What’s In A Challenger Brand Name?

December 3rd, 2014 Written by

In act two, scene two of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks the enduring question, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Lamenting the fact that Romeo’s family name is Montague prevents Juliet from following her heart and wondering if Romeo would be any different if his name were Smith, Jones or even Gumas. As Challenger Brand marketers, we think about this all the time.

Would Coca-Cola taste as good if it were called Caffeine-a-Cola? How about if Phil Knight named his company Pluton instead of Nike? Or Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak preferred Kumquat? Understanding the products would remain the same and just the names would change, would our expectations and perceptions change as well?

When Challenger Brands contemplate naming, whether as a start-up, brand extension or re-branding, they must consider the impact that the new name will have on current customers and prospects. Regardless of the product or industry, the brand name must acknowledge the preferences of the target consumer as well as communicate the exclusive emotional triggers associated with the brand. Successful Challenger Brand names clearly position the product amongst its competitors in a manner that highlights the unique attributes and personality of the brand.

The brand name, along with the accompanying marks and symbols, must be distinctive, proprietary and distinguish the brand amongst any competitors. Furthermore, when naming a brand you should consider the following:

  • The name should be treated as a promise – a testament to what the consumer can expect from the product and establish a connection of trust, confidence and loyalty with the purchaser.
  • The sound of the spoken name, regardless of meaning, is a significant consideration when naming a brand. Elegant and easy to pronounce will contribute to the product’s success.

Once you’ve identified appropriate name options, don’t forget to conduct a formal and legal search to affirm the name availabillity as well as potential URLs. As Champions of the Challenger Brand, we’re quite familiar with the naming process and invite you to contact us to learn more about what’s in a name.

Until next time….

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