What do Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Avis, Levis, and Cheerios have in common? They're all brand names—and more than likely, these brand names are familiar to you, your family, and your friends. Some of you may even be loyal fans of one or more of these brands.
In its simplest form, a brand is a name attached to a product or service. And, it's as much about human behavior as anything else because brand names also represent the intangible, a set of perceptions and feelings about a product or service, or even a set of values. Building a brand name is one of the most important marketing tools a business—big or small--can have and in fact, building a recognizable brand often determines whether a product or service will succeed or fail. But brand names just don't materialize and become household words overnight. It takes time and a quality product or service to build brand identity, and that includes a brand name.
Building Brand Identity
The process of building a brand name or creating an identity for a product or service is not complicated, but it is challenging. There are three simple steps to building a brand; choosing a name, developing a slogan, and designing a logo or symbol. The challenge lies in finding just the right name, slogan, and logo to inspire recognition, confidence, quality, and eventually customer loyalty to a product or service.
A brand name should be no more than one to three words at most. It should be easy to remember, uncomplicated, and easily associated with the product, for example Sun In, a hair care product that lightens hair color when you're in the sun. A brand name should reflect your target market and what your product is all about.
A slogan is a short, catchy phrase that in two to three words lets people know why they should buy the product or, what the product can do for them. It should evoke positive feelings and confidence in the brand and reflect the brand's personality.
Logos are powerful symbols as long as they are used consistently and as often as possible. Like the slogan and the name, the logo should represent what the product is all about. It can be as simple or complex as you want, as long as it is easily recognized and identified with that specific product.
Name recognition is the name of the game when building a brand name or identity. A brand name or identity should be distinctive, standing out in the crowd that is otherwise known as "the competition". Develop a single overall "look" with your own color scheme, fonts, logos, and jingle and use it on letterhead, invoices, advertisements, email signatures, and business cards.
Once you've decided on your brand name resist the temptation to change or update it. As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Last but not least, don't forget to register your brand name as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. After all your hard work, you wouldn't want someone else taking your brand name and using it for their own now would you?
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