A Brand Name Is More Than Just A Name


Did you know the first automobile was called the “horseless carriage”?

We did not yet know what a car really was about, it was too new. So we adopted a term that seemed close, the carriage, modified by the key thing that was being removed from this mode of transport, the horse. It was important to create the idea that these new vehicles were safe to use as the new alternative to a horse carriage. 

For advertisers determined to separate their brand from the competition, it’s important to understand that a brand represents a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service or company. In other words, your name says it all. 

If you choose to use propane rather than charcoal when you grill out I bet your familiar with the brand Blue Rhino, America’s #1 propane tank exchange company.

Rhinos don’t have much in common with propane tanks but when the founder Billy Prim applied his imagination to his new business venture, a new brand was born.

“In 1994, Billy went on a photo safari trip in South Africa. According to the book Rhino Tough, inspiration struck when Billy zoomed his camera in on a rhino.

“‘It’s a natural!’ he told his wife. ‘He’s tough, sturdy, and looks like a tank.’ And the propane flame, he said, would make a perfect rhino horn.” Adding the color blue — the color of a propane flame — brought it all together.”

Here’s a list of what some experts and myself believe about brand names:

  1. The best brand names are abstract: What does Verizon even mean? “Verizon” is a mashup of “veritas” (truth) and “horizon”. It is meant to invoke mental images of the wide open aether, reliability, honesty, and openness, certainty, and vision.
  2. Informative brand names emphasize what a business is about: Clay Creative is an advertising and marketing agency operated by the unique family partnership of Frank and Jessica Clay. We offer top creative solutions and create results in all multi-channel media from print to digital and social media.
  3. Coined names or made up brand names may be more memorable than names that use real words. Aka neologisms: brands such as Wii or Google.
There is an advertising phenomenon with certain brands that have become leaders in their respective categories. For example, when you have a boo-boo, you reach for a Band-Aid not a bandage. When you need to blow your nose, you ask for Kleenex not tissue. If you decide to look up something online, you Google instead of search for it.

Creating a name for yourself is the first stage in developing a new brand and it may be one of the most fun but yet complicated stages. Remember that your brand name is more than just a name. Brand names connect your audience to your products and may serve as their own language.

Leave us a comment about your favorite brand names. Were interested in your feedback.

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