Why should you be branding instead of naming a product?

Are you tossing up between branding your product and simply naming it? When you’re looking to name your product, create a tagline and move forward into the market, there is a lot to consider. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s just “let’s name it this, write a tagline and BAM- we’re done!”

Trouble is, just building a name and a tagline means if you change something, need to refresh your customer focus or even if you find that you’ve fallen out of love with one or both over time, you won’t have strong enough elements to carry through major changes.

If you want your product name and tagline to work in favour (not in detriment) to your marketing, what you’re really looking to do is develop a brand identity. That brand identity is your safety net against the tests of time. It also sends a message to consumers you are serious about your place in the marketplace, you want to be a big player, and that you have more invested in your marketing than simply a catchy name, tagline and a logo.


Be smart: Approach naming as branding

I’ve been in situations where professionals (especially writers) think I’m making the process a little over complicated and creating work for myself. However, approaching naming and tagline development from a branding perspective isn’t a case of overworking it, more ensuring I don’t make an error that will come back to haunt for my client later.

For example, Mitsubishi could have done without releasing “the wanker” to South America and Spain (Pajero means wanker in Spanish).

Pepsi AM may have been there to appeal to people who drank Pepsi for breakfast however marketing to this group and getting them to admit it was an entirely different story.

Cristal champagne’s managing director didn’t really appreciate the hip hop crowd drinking their booze however admitting they had attracted the wrong customer base while those guys were paying the bills was a mistake.

And do you really want to be a company that has to face legal action, pull your stock off the shelves or change your brand when a big international company wants your brand off their IP turf?

While these are pretty big examples, the same problems can happen with small businesses. Every time you reach out in a visual or written perspective to people as a company, you are asking for them to respond to you. Knowing the who, what, where and why of that journey begins with creating strong branding building blocks for your new venture.


Creating a brand identity includes several key elements:

  • The name
  • The tagline
  • The font or typeface
  • The umbrella brand that represents the company
  • Each product line and how they fit into that umbrella
  • The messages you need to communicate to your consumers
  • The logo and the visual feel


Beyond this, you’ll probably include things like the tone you’ll use in your copy, the style you’ll use for your photographs, charts and other visual assets, and even go through a process of building a style guide that sets the parameters of how you brand is treated when it’s out mingling and mixing it up in advertising and marketing.

The stronger your development in the early stages and your ability to create an entire brand as opposed to just a name or just a tag gives you a much stronger platform, too.

Look at KFC as an example. Friend food and the associations became a problem for the company. But because they had a strong brand image, strong use of font, colour and a flexible tag, they could change their name without throwing out the whole brand. If they’d relied on a name and a tagline without the story of the Colonel, the 11 secret herbs and spices, the colours or the bucket, they’d have had a much tougher time transitioning.


What’s with the branding blogs?

Branding is a little secretive and a lot harder to uncover unless you’ve got the training or are reading the right books. So over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be popping up blogs about branding and how you can develop something strong, future proof and likeable for your business or startup.

It’s a good time for me to write it all out as I go through the process with a new client with a yummy range of organic foods she wants to put out into the market as it will keep me in the zone, but it’ll also help to anticipate any questions my client may have (in other words, feel free to leave yours in the comments!).

Branding is something I love working on, so being able to share that with you will either be really fun, or betray my completely nerdy side. Who knows, it may do both and encourage the same in you.

Stay tuned for the next installment What does it take to develop a brand?”



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