Retail Observer

September 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM SEPTEMBER 2021 46 Steven Morris On Brand I 've led a handful of brand naming projects over the last year – they've included naming or renaming three corporations, two names for new multi-billion-dollar projects, and a few new product names. Regardless of their size, scope, industry, audience or subject matter, the journey to create a great brand name is paved with similar obstacles and opportunities. WHAT'S IN A NAME? Great brand naming is like bridge building. It connects meaning and clarity where unfamiliarity exists. A great brand name expresses the essence of the company, product, service or project. It reaches people on emotional and intellectual levels. A great brand name helps audiences get it, understand it, connect with it, and feel it. The power of a great name has much to do with what expert brand strategists do: capture and communicate the essence of the brand. Part of my work is to synthesize the spirit of complex ideas and distill them down into their single-malt essence, then communicate it with audiences. BORROWING FROM HOLLYWOOD In Hollywood, the movie story-pitch is a well-known event. When a producer, director or writer is pitching a new movie concept to a studio, they tend to pitch it with contextual fusions. This is the combination of two or more familiar things fused together in a new idea. Here's an example. "This movie is a fusion of Blazing Saddles and The Godfather. It's a comedy with all the suspense of the mafia, and it's filled with hilarious, sometimes dangerous, and crazy characters. Heck, we even have Joe Pesci!" (For those who don't know, Pesci is beloved for doing great comedy like My Cousin Vinny and mafia movies like Goodfellas. He packs a lot of meaning in his "brand" name.) You can probably imagine a movie like that – I'm surprised no one has made it. But let me get back to the point. Crafting a great brand name isn't easy, especially these days. There are many attributes to consider: • Trademark-ability and Defend-ability: the extent to which you can own and protect the name. • Uniqueness: the extent to which you can stand out in a field of competitors. • Relevance to customers, industry and company: the extent to which your name connects with your audience. • Securing a URL: ideally, a .com URL that you can claim online. • Category position: how your brand name stacks up in your category. • Historical context: how your brand name is tethered to history and your company's own history. • Name definitions and unintended definitions: many words carry various meanings to different cultures. • Foreign language translation: remember the Chevy Nova? In Spanish "nova" means "doesn't go." • Emotional context: how your brand name feels when read, spoken or heard. • Say-ability to all audiences: the extent to which your brand name is easily pronounced or mis-pronounced. • Search-ability: the extent to which you can claim or earn a high search ranking. • Memorability: the extent to which your name is easily remembered. • Longevity: the extent to which your brand name transcends passing fads. The above list is just the tip of your naming iceberg. Your own naming criteria list might include how the name connects to your culture and your current brand perception. And if you're doing product naming or brand name extensions, you'll also want to consider how your family of brand names creates cohesion or potential confusion for your internal and external stakeholders. A great brand name can capture the essence of an idea, product, service or company. It can distill the brand name into something that is memorable, has lasting impact, conjures emotion, inspires an audience and bridges the essence of the brand for all audiences to grasp. This transforms an abstract idea into a concrete and lasting bond. A great brand name transcends a word or term and speaks to all of the audience's senses. A great brand name builds meaning and trust. If you can do naming well, your audience will feel connected to the brand before they even know your company, product, service, or project. Do this and your brand will stand a much better chance of thriving in the market. HOW JOE PESCI HELPS BRAND NAMING How great brand names build bridges Steven Morris is a brand, culture and leadership advisor, author, and speaker. Over his 25+ years in business he's worked with 3,000+ business leaders at 250+ global and regional companies. Discover: RO

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