Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brand Names

I am in the midst of developing a new identity for one of my clients. This includes creating a new name for the firm. The firm's CEO indicated that he would like to name his financial services firm after a rock, tree or flower. He also likes a couple specific words. One is the name of a prestigious university. The other is a group facilitation term. Finally, he likes Latin words. Hmmm...

I am used to developing associative descriptive names that allude to the brand's category and its unique value proposition. 

I met with someone else today who chose a beautiful icon for her firm's identity. It has no association with the company's name, however. 

These two recent encounters made me think again about creating names for brands. While I tend to like associative descriptive names such as, Die Hard and Uber, I must admit that sometimes it is the totally unexpected name that breaks through the category's clutter. I have always wanted to name some brand "platypus" as I think the name would stand out and the icon would be distinctive and fun.

Why do most street names take a similar form? Why do most law firms follow the same naming conventions? I recently completed a brand identity transformation project for a museum. They chose a visual expression of the name that was devoid of icons focusing on lettering design instead. This followed what other major museums have done as of late.

I knew a company founder who created his company's name from the first letters of the first names of his wife and four children. Another person I know named one of his residential real estate developments from the first part of his last name coupled with a part of the nickname his family had given the property when they had personally lived on it.

So, how thoughtful and scientific should one be about creating a brand's name and identity? I still contend it would be better to create a name that communicated some meaning. But, if not that...and it is often not that, then at least make sure the name meets these criteria:
  • Short and simple
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Memorable
  • Conjures up an image in people's minds
  • Distinctive in some way

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