People’s first point of contact with brands is often a name. But if you have tried to create a name you will surely have found that it seems that any good idea has already been registered by someone else, in the same way that any domain (especially .com) is already owned by a third party.

Naming, and all those derived from the verbal identity of a brand, is a powerful tool within branding. It is a powerful tool with the ability to inspire an entire organization or a group of citizens, providing an extremely strategic point of reference.

For this reason, it is not at all advisable to undertake a naming process internally or to leave it as a mere exercise that any creative can solve effectively. Naming professionals are strategists, creatives, and linguists and also know all the barriers and opportunities that a new name can present.

The need to create a brand name is paired with business growth strategies. The method used by each Company will depend on its situation as well as that of the market in which it operates. Some of the most common include:

– Market penetration or expansion

– Product expansion or diversification

– Mergers or acquisitions.

These common situations often lead to the need to create new brands and with it the requirement for new names. Let’s look at three ways to approach it:

1-Creation of a new brand

In this case, the circumstances of the market or of the Company itself favor the creation of a new banner. It will be necessary to shape a business vision and find an inspiring name to represent it.

Here brand naming is not only the result of a creative exercise that translates the brief into a verbal expression, but it is a tool in itself for the birth of a new idea. It will be necessary to first define or agree on the brand strategy, which will give meaning to all the elements that will configure its identity and image.

2-Grow the brand

A name can update a concept and turn it into something new that is better adapted to a new environment, making it easier to understand.

This situation occurs, for example, when constant advances in technology lead to the need to evolve products and with them their name. Or when a brand wants to explore new markets, enter new competitive environments, or take into account a new development framework.

Operationally, it will require a prior review of the brand positioning, to reformulate its new raison d’être and lay the foundations for the exercise of creating the new name.

If it is an expansion to other markets, it may involve new languages, so the naming work must include the disaster check to avoid the known errors that involve the problem of unwanted interpretations. In addition, it will be necessary to check the availability of new name registrations in new markets (Disney has had to change the name in Spain of its new princess Moana, here Vaiana).

3-Achieving market disruption

When it is necessary to break the rules of the game, it is about exploring new frontiers and finding previously undetected opportunities. These are cases that may present some resistance and a good name can facilitate acceptance.

These situations are becoming increasingly common (Airbnb, Uber, BlaBlaCar). New forms of consumption are emerging as a result of advances in technology, which have not even been considered until now.

Typologies of brand names

In the creation of the brand name, one of the most important decisions is to identify the typology of the name: abstract, descriptive, evocative, toponymic, patronymic, acronymic… Usually, the main choice is centered on the appropriate degree of evolution between descriptive, evocative, or abstract.

Descriptive names

Descriptive names, which are more functional, describe an attribute, a benefit, the product itself, or the Company’s activity (Cacaolat, GasNatural, Frenadol). They are very obvious, clear, simple, and easy to interpret and remember. They also require less investment in communication. But on the other hand, they are difficult to register, there are too many similarities and they are not very flexible when it is necessary to deal with trademark extension processes. Built from attributes are a reflection of purely rational decisions, registration problems are often an insurmountable barrier for them.

Evocative names

At a second level would be the articulated ones incorporating more emotional character. Evocative names are usually very noticeable and distinctive (Twitter, Netflix). Even if they are configured as disruptive neologisms within an industry, they can come to define a new category (iPhone, iPad, iCloud). They are very inspiring and greatly facilitate creativity, have greater registration possibilities, and enjoy greater flexibility. However, they require greater investment in communication and present greater difficulties in reporting openly.

Abstract names

Finally, and according to this scale, we find the abstract names, as the maximum approximation to emotional communication. They stand out as the most distinctive and exclusive, generate associations derived from their sonority, favor comprehension from multiple languages, and therefore facilitate market penetration (Lexus, Häagen-Dazs). They provide great flexibility and great registration possibilities. However, they are orphans without a content to surround them, which is why they require heavy investment in communication.

 

Finally, he believes that while changing a visual identity may be relatively manageable, changing a verbal identity is very difficult to tackle.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock