How to go from good to great branding

A crucial element of any business is the creation of a brand name by which people identify the service or product it provides. It’s also one of the very first things you have to think about when you start a business, and it’s something that will be stuck with your business for a long time.

Brand development is about delivering a consistent image that outshines your competition. Your marketplace is flooded with an infinite array of competitive choices.

How can today’s companies connect with purpose, build lasting relationships, and become irreplaceable in the eyes of consumers?

A strong brand shines brightest in the crowded marketplace. Your brand identity, marketing materials, and web presence should act as a beacon to attract consumers, build trust, and showcase your company’s value. The perception of your brand will ultimately determine the success of your company. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what your customer’s say it is.Your brand isn’t what you say it is.

Every exchange with your customers is an opportunity to shape this perception, make a connection, build trust, and strengthen customer loyalty.

Is your brand identity outshining the competition? What distinguishes great from good?

  •     Great brands strategically distinguish their product from competitors by conveying their unique positioning.
  •     Great brands hold appeal for the product’s customers.
  •     Great brands imply or evoke a salient brand attribute, quality or benefit.
  •     Great brands are available for legal protection and “trademark”.
  •     Great brands allow companies to bond and engage and connect with their customers to create loyalty.
  •     Great brands translate visually and memorably; they have a symbolic association that fortifies the image of the company or the product to their consumers.
  •     Great brands help motivate and stimulate customers to buy.

If you want them (the customers) to come, and you have a global business, or intend to, then be aware that while English is widely viewed as a global language, language differences have created some fascinating challenges for some brands.

Product naming faux pas

  •     Reebok named a women’s sneaker Incubus. In medieval folklore, an incubus was a demon who ravished women in their sleep.
  •     The Honda Fitta was, according to a popular urban legend, renamed Jazz after discovering that fitta is Norwegian and Swedish slang for the female genitals.
  •     Bimbo is a Mexican baking conglomerate; however in English the term describes a woman who is physically attractive but is perceived to have a low intelligence or poor education.

Always ask others what comes to mind when they hear your brand name. Be prepared to accept that all brand names will have strong and weak points, and you need to determine what matters most, as the business owner.
Tips for getting started

Use the word-map technique. Start with your business in the centre. Create branches out from the centre into immediate words that come to mind. Then branch and build upon these further, creating a word map. Include both words that describe what the business does, as well as how it, or the products, make people feel. Both are critical and can form the basis for a strong, relevant and memorable brand name.

Your choice needn’t always be a blatant line from positioning to the name, a little intrigue can also be good. Just keep in mind the resources needed to communicate and create memorability.

To ease your mind a little, during, and after, talk to mentors, employees, colleagues, suppliers and customers, and work through to a strong short list. Consider pairing descriptive words, or devising strong word combinations. If a clever acronym works, that’s an option to consider, but it can require more work and money to build and make known.

For ease, keep it simple. No more than two words is best. The more memorable, the easier to get word-of-mouth spread, therefore, the better.

Sometimes business owners are “clever”, and choose to use words that are not spelled out the way they sound. The risk: people may have difficulty searching for the company. For example, although “Xerox” has become an effective brand name that became synonymous with “photocopy“, it probably had some pronunciation issues when it first existed.

Brand name and logo go hand in hand. Visual underpins verbal. The connection between the name and the logo is significant to your branding, so it’s necessary to think of a name that affords you, or your designers, freedom in the creative designing of your logo. Many people believe that an “image” logo is stronger than a “word” logo, so it may be a good idea to consider a brand name that can be symbolised as an object or something.
But ultimately, it’s your business. So, the final choice is yours.

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