civic apathy sets in, it can be hard to break.

Fortunately, Bumble — and some of the other leading brands in Silicon Valley — are helping increase turnout by giving the voting process some social cachet.

Making voting a social plus

 Until recently, voting was a solitary activity. You lined up, entered a booth, cast your ballot and trudged off to work. Today, however, you’re likely to see people uploading photos and videos of themselves voting to social media and even live streaming the event. Voting has become a public performance — and that may be the key to making it more popular.

Bumble, a dating platform that is one of the most forward-thinking brands in the tech space, understands this and has taken steps to capitalize on it. Bumble teamed up with a public awareness campaign called “I Am a Voter” (admittedly not the best name we’ve ever heard) to increase voter turnout.

To accomplish this, Bumble created a new profile badge that allows users to identify as a voter. It’s the digital version of those omnipresent “I Voted” stickers. The idea is simple: People know that voting is a social good, and that is perceived as a voter is a plus in the eyes of other people. By tapping into this sentiment, Bumble is helping to brand the voting process as something that’s desirable — something that affirms your status as a serious, civic-minded person.

In addition to the new badge, Bumble also added new in-app functionality to assist users with voter registration.

Bumble — a feminist dating app whose team is largely comprised of women — has a long history of using its platform and brand in the service of larger social goods, making the voting campaign a natural extension of both its ethos and brand.

The dating platform wasn’t the only Silicon Valley company working to promote voting. Uber offered discounted rides to polling places on Nov. 6 (Election Day) and integrated directions to users’ local polling places, while Lyft offered free and discounted trips to the polls.

Bumble competitor Tinder worked with voting registration project “Rock the Vote” to maximize turnout by offering swipe-based in-app registrations. Even Dropbox and other firms gave their employees free time off to do their civic duty at the polls.

Is all of this having an appreciable effect? The early returns are overwhelmingly positive. Young adult voting (the demographic most likely to be influenced by these tech-based approaches) saw a staggering 188% increase in turnout during the Nov. 6 midterm election. Whether it’s the result of outreach efforts from companies like Bumble — or Taylor Swift urging her 112 million Instagram followers to vote — it’s clear that tech and social platforms have not only helped increase civic turnout but have also helped rebrand the process of voting for a new age.

Finding the right brand development company

Technology — and clever branding — have helped turn voting from a solitary and somewhat dreary civic duty to a communal experience meant to be celebrated. If your business is in need of working with an innovative brand development company, we know just the firm to provide it.

Success Is Written in the Stars and Creative Brand Consulting

Can a business guarantee its own failure before it even opens? Absolutely. Poor planning and strategic misjudgments can end any prospect of success before the doors open. Yet more aesthetic decisions — such as designing a logo — can also play a critical role in long-term success. That’s one reason why creative brand consulting is such a valuable service for many of today’s fledgling enterprises.

Why the right logo makes all the difference

Some new business owners view the creation of a logo as a second-level task. If they can devise a clever one, great, but if not, no big deal.

You’d never find this kind of indifference in the C suite of a Fortune 500 firm, however. The most successful companies understand that their logo is the core of their visual identity and a cornerstone part of the overall brand. Research has shown that logos can impact not only the public perception of a company but also its performance.

A logo is often the consumer’s first impression, for better or worse, and the first thing that comes to mind when a company is named. These perceptions are so powerful that even the mere shape of a logo can elicit powerful feelings about a brand in the eyes of consumers.

If you’re skeptical, just think about the cultural cachet carried by the golden arches, the Nike swoosh, or that famous apple with one bite removed. A logo, when executed properly, is everything great about a brand compressed into one brilliant signifying image.

All of which raises a key question: How do you create a logo that truly stands out?

Creating eye-catching logos

Great logos tend to have shared attributes, and these common features can serve as a road map of sorts for the creation of your own standout logo. Being a creative brand consulting agency, we have narrowed down some of the most important design principles in logo creations include:

  • Originality. In order to stand out a logo needs to separate itself from the routine visual imagery we process every day. 
  • Simplicity. An overly complex logo turns viewers off. The best logos are elegantly simple and instantly recognizable.
  • Connection. A logo doesn’t have to directly represent what’s being sold (Nike doesn’t sell swooshes, after all) but it should bear some connection with the company’s brand and story.
  • Colors. As we’ve written before, color is critical to marketing. Different colors evoke different emotional responses. Understanding this is key to developing a striking logo that elicits the response for which you’re aiming.
  •  Flexibility. Today, logos appear in a large number of contexts (social media, TV, print, billboards) and devices (phones, tablets, laptops). A great logo should work well across any context and on any device, regardless of size or background constraints.

How creative brand consulting can help create the perfect logo

Developing a logo that meets all the necessary design elements is no small task for most business owners. A top Florida advertising agency like BIGEYE, however, has the necessary expertise and experience to create visually arresting logos that immediately stand out to consumers.

 By applying our insights into design aesthetics and color theory, we can help you craft a logo that instantly conveys your brand story, forging an immediate connection with your desired audience. Connect with us today about refreshing a previously existing brand or developing a new logo!