5 Myths of Brand Naming

After the 5 Tips on Brand Naming, here is an interesting post of Steve Rivkin is the co-author of The Making of a Name : The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy on 5 Myths of Brand Naming:

Myth #1: Size doesn’t matter.
Yes, it does. Shorter is better in everything from memorability to packaging.

Myth #2: There are no words left to steal from the dictionary.
Not true. Your speaking vocabulary may only be 30,000 words, but a hefty dictionary will yield 750,000 words

Myth #3: Coining a new word is easy.
But the trick is to create a new name that is meaningful, impactful and starts the positioning process for the brand or company.

Myth #4: Manufactured names are all the same.
A made-up name might be a simple fusion of two easily recognized words, it might be an altered form of a recognizable word or it might be a foreign word that some people would recognize

Myth #5: Customers will take our name literally.
Good names are suggestive. They are bundles of possible meanings. They are not contractual commitments.

Read the full 5 Myths about Brand Names

Dollar Value of Brand Equity

Brand equity is that incremental value that accrues to a product when it is branded. Simple brand awareness is one source of brand equity. If you can get your name to pop up in people’s minds when they think of the product category, you’ve won a big part of the battle.

[There are] two other sources of brand equity: a consumer’s perception that a brand is better than it really is (“attribute-based” equity), and nonattribute-based equity, for instance, a consumer’s preference for a brand based on the cachet of owning it. If you’re successful in these three aspects, an added benefit is that stores will feel a customer pull to carry your product, and so your availability and hence sales will increase.

Simple awareness ”getting the brand’s name to pop up in consumers’ minds”generates the largest return, followed by consumers’ responding to the cachet of owning the brand (nonattribute-based equity). Attribute-based equity trails in third place. This means that a brand’s image provides a stronger incentive for buying even than the perception that it is a better product. But greater awareness of your brand is the major component driving brand equity.

These are some extracts out of an interesting study with the title Calculating the Dollar Value of Brand Equity made by V.Seenu Srinivasan Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business along with Chan Su Park of Korea University Business School and Dae Ryun Chang Yonsei Business School. Read more about the study here.

Most Popular Brands With Teens Worldwide

Teens are mostly influenced by the culture of brands. Once dominant, U.S. labels now account for just half of the 10 brands that are favorites among teens globally, based on a new study entitled “GenWorld,” conducted by Energy/BBDO and obtained exclusively by WWD. That’s down from the eight U.S. brands that made teens’ top 10 in 1995, when Chip Walker, executive vice president at Energy/BBDO, last did comparable research on teens, for the former agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Branding experts differ on the chief causes of the apparent loyalty shift. They cite factors that range from deft, low-key marketing and product innovation by firms to a political pushback by young consumers. Smart brands win teen market share by allowing teens to be part of a brand “story,” experts say. Mr. Walker names the global teen “passion points” as music, media, sports, and communication.

Still, not all experts see country of origin as an issue with teens. Some doubt whether many US teens could name Adidas’s home base.

“For today’s teens, online buzz is king, and peers hold the most sway. What applies to young people is ‘Did it break? And did my friends say it was cool?’ [It’s an] opinion process that goes on through IMs and text-messaging, and it applies to everything from movies to cargo pants.”

says Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group who has worked with the trend-watcher firm Intellisponse on its annual surveys of what (primarily US) teens want.

10 Most Popular Brands With Teens Worldwide

Favorite Brand 2005
Favorite Brand 1995

If you want to read full Energy BBDO release on the study here is the PDF file (85 kB).

Hiring a Branding Company – 5 Tips

1. Know your needs and have an idea about how you’d like them met.
2. Go ahead, be a fan. If you admire the branding efforts of a certain company, call around and find out who did the work.
3. Go with a referral, not a blind hire. Canvass your contacts. This is always better than hiring someone with no frame of common reference. I
4. Throw a few companies a bone & see what they do with it. Give them a general question or problem scenario. See how responsive they are and how much time it appears they put into crafting their response.
5. Money isn’t taboo. Once you’ve found a company you’d like to work with, discuss it from the outset. It’s better to agree on financial terms from the start than for either of you to be in a precarious position somewhere down the line.

Loyalty, Love and Personal Branding

Excellent article of William Arruda over at MarketingProfs.com:

When building your personal brand, you need to have a sturdy brand foundation of rational brand attributes. Those attributes illustrate your competence and make you credible. Even the most lovable among us won’t get too far without being able to demonstrate results.

But when building your personal brand, emotion is an essential component that will help you create greater loyalty among your various constituencies.

As a “careerist” you can build loyalty beyond reason with your employer, peers, managers, and among all those people who need to know about you so that you can reach your career goals. To do this, you must be keenly aware of your brand attributes, how others perceive you. What is your combination of rational and emotional brand attributes? What makes you lovable?

Here are five tips for inspiring loyalty beyond reason:

  1. Take inventory of your personal brand attributes (rational and emotional).
  2. Get external input on your brand attributes. This will help you validate your self-assessment and provide insights into how you are currently perceived. You can’t change perceptions if you don’t know what they are.
  3. Decide which attributes (that are authentic to you) are relevant and compelling to your target audience and are differentiating from those of your peers.
  4. Live in the inquiry. Ask yourself how you can inject more of these brand attributes into everything you do-every report you author, every email you write, every telephone conversation you have.
  5. Assess. Ask for feedback. Measure results. Are you being perceived more consistently? Are you more fulfilled? Are you more successful? More loved?

Read full article here.

New Global Brand Valuation Study

Despite its dominance, Interbrand/BusinessWeek global brand league table has inherent weaknesses. This is not news to anyone who works in branding: most marketers accept that the Top 100 is an imprecise but important approximation of global brand equity.

But all this is about to change. Next month global agency group WPP will launch an alternative brand valuation league table that will directly challenge Interbrand’s calculations. The system has been masterminded by chief research officer Andy Farr and his marketing quant jocks at Millward Brown Optimor (MBO).

Here are some insights into this soon to be revealed WPP study:

  • WPP’s annual Brandz survey questions more than 650,000 consumers and professionals in 31 countries.
  • The results are analysed to create a combined diagnostic and predictive tool that evaluates the strength and growth potential of brands.
  • Respondents are asked to compare more than 21,000 brands in 300 categories from sectors including long purchase-cycle brands, FMCG, retail and e-commerce and services.
  • Each respondent is asked to evaluate brands in a competitive context from a category they shop in.
  • Their responses generate scores for levels of bonding with a brand, its advantage over rival brands, brand performance and relevance to consumer needs.
  • Consumer loyalty and claimed purchasing data are used to generate a ‘brand voltage’ score, indicating the brand’s potential.

More here

Branding as an Emotional Process

An interesting article in KioskMarketplace on the importance of branding in self-service:

Most consumers are unaware of the careful planning that goes into the design, packaging and marketing of the products and services they enjoy. Most of them don’t know why they feel comfortable when they walk into a Starbucks; they just know that they do.

This non-tangible, hard-to-quantify relationship between consumers and the products and services they buy is at the core of a successful business.

“(A brand is) primarily an emotional process of engagement. Branding is about 95 percent emotional, and a large part of that 95 percent is at an unconscious level.”

That’s a tough pill to swallow for those who would like to believe it is their product, or their hard work, that should get the credit for success.

I was tempted to agree with the 95/5 percentage, but on a second thought, I don’t think that a bad product/service will make it on a long run just based on its emotional affiliates unless emotion is the need the product adresses. I would rather say the 95% “emotional choice” is rather affecting the choice between two extremely similar products, say Coke vs. Pepsi for example, or as Ms.Janelle Barlow, Ph.D put it in the artlcle mentioned before:

The functionality of your devices — pretty similar, right? So the question is, what’s different? That’s really your strength. Inside an industry, functionality is really not going to be that different.


Branding News Roundup – 02/13/06

Maslow and Branding: Esteem

So yes, this really is all about ego. We don’t like to admit that we need our ego stroked, that we want to be recognized and feel important. But hey, it’s a fact AND it’s a huge motivator for purchase (like L’Oreal’s tag line: “It’s more expensive, but I’m worth it.”) Obviously all fashion, cosmetics, car companies, etc. are playing on Esteem, but as you can see from the above examples, any company can meet this need.


When re-branding ourselves – our organizations – we are making a declaration to be free of attachment to the comfort of the known. Free of the comfort of the predictable. We as organisms – be we individuals or organizations – seek stasis; predictability; comfort. The great trap of the human condition is a striving for comfort. As managers we organize work processes to gain as much predictability as possible. We become slaves to our forecasts and plans.

Coloring Your Brand Perception

Brands are defined by the perceptions and experiences that someone has with a company product or service, what it looks like, what it sounds like and how it acts. One element in shaping an image is the use of color. Although color alone does not establish your brand it is one element that effects consumers emotions, behaviors and perceptions in relation to your company, product or service. In designing it is important to pick the right colors for the right effect to help reinforce the brand. A good place to start is to recognize the product or service being advertised, the target market, and the desired reaction and response of the consumer.

Olympic strategy key to branding gold

How companies try to get the most from the Games is a sport all in itself. While some companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars for rights to the rings, marketers say there’s more than one way to play the sponsorship game around the Olympics.

8 Laws of Personal Branding

Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. Here is a list of 8 laws that should help you will create an effective – and lucrative – personal brand:

1. Specialisation: A great personal brand must be precise, concentrated on a single core strength, talent or achievement.

2. Leadership: Endowing a personal brand with authority and credibility demands that the source be perceived as a leader by people in his/her domain or sphere of influence.

3. Personality: A great personal brand must be built on a foundation of the source’s true personality, flaws and all.

4. Distinctiveness: An effective personal brand needs to be expressed in a way that is different from the competition.

5. Visibility: To be successful, a personal brand must be seen over and over again, until it imprints itself on the consciousness of its domain or sphere of influence.

6. Unity: The private person behind a personal brand must adhere to the moral and behavioural code set down by that brand. Private conduct must mirror the public brand.

7. Persistence: Any personal brand takes time to grow, and while you can accelerate the process, you can’t replace it with advertising or public relations.

8. Goodwill: A personal brand will produce better results and endure longer if the person behind it is perceived in a positive way.