What's really in a name

To say that names don’t matter is an oversight and certainly not the best marketing advice… but if you think about some of the biggest brand names in the world – are they even that great? What makes them a household name? When developing a new name and brand, how important is the actual name?

Firstly, I have to admit naming an organisation is not easy. Why? Because virtually all the names are taken! It’s not just about choosing a name and running with it – it has to be available to register, trademark and the .com or .com.au must also be available.

Clients often come to us with the predicament of needing a name and a brand developed, but it’s important that this is all dealt with in context and the name isn’t isolated from the way the brand looks and feels.

Recently, we had a client come to us for assistance with developing a name and a brand. They had already been through a lengthy brainstorming process and were unable to decide upon a name they liked. Jack in the box came in and started from the beginning, choosing a name the client had no idea about. With trust on their part and skill on ours, we developed and presented a name and brand that they loved. A couple of months later, the client advised the name we had chosen was on their initial list but they had not been interested in using it. A name presented in context made all the difference!

A couple of the examples we often use are the names ‘McDonald’s’ or ‘Coca Cola’. If someone wanted to start a burger chain and call it McDonald’s, what would you say to that? Billions of dollars in marketing later, it’s worked a treat! Both of those names have nothing to do with hamburgers or soft drinks, but the context makes them work.

Another issue we see so often is not allowing yourself flexibility in your organisation to sell or expand, even if it isn’t your initial intention – this is through using people’s names or surnames and geography in names. Think of a name like ‘Busselton Books’ – now would they really be able to expand into another town or city with that name?

So at the end of the day – does a name matter? Yes and no.

It matters when you’re a new organisation with no brand equity because people need to be able to remember it, relate it to the product and find it unique. But a name doesn’t have to act as a descriptor of your entire business and its services – that’s what branding and corporate style help to do.

It’s about the whole story – not just the name – that will get you where you need to be. For any advice from us, simply just call and we can start you on the process!

Check out some of the brands (and names in many cases) we have developed at Jack in the box.