April 05, 2016

Keeping the “Brand” in “Brand Name”

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Wise words that touch on so many topics, and while it’s unclear whether Aristotle had brand name development and brand strategy on his mind when he uttered this well-known refrain, he definitely struck gold on a key point in a brand’s lifecycle.

Creating a brand name is an integral part of any branding effort, since the end result will become one of the most visible and widely used aspects of a brand. But its place of importance should not lead to a misguided sense of separation in the development process, where the name is created in a vacuum, far removed from the various brand elements that will surround and support it.

“When creating a new brand name, you should always acknowledge the bigger picture,” says Brittany Scott, Manager of Verbal Branding at Addison Whitney. “Think about where you are now and where you want your brand to be in five or 10 years. Think about other brands in your space and how you want to position yourself against them.

“Your brand should be flexible enough to encompass your current market position as well as allow for growth and expansion. Names that are too limiting may face challenges in the future as your market and market share evolves.”Branded-SMS

Too narrow of a creative mindset can result in a name choice that will hinder a brand for the foreseeable future, causing even more speed bumps when an inevitable rebrand takes place. So now, instead of gaining positive and long-lasting brand equity with the help of the brand name, you are faced with an uphill climb of time, money and effort to redo the process.

Even if the name initially fits and begins to lay the foundation to a successful brand, quality brand strategy ensures you are always looking ahead and preparing for the long-term future.

Think of brand development as a jigsaw puzzle. Each element of your brand – name, logo, strategy, etc. – is a different puzzle piece that must fit cohesively with the others while also moving the process forward to a completed picture. It doesn’t make sense to solve a jigsaw puzzle by first working on a different, unrelated puzzle. When a brand is created a vacuum, without the road map of a full brand strategy, this is exactly what you are doing. Avoid this detrimental (and potentially costly) pitfall by laying a strong foundation and creating a brand name that can represent your product or service now and in the future.

Another factor that plays into this strategic direction is, as Scott mentions, the impossibility of creating a brand that makes everyone happy about everything involved.

“There will always be differing opinions of your brand, but a strong brand message, backed up with a solid product or service, will demand respect in the marketplace.”

Let’s assume the name you create is met with a higher-than-expected level of dislike. Well, if it is floated out to the market without the brand life jacket to keep it afloat, it could take the entire brand down with it. But if the name was created within the whole of the brand, then it will be backed up and possess the support necessary to withstand any growing pains or unfavorable opinions.

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