Brand Name Development: Myths & Facts
Brand Name Development: Myths & Facts
The Killer Panda Brand Development Team has pulled together some of the most common myths about developing an original and targeted brand name. We’ve responded to these with the true and hard facts of what exactly is a magnetic and mighty brand name and how one can put one together or find the one that is right for their business or product.
Brand Myth: Recently I was a business conference where people were talking about brand equity and how to build equity into a brand. I was thinking that a brand isn’t like a house so how could you build equity into it?
Brand Fact: While your brand isn’t exactly like a house, it needs to build equity. Not the same type of equity you build into a house but equity non-the-less.
When a perspective client is presented with seemingly equal products what would make them choose yours over another? At the most basic level Brand Equity is the reason why someone would choose your product or company over another.
Brand equity includes but is not limited to, design, advisement, brand naming, and even packaging.
We’ve put together a blog on Brand Equity where we go further into details and give you some great examples of where brand equity made the difference.
Brand Myth: Every brand is different and so no one can tell me exactly what makes a great brand name; how could they? How am I going to develop a great brand name if I don’t know what I’m looking for?
Brand Fact: While you’re right, every brand is different; there are a few similarities which every great brand name shares. Did that get you interested?!?!
That said the Killer Panda Brand Development Team has put together a little video about what, almost all great brand names share. We’ve named this vlog Brand Must Haves – Don’t let your Brand be Without Them.
It’s five short minutes, with five brand must haves, check it out.
Brand Myth: A pun is a great way to get my new business attention. I’m starting a businesses and think I’ve come up with a really funny and interesting pun, I don’t see what the big problem is, it’s funny!
Brand Fact: You may think your pun is just so funny now and yes it may garner attention but is it the right kind of attention. There are a lot of businesses where puns are just inappropriate like a lawyer, banker, financial adviser, security and the like. These are all businesses where you need to sound serious.
Puns also don’t translate, they may be regional humor and often rhyme which when translated into a foreign language are completely missed. Also foreign speakers have trouble with puns.
There are several different reasons why puns are a bad choice for your brand name, so much so, that we’ve written a blog about it. Check out why to Avoid Puns for your Brand Name and let us know what you think.
Also just check it out if you want to see some really funny pun named business and why these 3 or four may actually work!
Brand Myth: If I have a short domain name or company name, no one is going to know what my business is or does.
Brand Fact: A short business name is an ideal brand name. A short business name is easier to remember and easier to communicate and should be your goal when naming your business.
As for people not knowing what it is what your business is or does that can be easily rectified by adding a tagline. You may be thinking, “why not just add my tagline to my business name” well, that goes back to creating a long business name and that’s something you want to avoid.
Our Tip for Creating a Brand Name is keep your brand name as short as possible and add a tagline to your logo, jingle or however you’re presenting your brand.
Brand Myth: Brands are developed and crafted over a long period of time. You just can’t brand a business and they certainly can’t have one pushed on to you. It’s a long process and it just doesn’t happen overnight.
Brand Fact: While the brands that you want to develop can take a lot of time to craft and develop, make no mistake about it, your business or company can be branded in almost an instant.
Worse, and more troublesome, brands can be developed in moments and you may not even be in control of the process. One example, this is a positive example, Jackie Kennedy-Onassis was discussing how their legacy was branded “Camelot.” It all came back to one interview where she simple stated that JFK’s favorite record was the soundtrack from that Broadway show.
She reflected and said that there life was like “Camelot.” The press grabbed this analogy and ran with it, and we shall always know the Kennedy administration as Camelot.
Your company or product can be branded in a second and you may not even being the one doing it. In the case of the Kennedy’s, Camelot happens to be a really good brand but it may not go that way.
FIAT, was “rebranded” as Fix It Again Ted, and it took years and a CEO laser focused on engine reliability to lose that moniker.
Get ahead of the branding and always keep listening to what others are saying about it, if you’re hearing negative comments associated with your brand FIX IT!
Brand Myth: Your brand can only be one thing, be it one product, one service or even one type of restaurant. If you add things to your brand you’re only going to dilute it, therein destroy everything you’ve been built your brand up to be.
Brand Fact: Not true, you can have many different products or services under one brand. One great example is to look at the huge brand or company Apple to know you can have more than one of anything “under” your brand.
Apple has the IPhone, IPad, IPod, the IAnything and more. They have an entire line of different products under the “I” brand. Whether it stands for “internet ready,” “intelligent” or as in “I for Me,” there are many different products under the “I” brand.
Now you may say that they’re all technology, while that’s true, even restaurants with different types of food can be under one brand. Here is the great example of the Pappas line of restaurants, as anyone in Texas will be able to tell you, has several different types of restaurants all under the umbrella of their Pappas brand.
They have PappaDeaux (French I believe), Pappasito’s Cantina (Mexican), Pappas Seafood and more. They are quite different but they all are branded as Pappas.
The most important part of a brand is consistency, consistently great food, cutting edge technology or friendly customer service. Brand equals consistency and that means if one of the products, goods or services fails to meet up with the customer’s expectation the entire line will be compromised.
Go out and add some products to your brand!
Brand Myth: I’m at that point where my brand is going global and I’ve hired one of the best US Trademark attorney’s and I’ve filed to trademark my brand in the US. This means my brand will be protected across the globe; you just need to file once.
Brand Fact: That is NOT true and your Trademark Attorney should have told you that. As of yet, there is no universal or international trademark for your brand.
You must apply to extend your trademark to other countries and this can be done at the same time or through the USPTO but only to countries who have signed the Madrid Protocol, around 85 of them. These countries include most of Europe and even China.
This process is a bit confusing that even we’re not sure exactly how it’s done but, the point is don’t be fooled and think that just because your brand is protected in one country, it is in another.
To learn more about international trademarking, check out this great article at the Inc Magazine website.
Brand Myth: I keep asking everyone over and over again if they like the brand name that I’ve developed. I’m kind of scared now, that people are telling me what I want to hear. How do I know if people are telling me what I want to hear or if my brand name is really a great one?
Brand Fact: Great question, I fear that what you’ve said, about influencing people is true. When you’re asking people about your brand name “over and over” you’re influencing their response.
There’s an old proverb “Torture the data long enough and they will confess to anything.” When you’re asking people, preferably your target market, how they feel about your brand name, it should be casual and not intimidating.
By asking people over and over again, people may be telling you what they think you want to hear and that’s not going to help you in the brand name development process. Be free, encourage people to speak their mind and encourage a healthy and stimulating discussion about the name, you never know the great brand name ideas you’ll come up with.
Brand Myth: I heard something recently about “brand positioning” and I guess I’m a little confused about what exactly that is, and how it would this affects my brand.
Brand Fact: Brand positioning is basically, and most simply, how or why is your customer going to pick your brand over another brand within the same market. For example is your brand going to be smaller than your completion, is it faster, more reliable or even cheaper.
You need to know why people are going to choose you over your completion, you’ve got to give them a reason and that reason is Brand Positioning.
Just one quick note, price is almost never the right way to go with brand positioning. You almost never want to know as the cheap one, and it’s a very slippery slope to be on, someone can always undercut you.
Brand Myth: My brand is my product so what’s the problem with that. My product is the best and most innovative in the industry so what else do I need?
Brand Fact: If you think that your product is your brand you’ve been misled. Your brand is bigger than your product, your service, your design or even your packaging. Your brand is everything put together so, if you’re neglecting all other aspects outside of just your product, you’re heading to trouble.
Your brand is an experience from beginning to end, from order to execution, from use to customer service.
Our researchers have put together a great blog on building a better experience for a successful brand and we would suggest that everyone should check it out.
Brand Myth: My brand doesn’t need a social media page. I don’t understand why I need a FaceBook page or Twitter handle for my brand. I’m small and no one is going to “like” me anyway, what’s the point?
Brand Fact: It doesn’t matter how small your brand is you need a social media page. There are just so many reasons you need to be plugged into social media, we’re just not going to have the time to answer it all here but, even if you’re a small restaurant in a rural area you need to get plugged in.
Even if it is just announcing sales, specials or news about your brand these are great ways to get it out there. Also people can share these things with their friend which is basically just free advertising.
Of course these can cut both ways, people can also write things you don’t like about your brand as well.
Brand Myth: My brand is the taste of my new product and that is all that really matters, it doesn’t matter what the box looks like!
Brand Fact: Brands spend Billions of dollars each year on what, not only their product looks like but what the packaging looks like because, people are extremely visual. Recently I saw a static that around ninety present of all the information that is transmitted to the brain is visual.
The problem that you may come across, if you don’t want to invest in the packaging, is that no one is going to pick it up to taste it. You can spend all your time and money on the taste, consistency and texture of your food product but if the outside box is unappealing and/or you use colors that are unappetizing no one is going to try it and find out.
Everything about your product might be the best ever but if you don’t complete the brand package (pun intended) no one is going to find out because no one is going to try it!
We’re sorry to tell you but your food is in, is almost as important as how it tastes.
Brand Myth: What should I care what people are saying about my brand on those sites like Facebook and twitter? Everyone I talk to says they love my brand!
Brand Fact: That’s great, we love the fact that you’re talking to people about your brand but your brand doesn’t end there. Years ago, when I was working in a restaurant there was a poster on the wall stating “A happy customer tells 3 people, an unhappy customer tells 10.”
While the adage is still true we’ve entered a new world.
We now live in a world where people can instantly get online, their twitter handle or Facebook account and tell hundreds if not thousands of their friends and followers.
Your brand needs to make sure that your customers are happy and address any concerns or problems they may have had.
Never, underestimate the power of an individual with a twitter following on your brand. This also means you should monitor what people are saying about your brand.
Brand Myth: What does it matter how old my target market is, my brand is the key and everyone will love my products?
Brand Fact: We’re sure your products are great and that’s not really the point. The problem or the issue with not caring about the age of your brands target market is that you’ll need to know how to position your product.
When considering the age of your target market you want to consider how they are going to come in contact with your brand, for example if they’re young will they find it online or if a little older in the newspaper?
Also consider the packaging of your product? Will you design the packaging to be bright and flashy for a young person or more subtle and elegant for a more mature audience?
There are just so many things that you need to consider where the age of your target market is of the utmost importance. Never forget to factor this in.
Brand Myth: My brand is technologically advanced and that’s what makes my company great and it will always stay that way.
Brand Fact: Any brand which is built on technology needs to stay ahead of the curve. Think of this, Eastman Kodak was once the leader in photographic technology and where are they now? Chapter 11.
This once mighty company was the leader in their industry and constantly the leader in innovative advances in technology for OVER a hundred years and even the inventor of the digital camera but they were unable or unwilling to see the huge movement in film free cameras and late to get on board with an online catalog.
The industry moved past this once mighty brand. That means just because your brand is on the cutting edge of technology now and well established, you need to do everything you can to keep it there and stay ahead of the curve. One, two slips and there is another brand waiting to take your spot!
Brand Myth: The Target Market for my brand is important but, I want my product available to everyone.
Brand Fact: We know you want everyone to buy your product and while you may fear that focusing a target marking you’re going to alienate everyone else but, that’s not the case.
There’s an old saying that “if you try to be everything to everyone, you won’t be anything to anyone.”
Your brand will quickly become diluted if it’s not designed to specifically go after one target market. Moreover, you’ll need to know everything about them to insure you the maximum impact.
That said, our experts have prepared a blog, part of our Strategy for Brand Success series, entitled “Who is you’re your brands target market?” Here we’ll present you with several of the many different questions you should be asking yourself about your target market.
These are meant to spur more questions in you about who is your target market. Everything about your brand should be designed and targeted to your target market and you need to know everything about them, so check out our blog!
Brand Myth: No one cares where my brand is located. So, what does it matter if I don’t have my address on my brands website; Japan, Minnesota or Los Angeles no one really cares where we’re located.
Brand Fact: Actually it really does matter to some people. You don’t have to look that far back in past to remember the commercial about how you should “look for the American label” on all clothing.
Some people feel extremely passionate about buying from an American company while others may feel more comfortable dealing with people in their local area rather than dealing with people far away.
This is particularly true with regional matters; think Real Estate, Flood Insurance, Travel or any business where the client feels you need insight to their particular area. A Minnesota extermination business may be well benefited by boasting their local locations because who knows local bugs than a local exterminator?
Clients may also want to work with a brand that is in their time zone. Clients in Hawaii may want to work with a brand in Hawaii, Alaska or one on Pacific Coastal Time compared to Eastern Standard Time or Europe because the time zone would be too restrictive to business or feel that they may not be able to reach you when they need you.
Just as an example, Killer Panda is proudly based out of Los Angeles. Have pride in your location and you may just find that people choose your brand because you’re local and not far away!
Brand Myth: One of your recent blog posts (Know Your Target Market for Brand Success) you said that I should be not only looking at my competition but other brands as well, even if they aren’t in my industry. Here’s the question, why should I bother looking at other companies, for inspiration even if they’re successful, if they’re doing something so dramatically different from me? How could they help me?
Brand Fact: Yes, yes, yes you should. Just because a successful brand is nowhere near yours industry, think Cement Company and Flower Shop, if they are successful brands than you should look to them to see what it is that they are doing right.
Just expanding on the Cement Company and Flower Shop, at first while you would think, what does cement have to do with flowers? I would think they have a lot in common when you begin to think about it. First they both have to move their product and they both have a very short window to do it.
A while back we had a brand tip that you could learn a lot from brands that have failed and while that is true, there is a lot to be learned from brands that succeed.
Coca-Cola, or IBM or other long standing brands, they are clearly doing something right, these brands have been around for a long time and that should be your goal. Maybe it’s their brand positioning, advertisement or whatever; there are great things to be learned there.
Don’t be afraid to look outside your industry to find things that will work for your brand!
Brand Myth: I don’t care what that other brand did, they went out of business. So why should I, would I, look to them as a model? They failed, that doesn’t mean my business will fail too.
Brand Fact: Well…. sometimes it’s even more important to learn what NOT to do. While it’s not true that, just because a business similar went out of business yours will too, there’s still plenty of things you can learn.
Look within your industry, find businesses like yours, learn what they did right, and learn what they did wrong. Consider, playing a little game where you picture yourself as the other business. Then place yourself in their situation. Begin to think about how you would have handle whatever was going on there and if that would have made a difference.
But it could be true as well. After all, how many Whalebone Corset Makers do you know? Once a huge industry employing thousands of people became irrelevant.
Entrepreneurs and business owners like you, must have begun to look around and seeing business like theirs begin to fail.
So, the long and the short of it is, not just because they went out of business does not mean you will too. But, it may!
Brand Myth: As long as you stay focused on your brand, your customers will find you.
Brand Fact: Always, always, always start with your customers. You have to figure out what it is that your customer needs and that’s where you start with your brand. You already know what your brand is going to be about but you need to tailor that brand idea to your customers needs and desires.
By building and focusing only on your brand you may be off the mark with your customers but, if you start with your customers and design your brand around them, you’ve set the foundation for a successful brand!
Brand Myth: Don’t worry about cost control measures when starting your brand; you need to spend what you need to spend.
Brand Fact: While a great deal of money needs to be spent when first launching a brand, without cost control measures and a clear idea or understanding of what needs to be spent and what needs to wait, you budget can get way out of hand.
Or researchers have found that a great number of brands begin under the burden of excess debt because there were no financial controls during the launching period. Be careful and lay out cost control measures at the beginning and stick to them!
Brand Myth: You don’t need a business plan when you launch a brand.
Brand Fact: Not having a business plan before you launch your brand is like launching a ship without a rudder.
Without a clear and precise goal, laid out on paper and directions on how to get there, it is so easy to get lost on the trip. Not only does a business plan set the goals for your brand but tells you step by step directions on how to get there!
If you do get lost, a business plan will help your brand get back on track.
Brand Myth: Find a slim niche market and design your brand to them.
Brand Fact: While we do agree that you should design your brand to your target market or one niche in your industry, our research has shown that people sometimes focus on too small of a niche market and miss the larger picture.
We’re all about laser focusing your brand on one specific segment but be sure not to cut yourself out of the larger segment. Brand yourself just don’t brand yourself out of business!
Brand Myth: No one takes time out of their busy day to watch the brand videos or even to look at your visuals.
Brand Fact: This is so untrue! Visuals and videos are the billboards to your brand.
In the past we’ve added a few videos to our site and we could literally see people stop to watch. The length of time people spent on our site increased dramatically. Not only did the length of time people spent on our site go up but we were able to get our brand across in a much more dynamic way.
Sometimes you just can’t get everything you want to get across about your brand with just words. Sometimes a dynamic video and some great visuals are the best way to go!
Brand Myth: It’s never a good idea to use acronyms as your brand name. No one understands what they are or what they mean, so why bother?
Brand Fact: The idea that acronyms make bad brand names is not true; not true at all. It’s especially NOT true if you can make a new and exciting word out of your initials.
We’re not saying that IBM is particularly exciting but, the Killer Panda team would take a bet that you love acronyms more than you think. Ever hear of a small agency called NASA?
I know about you but, we think NASA is a cool name. Did you know that NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration? We think SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) is a cool name. Maybe a more modern sounding name like Forex (Foreign Exchange) sounds better to you?
When it comes to acronyms you can play with the letters a little bit. You can include or not include the letters from “and” or “or” even “of.” You can also include more than the first letter of a name, the “For” of “Forex” is an example. It’s the first three letters of “Foreign.”
Acronyms can make for a killer brand name.
Brand Myth: Buying or creating a brand name for a business or product is very expensive.
Brand Fact: With a little bit of time and creativity, developing a brand name, be it for a product or any type of business, is not necessarily expensive at all. First off look at the great brands that are on this site, there are hundreds of brands ready to be built into something huge and most are under a thousand dollars.
Second, you can develop your own brand name. With some thought, inspiration and possibly a thesaurus, anyone can develop their own band name. The only cost there would be to purchase the exact match dot-com domain name and that’s only $7 if you develop it yourself.
Don’t believe anyone that tells you that it’s going to cost a lot of money to develop a great brand name for your business or product. Keep checking back to Killer Panda because we’ll be bring you great tips for developing a brand name weekly so keep checking back!
Brand Myth: The naming team at Killer Panda has helped name thousands of businesses around the globe – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. We can help you too.
Brand Fact: The naming team at Killer Panda has helped name thousands of businesses around the globe – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. We can help you too.