Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What's in a Name?

Your name speaks volumes about your brand's personality.

Brand names can be descriptive ("Toys 'R' Us"), abstract ("Aloxi") or evocative ("Uber").

Rational brand names ("IBM") appeal to our inner accountant. 

But brand names can also pack emotional punch—positive or negative—as wordsmith Nancy Friedman says.

Friedman lumps emotionally charged names into six categories:

Old words. The right Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman or Norse word "makes us feel warm and welcomed," Friedman says. "Kindle" is an example. "Many successful brand names draw on this old-word resonance to soften a new idea."

Sense words. "Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are direct routes to an emotional response," Friedman says. "Bevel," for example, names a brand of men's shaving supplies.

Nature words. A name plucked from nature "inspires and soothes, challenges and restores." "Sequoia" names a venture capital firm.

Art words. The language of the arts "can remind us of pleasurable, even transcendent experiences." "Allegra" is a prime example.

Adventure words. Pirate a word from an adventure tale and you'll stir feelings of excitement and exoticism. "Mandalay Bay" is an example.

Personal names. Real and fictional people's names can evoke "friendliness and reassurance." "Lynda" names an e-learning company.

Consider your band name carefully, but don't tear out your hair over the choice.

Remember the words of W.C. Fields“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.”
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