When it comes to establishing a brand's identity, some companies may underestimate the power of a brand name.
In reality, the process of selecting a brand name is far more than a mere exercise in creativity. It is a strategic decision that can significantly influence a brand's perception and market positioning.
Here are the most common mistakes with brand names that we've identified through our consumer research.
1. Neglecting word complexity
A name that's difficult to pronounce can deter potential customers from remembering it, discussing your brand, or recommending it to others. This is often the case with lengthy brand names, deliberately misspelled words, or words with challenging pronunciations.
Recommendation: Aim for clarity and keep things simple to ensure the name is easy to say.
2. Using confusing phrases or idioms
There's no doubt that a strong creative concept behind a brand name can make it stand out from competitors e.g., Google. While using metaphors, wordplay, or foreign words can give the brand name a unique touch, it's crucial to evaluate how people from different backgrounds may interpret it and if the associations from the brand name match its intended meaning.
Recommendation: Test the concept with your target audience to strike a balance between uniqueness and potential confusion.
3. Failing to align the brand name with the tone of voice
A strong brand name often has a story behind it or conveys a specific message in a way that resonates with your target audience's needs. Do your customers prefer a playful style or a more formal approach to communications? Understanding their preferences should always guide the choice of the tone of voice when selecting your brand name.
Recommendation: Avoid names that lack significance and do not convey the brand's mission to your customers.
4. Neglecting long-term business strategy
Your brand name should allow for future growth and diversification. Are you planning to expand your product lines, geographical locations, etc.? Even if you aren't considering it now, you might want to explore new opportunities in the future. A brand name is typically an element that remains consistent across all your marketing materials and should facilitate your entry into new markets rather than restrict your business.
Recommendation: Try not to choose a name that limits your business into a specific niche unless you know how to play up the idea.
5. Naming a brand after a person
While using personal names may raise consumer interest in a brand, employing them as brand names doesn't always result in brand loyalty. Personal names can make it difficult to establish a distinctive brand image and craft a compelling brand story that deeply resonates with customers. Consumers often have bigger expectations when someone is putting their name behind a brand: they want to understand the expertise / background of the name to evaluate brand credibility. Consumers also expect that person to be a part of the brand forever, so it’s important to think about how this person’s role will evolve as the company grows.
Recommendation: Instead of relying solely on a brand name, convey a personal story behind your brand through communication with consumers and by emphasizing the value that your brand can provide.
As a brand name serves as the initial point of contact between a business and its potential customers, we always recommend testing the concept behind the brand name with consumers before entering the market.