THE BRAND NAME GAME


What is in a brand name that makes it special? Can it really make a difference? Or are there other factors that determine the success of a brand, like extensive advertising campaigns?
Let’s face it, with enough TV spots, we can make the name “Humperdink Hamburgers” work for the name of a restaurant, right? Probably. But a GREAT name will work even better — especially when TV or mass media is not a likely option. B2B companies and their products are rarely seen on TV. 
MARKET REALITY
A brand name must stand out in the market and environment in which it competes. And each market has unique challenges. 
A great brand name may be even MORE important to some B2B companies than consumer product companies. B2B companies often need to make an impression fast — with trade show booths, sales materials, direct mail, trade ads and so forth. Message repetition may only happen each month. 
So every edge you can find helps — including the brand name.


NAMES THAT LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG
When you enter an existing market with a brand new product, the product needs to look like it belongs. We were in that situation with our client Northern States Metals (NSM). 
NSM created a new product for the solar market. And we wanted to make sure the product looked and sounded right for that market. We named it “Solar FlexRack,” since it is used for solar arrays and flexes open at the job site. 
Solar FlexRack started with zero sales two years ago. Today it is number two in the international market. That’s progress.
Fastener Technology of Akron sells nuts, bolts and other connections. The owner determined that solar panel theft is a big deal now. She saw this problem as an opportunity and created a locking bolt that securely attaches the solar panel to the rack and makes it next to impossible to remove panels. 
We named her new product the “PVSecurityBolt.” “PV” is the abbreviation for the solar industry term “photovoltaic,” which describes solar panels more accurately. The rest of the name accurately describes what the product is.
The name PVSecurityBolt, like “Solar FlexRack,” catches attention and piques interest at a glance. No media are needed to “create” a buzz when the name instantly creates one.
CONVEYING A BENEFIT
When developing a product name, consider using a benefit. 
You notice that’s what we did with both products just mentioned. 
For example, for the Solar FlexRack brand, we conveyed a key feature — it flexes open. That’s important because it arrives on location assembled. Other racks need assembly in the field.
Now, if you manufacture suppositories you may want to give it a brand name with focus on a different benefit other than how (or where) you use them.
WHEN TO REBRAND (CHANGE YOUR NAME)
Not all brand names start from scratch. Sometimes we REBRAND companies, organizations and products to be more “consumer friendly.” 
For example, most people in the Valley are familiar with THE GREEN TEAM. But before Farris Marketing rebranded it, the agency used its legal name in all it’s communications.
Why change it? Well, is it easier to promote recycling as The Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District — or as THE GREEN TEAM?

That, my friends, is a rhetorical question. Bottom line, rebranding works for many organizations.
HOW IMPORTANT?
In the final analysis, if your message and product are strong, and you have a substantial media budget, you won’t go under because the brand name is not great.
But if you get the chance to create a strong brand name from the beginning or to rebrand a name later, and you can follow the keys I suggested earlier — you’ll be much further along. 
A good name is good but a great name is better. If you win the “name game,” you have a good start on winning it all.
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About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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