How much do companies invest in new product development? The figure can be very high by becoming aware of the enormous resources in hundreds of hours involving multiple teams, developing prototypes, several rounds of revisions so that the time finally comes to launch it on the market. It probably had a code name during its development, but now it becomes necessary to go further and create a brand. And following this logic, it would make no sense not to invest in the same proportion for it.

The first step will be to name it. Without a doubt, investing in naming is investing in creating brand value. Starting from a bad name represents a huge competitive advantage for the competition. The most successful companies have been able to promote the value of naming in their growth and portfolio management strategies. There is no doubt that a good name can guide potential buyers towards understanding the product. But when done poorly, it can frustrate customers, and even make it harder for them to make the purchase.

The 10 basic principles of good naming

I remind you of the 10 basic principles that a good brand name should have:

1. A name has to be notorious. A name that breaks existing codes can grow the notoriety of a brand (Twingo).

2. A name has to be distinct and unique. You must project a personality of your own (iPhone).

3. A name has to be flexible and long-lasting. It must allow the brand to be extended to other sectors (Virgin).

4. A name has to be suggestive and evocative. Associations that refer to specific concepts are more powerful and easier to retain in the memory (Tigra).

5. A name has to be credible. Descriptive names affect the credibility of the brand when it is intended to extend them to categories other than the original (Natural Gas vs Electricity).

6. A name has to be consistent with the trademark system. It must be able to coexist with other brands associated with similar traits (Zafira, Antara, Meriva).

7. A name has to be readable and easily pronounceable. It is much more complex to build the identity of an unpronounceable brand (Häagen-Dazs).

8. A name must be registrable. The enormous saturation of the records makes the processes difficult. Distinctive names are more easily appropriable (OIKOS).

9. A name should avoid negative associations. It is important to carry out linguistic checks in other languages to avoid blatant errors (Pajero).

10. Brands are built through good stories. The name must be able to synthesize it (La Chelinda).

But, assuming that these principles have been taken into account in the creative process, the difficult moment of selecting proposals from long lists of alternatives arrives. It is even likely to be difficult to achieve internal consensus, for which we add

10 Tips for Choosing a Good Name

1. Retrieve the briefing. The new name was created to respond to a series of strategic insights . “I like it or I don’t like it” are not quantitative variables that facilitate strategic decision-making.

2. First impressions are important, but not exclusive. There are several factors that can be associated with a good brand name and may not be visible at first. Review the proposals in a second and third round.

3. Consider the context. Whether we name a product or a company, it will have to coexist in a framework delimited by a series of circumstances that give it meaning. On the one hand, the context is delimited, but it also makes it easier to understand the name.

4. Consider their sonic impact. It prevents the pronunciation from being different for different people, ensures its consistency.

5. Choose a short list. Due to the enormous saturation of records, it is not advisable to choose a single option. Select a shortlist, prioritized to ensure that at least one name is registered.

6. Domain is not exclusive. Along with the enormous saturation of registrations comes the tremendous saturation of web domains. Consider the different circumstances and evaluate the alternatives.

7. Protect it. Don’t move forward without the assurance that you can make it yours and protect it legally. Check the similarity of competitors’ names and even other categories.

8. Make it worthy of inner pride. You will come into direct contact with all employees who will have to make it their own. It should be a source of inspiration.

9. Secure the marking system. Check that you have a trademark system in place that adds value and avoids confusion.

10. Give it time. Adoption of any novelty takes time on the part of customers. Early adopters will be fantastic external evangelists.

There are therefore many considerations when creating and deciding on a brand name. This is not a trivial exercise. If you intend to name or rename a brand, give it the attention it deserves or let professionals guide you.


Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock

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