27 April 2006

It's time to name names!

Some more tips on selecting a brand name to follow on from my interview in today’s Herald-Sun (Business Owner section, p. 68):

1. Don’t agonise over finding the name that perfectly describes what you do or what you sell. In fact, you should avoid being obviously descriptive, because: (i) a name that is descriptive is very likely to be rejected for registration as a trade mark on the basis that it is not inherently capable of distinguishing the source of goods and (ii) your competitors will most likely be perfectly entitled to use very similar names.

2. Don’t try to be too clever. Distinctiveness and memorability are the two key characteristics you should pursue in a brand name. Names that are too smart or obscure will be more difficult for customers to remember, less likely to be passed on through word of mouth or just plain unappealing.

3. Choose a name that is suggestive - not in the Benny Hill sense - but a name to which suitable meanings and associations can easily be attached. For example, “Amazon.com” is not a name with any intrinsic link to books or online retailing, yet it is distinctive, easily remembered and readily acquired meaning and associations. It is also flexible enough to encompass a wide range of goods, not just books.

4. Think ahead. Where do you see the business going in one, two or five years’ time? Use your imagination! Consider whether you would want to use the same brand name (or a related name) for each of the additional goods or services you might launch. If so, the name you choose today should be both adaptable to new product lines and transferable to different categories and markets.

5. As you build your business, your brand will become your most important and valuable business asset, as it crystallises the value of the customer awareness, preference and relationships you have built over time. Hence, when it comes to selecting brand names and other identity elements, you should strongly consider consulting a marketing/brand identity consultant for specific strategic advice and a patent and trade mark attorney for legal and registration advice.

1 comment:

Diane Gaylard said...

Hi Stephen,
I read your article in the Herald Sun on Thursday 27 April with great interest. I, in choosing a name for my juice bar, chose without consideration to expanding my core business. I now offer home made soup, gluten free cookies, 98% fat free yoghurt, 90% fat free great aussie pies, internet site, massage chairs, tourist brochures etc. Wow, haven't I made a boo boo. However, I do add, "not just a juice bar" in any advertising I do.

If you are heading toward the Great Ocean Road, please call in and "juice up" at the zone, I would love to meet you, my shout! I'm in Waurn Ponds, a suburb of Geelong, near Subway and McDonalds, just down from the Apco servo.

Diane Gaylard.