8.9. Brand Names
When a new product has been developed, the producer will usually give it a brand name. A brand name is a term, symbol or design that distinguishes one seller's product from its competitors. The strategic considerations for brand naming are as follows:
- Marketing objectives. The brand name should fit the overall marketing objectives of the firm: for example, a firm intending to enter the youth market will need to develop brand names that appeal to a young audience.
- Brand audit. An estimate of the internal and external forces such as critical success factor (also known as the unique selling proposition).
- Brand objectives. As with the marketing objectives, the overall intentions about the brand need to be specified.
- Brand strategy alternatives. The other ways of achieving the brand’s objectives, and the other factors involved in its success, have a bearing on the choice of brand name.
Brand names can be protected in most countries by registration, but there is some protection for brands in that it is illegal to try to ‘pass off’ a product as being a branded one when it is not. For example, using a very similar brand name to a famous brand, or even using similar package design, could be regarded as passing off. This is a civil offence, not a criminal one, so it is up to the offended brand owner to take legal action. Ries suggests that brand names should have some, or all, of the following characteristics:
- They should shock, i.e. catch the customer's attention. French Connection UK use their FCUK acronym for this purpose.
- They should be alliterative: this helps them to be memorable. For example, West’n’Welsh double-glazing is a more memorable name than BJ double glazing.
- They should connect to the product's positioning in the consumer's perceptual map. UK biscuit brand Hob Nobs conveys an image of a warm kitchen (the hob) with friendliness (hob-nobbing).
- They should link to a visual image: again, this helps the memorability. Timberland outdoor clothing conjures a visual image of mountain country.
- They should communicate something about the product, or be capable of being used to communicate about the product. Duracell conveys the main advantage of the batteries – they are durable.
- They should encourage the development of a nickname (for example, Bud for Budweiser Beer).
- They should be telephone and directory-friendly. Words often seem muffled on the telephone, so that ‘Bud’ becomes ‘Mud’.
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