What’s in a name? Turns out, a lot! Your brand isn’t just about the name you pick (which is also super important). Your brand includes many of the visual and experiential parts that give it an identity. Just like we discussed in last week’s post about brand resonance, this week, we are examining how important your brand truly is to consumers.
When people think of McDonald’s, they don’t just think of the logo and the food. They think about Happy Meals, Coca Cola, Ronald McDonald, red and yellow paired together, Golden Arches, “I’m lovin’ it!”, the biannual return of the McRib, etc. This is because McDonald’s has done a phenomenal job of creating a brand and not just a company with a fun logo.
So, what are the individual parts that make up a brand? Let’s dive in.
Your brand name is the first impression consumers will have. It’s something that they will either remember or forget, feel an emotional connection to or not. It is not as simple as picking a word that describes your product or market. It’s not something that should be selected without doing some basic research first. It should be carefully thought about and analyzed and scrutinized. Somethings you want to consider avoiding when naming your brand include cliches, being too long, being hard to pronounce, or having multiple meaning.
There is a trend/formula for brand names in Silicon Valley in corporate settings where SaaS organizations are combining two words into one but using capitalization to provide differentiation: MailChimp, HubSpot, BambooHR (to name a few). This formula works because it emphasizes the words without being too long or cumbersome.
Your name is such a strong part of your brand’s identity, so make sure it conveys the message you want consumers to receive.
LOGOS & SYMBOLS
I played an internet game a little while back that I thought was quite entertaining. It was a card with a logo on it, and you had to guess the company based on that logo, and decide if the logo was the actual logo, or if something had been altered. I was quite good at guessing the logos (admittedly, it was harder to define if the logo was actually correct). Still, this tells the story of brand exposure and resonance by way of a distinct logo to represent your brand. It should be simple, eye-catching, and attractive.
You also want to make sure you are trademarking these logos to ensure you are legally protected with them. This should include any version of your logo, including different fonts and colors as well.
Characters aren’t always used with brands, but they are effective in giving your brand an identity. The insurance industry has done a great job of creating personas for their advertising. We all know Flo from Progressive, Mayhem from All State, the Geico lizard, and the “We know a thing or two” guy from Farmer’s. This personification of a business puts a face to your brand name, and the consistent use of them in multiple mediums of advertising creates a passive relationship between consumers and these characters.
When deciding to use a brand character, be sure to make them updateable over-time. An animated lizard is great because they won’t demand more money or have scheduling conflicts for filming.
Do you ever wonder why you can’t recall facts you studied in anticipation of an exam, but you can remember the words to a song you haven’t heard in ten years? Our brand does a fantastic job or recalling information through song, and jingles for your brand do the same thing. The best jingles have catchy hooks and make emotional connections to the product. A few examples of good brand jingles include KitKat’s “Give me a Break” and the always-fun jingle for “Oscar Mayer”.
I’d argue that outside of the brand name, this is the most important. I recently ordered an expensive pair of jeans owned by a celebrity, and when they arrived, they came in a simple plastic mailer bag. There was no “thank you” note, tissue paper, or ribbons. It was just in the factory bag. This was really disappointing because the jeans were the most expensive I have ever purchased. I expected a little more effort would have been put into them. I have gotten much cheaper products mailed to me in much better packaging, and I recall feeling so important and excited for that kind of treatment.
Packing can also vary based on the items themselves. For example, for food items, you could decide if you want the packaging to be functional. Do you want the packaging to help with storage or consumption? This is definitely something to look at.
Wrap it up
Regardless of what you choose for your brand’s name or logo or jingle or anything else, make sure you have put a good amount of research and thought into it. Try to find a competitor who may have a similar name, or make sure it isn’t offensive when translated to another language. Support businesses that help you create this branding suite while taking into consideration everything that could make your brand memorable. The ultimate goal is consumer resonance, so making sure that your brand does that is the goal.