A brand identity is how an organization wants its name, communication style, logo or mark, and other visual elements to be perceived by consumers. The components of the brand are created by the organization and as a result, brand identity reflects the way an organization wants consumers to perceive its brands. It does not necessarily reflect how the brand is actually perceived by current and potential customers.
The brand identity should:
- Meet the purpose and objectives of the organization.
- Meet the needs of the target market for the brand.
- Define key brand characteristics to be communicated.
- Highlight the benefits of the products or services associated with the brand.
Some organizations start this process by completing a creative brief with details such as the organization’s vision, its target audience, the objectives of the brand identity and its key thought or idea. Some marketers use mood boards in addition to creative briefs. A mood board is a collection of images, materials and text that depict the brand concept. These tools help them define the brand identity and adjust it for new markets, if needed. Examples of creative briefs can be found online.
Stand out from the crowd with a memorable brand name
The brand name provides potential international customers with information about the service or product, and can help them form an immediate impression about the organization. When a brand name is carefully selected, it distinguishes an organization’s service or product from a competitor’s. As well, it can send out a strong message about the organization’s marketing position or corporate personality.
Ideally, a brand name should be:
- Short and simple
- Easy to spell, pronounce and remember
- Pronounceable in only one way
- Indicative of the benefits of the product or service
- Easy to adapt to packaging and labelling requirements or to any form of advertising
- Non-offensive or negative
- Unlikely to become dated
- Legally available for use
International organizations take a variety of approaches to finding the right brand name. One approach is to simply invent a new word. Consider Kodak. Invented by founder George Eastman, the name Kodak (a word without a meaning) was deemed to be easy to pronounce and was non-offensive in the organization’s target markets.
Another strategy is to use a name that can be easily translated into different languages, such as Mr. Clean. Around the world, the iconic Mr. Clean character is known as Maestro Limpio (Mexico), Monsieur Propre (France) and many others.
The stakeholders involved in selecting the international brand name would benefit from the insights and guidance of individuals who are fluent in the international market’s language and culture. The steps typically taken to select a brand name are listed and described below.
Similar processes could be used to select an appropriate international logo, slogan, colours, numbers and imagery.
1. Research brand names in use
Know which brand names are currently being used in its target foreign market and evaluate the effectiveness of these brand names.
2. Identify three to five product or service characteristics
Determine how the product or service should be represented to the target market. Pinpoint the traits of the product or service that distinguish it from competitors’ and that would help convince consumers to purchase it over the competition.
3. Identify three to five organizational characteristics
Determine how the organization itself should be represented to the target market. Identify the personality traits of the organization (e.g. efficient, unique and supportive) that would resonate with the target audience.
4. Create buzz words
Using the characteristics derived from steps two and three, create a list of all the words and phrases that can be associated with each characteristic or personality trait. If the brand name should incorporate the type of product or service being offered, make sure that the words and phrases on the list correspond with the nature of the offering.
5. Envision the brand name
Consider how the list of words and phrases generated would look if featured on a billboard sign or on the product’s packaging. Include possible graphic images and print typefaces for enhancing the appearance of these phrases. It might help to consider how these names would sound when spoken. Throughout this process, it will become easier to reduce the list of words and phrases down to only the most effective and captivating.
6. Test possible brand names
Once the list is reduced to 10-15 names, test the reactions to these names through focus groups or surveys of potential customers.
7. Check for availability of use
Once a few top brand names have been selected, check whether these names are available for use or are already being used by another organization. The way to do this is through a trademark search. For a fee, advertising or marketing firms, or certain attorneys, can conduct this type of research. Another option is to submit a formal request for a trademark or service mark, and wait to see whether it is approved.