What’s in a name? Too many syllables probably, and impossible for the reader to connect the name with the product. We have seen too many “cool” brand names get left in the dust of the marketplace simply because they were too complex, too wordy, or too abstract. Remember, you won’t be there to explain why the name you chose is so cool. So, who’s to blame if your potential customers don’t get it, or can’t remember it?
When we started Barefoot Wines, we had a very wise and experienced chain store buyer tell us our name had to be the same as our logo, had to be in plain English, and had to be a term everyone could readily identify with. Over the years, we have noticed that the brand names that last tend to follow this advice and honor a few more rules of our short-attention-span world.
Here then are guidelines for naming your brand so it will be memorable, compelling, and distinguished:
- Short Grunts. That’s right, just one or two syllables. If it’s more, the market will just reduce it to one or two anyway. Three and four syllable names are harder to remember and take longer to say. It’s also nice if the “grunts” rhyme, have some sing-song jingle to them, start with the same letter, or sound like something your customer already knows. Your job, when naming your brand, is to get attention and return buyers. They have to remember the name so they can ask for it and tell their friends. That’s job #1, so make it easy for your customers!
- Value. Your name should communicate the value your product delivers to your customer. That communication can be about the feeling they will have when they use your product such as confidence, security, order, health, ease, fun, etc. When they see and say your brand name, what do you want them to feel? Ideally, they should begin to enjoy your product even before they experience it.
- Image. Stick with a name that brings a graphic image to mind, an image that means something compelling to your customer. If it’s the name of the owner or creator, it will be an uphill battle to establish the identity of dependability, service and quality because those attributes must be proven over time. Tiffany and Mercedes have done just that, but how much time do you have? The name of a person may make the producer feel important but it does not communicate a positive or compelling message in a new brand.
- Product. An ideal brand name identifies the product itself. Perhaps there is a synonym for the name of the product, a nickname, or even a clever misspelling of the name. Names ending in “er” or “or” for instance, are now popularly misspelled with just an “r” dropping the “e” or “o”. Names with “to” and “for” are popularly replaced with the Arabic numerals “2” and “4”. Names with an “s” at the end may have a “z” instead.
- Attribute. A brand name that says what the product does or some attribute of the product is also memorable. Think about what the effect of the product is when it is used, and what it does for the customer. These names can convey action, and in doing so, send a satisfying message of completion to the customer. The name should say what the customer wants accomplished when using the product.
Use these guidelines to help you name your brand with a name that will stick, stand out, and sell!
Who We Are.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at www.thebarefootspirit.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.