Building a Brand Name: Learn from the Leaders
posted on 14th May 2018 by Lorna McWeeney
One of the earliest decisions you make when establishing your brand is an obvious one: the name! It’s such a basic ingredient of your business that it’s easy to overlook the full potential of an effective name. Conversely, a poor name will do your company no favours and may cost you down the line. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from the brand names of some familiar companies.
In 1931 Cabra-based pharmacist Thomas Smith created every Mammy’s favourite all-healing cream that he called, quite simply, ”Soothing Cream.” As time passed Dublin people’s mispronunciation of the name came to light and the company responded. In 1950 Soothing Cream became Sudocrem. Our first lesson: Your customer should be at the heart of your business. The result for Sudocrem was that they have a truly original brand name that’s a nod to it’s Dublin heritage.
(The irony here is that we all still mispronounce it – you say Sudo-cream, don’t you?)
In 1949, the first unsuspecting bare foot stomped on a tiny plastic brick as we welcomed a Danish toy manufacturer into our hearts and our homes. The name known the world over – ‘Lego’ – is a snappy combination of the Danish phrase leg godt, which translates to “play well.” Lego also means “I put together” in Latin. With so many characteristics of a good name so it’s no surprise that it has lasted all these years: It’s memorable, easy to say, has a story behind it and it works internationally. The lesson here: Keep your brand name simple yet clever.
URL availability and copyright issues are some of the main stumbling blocks faced when developing a company name. One simple way to eschew such problems is to invent your own! That’s what Reuben and Rose Mattus did when they established everyone’s second favourite ice cream brand, Häagen-Dazs, in New York. The clever pair not only came up an original name, they gave their American brand an exotic twist by implying a European influence. The lesson here: Your brandname is great opportunity to add value to your business.
No matter how good your business name is, the day may come when you find your business has outgrown it. In one of Ireland’s biggest ever rebrands, Eircom splurged €16m to emerge simply as Eir. Eir was a rejuvenation that seemed so simple that it could be (and was) accused of being redundant – afterall, they just removed the last three letters! In this instance however, the beauty is in the simplicity. The brand evolved & modernised without losing the well-established DNA of the brandname. It straddles the familiar and the fresh. The homonym properties (air!) of the new name are worth mentioning, an element that was cleverly capitalised upon across Eir’s 5m advertising campaign. The lesson here: Allow your brand name to evolve with your company.
Lorna Mc Weeney | Junior Packaging Designer
Lorna is a Junior Packaging Designer with Neworld Associates, a brand agency with over 30 years experience. We immerse ourselves in your industry, your customers, your competitors and your business goals to create design solutions that will guarantee to boost your bottom line.