Brand Names

Have you ever thought of why did your parents give you a name. Or if you and your brother never had a name. How difficult it would have been for the teacher to call you or your friend when you don’t have any name.

Same is the case with the products. If you go to the market to purchase soap how would you let the shopkeeper know that you need Pears or Lux had their parent companies not named them, as both are soaps?

Why to Create a New Brand Name

The brand name puts a face on every company. Names like McDonald’s,, GM, Apple, Intel, and a host of others have long become significant members of pop culture vocabulary. They’ve also given consumers a point of reference when thinking about a company.

Many of us don’t realize that companies often spend millions of rupees coming up with their names. They hire experts, conduct research, and test the market before making a decision.

A Strategic Approach to Naming Brands

When looking at the way companies select brand names, many appear to follow a process of generating names and then assessing these against pre-determined criteria. For example, with the opportunities presented by the opening of European markets, the following stages of questioning are usual in brand name selection:

First, in which geographical markets does the firm intend its brand to compete? The decision becomes, if for no other reason than the pronounce ability of the name. For example, in 1988 Whirlpool, the American white goods manufacturer, acquired 53 percent of Philips’ home appliances business and are obliged by the agreement to phase out the Philips brand name by 1998. A dual brand name policy is currently being run, raising consumers’ awareness of Whirlpool across Europe. However, in France Whirlpool is an extremely difficult name to pronounce.

Secondly, even if the consumer can pronounce a name, the next question would focus on any other meanings or associations the name might have in different countries.

Thirdly, if these issues do not raise problems, the next problems is whether the brand name is available for use on an international basis and whether it can be protected. A major cosmetics house had to reschedule the launch of one of its brands since the legal aspects of the pan-European brand name search revealed that the original name was already being used by a distant competitor in one part of Europe.

Whilst the approach described has the strength of chiding the name against a set of criteria, its weakness is that its tactical orientation doesn’t relate the brand name to the wider company objectives that the brand is attempting to satisfy. A better way of developing the brand’s name would be to follow the flow chart in Figure

What little has been published about the way firms select brand names shows that few follow a systematic process. The scheme developed in Figure builds on best current practice.

What are the characteristics of Good Brand Names?

Firms usually don’t have a lot of time to inform customers about their name, so skillful firms create names that are easy to learn and remember.

So, what makes a brand name easy to learn and remember?

a) It is sufficiently different to attract attention. Would your firm’s name attract your attention if you saw it the first time?

b) The name evokes interest. Rhymes and humor are some ways to gain interest, but there are others as well. Think about your target audience and what would interest them.

c) The name elicits a picture or image. Names that do this are “dual coded,” in the sense that people remember them most because the name is stored in pictures and words.

d) The name is meaningful. This is hard to do when you use a nonsense word for a name. It can be overcome with lots of advertising, but names that are inherently more meaningful to customers are more readily stored in memory. More important, the name should have associations that are meaningful to customers in that they convey the benefits that customers want.

e) The name has some emotion. Emotional associations are easier to learn and remember.

f) The name is simple. Simple names are easier to learn and remember than complicated names.


So we can define a brand name as –

A Brand Name summarizes various relevant and irrelevant aspects as well as copy, audio and visual aspects of a product, which a human being can sense. It provides an identity beyond doubt. And identity differentiates. Since branding is a concept that exists to create identifiable differentiation, the brand name becomes a key marketing tool.

For example:

Any brand name is a source of value to the company. It carries symbolic meaning at times, for the customer and anyone it interacts with. A Bennetton T-Shirt without the brand name/brand slogan printed on it would be a mere commodity.

Or we can say a brand name is :

  • the basic core indicator of the brand
  • the basis for awareness
  • the basis for communication effects
  • the basis for sales measurement and

Brand name can:

  • Help create association(s) in the mind that act as descriptors, as to what it is and what it does. Xerox is a fitting example.
  • It provides entry barrier in its category once it gets established. Some appropriate examples are Burnol, Surf and Dettol.
  • Through time and use it becomes a valuable asset. Tata and Godrej are good examples.

It has been observed, what a brand name is all about could vary over a time continuum. It is the effect of what the brand does, what its competitor does, how customers change, how technology changes, how customer interactivity changes, etc. Time has a great role to play in giving form to a name in the minds of the consumers. . The same could be by design or by default. Some elements are avoidable and unavoidable.

Think about Surf before Ariel was launched. Now think about Surf and Ariel after Tide was introduced. Also think about Robbin Blue after Ujala was launched. Does your mind notice these changes?

Types of Brand Names

  • • Acceptable
  • • Easy to recognize
  • • Easy to pronounce
  • • Easy to memorize/ recall

Now let us discuss the generating associations that brand names can be grouped into.

It can be three types of names:

a) Descriptive brand name: A descriptive brand name such as Handy Plast is simple and direct.

b) Suggestive brand name: Suggestive brand names like Denim often communicated some appropriate message about he product in a subtle manner.

c) Freestanding brand name: A freestanding brand name like Kodak conveys less or no information immediately to the consumer.

Figure 3 – Examples of 3 types of Brand Names

Brand Name Associations

What clicks to your mind first when I say this: Brand Name Associations

If you are smart enough I’m sure you can guess what it should be about. Let’s discuss it in detail…….


Word Association:

These are words freely associated with names. Some words associated with Sunsilk are sun, silk, nature, clothes, shine, bright, smooth, outdoor and soft. Hommade gets associated with home , natural, care, affection, mother, pure, safe, hygiene and nutritious.


Image associations:

These include images stimulated/provoked by the name. It could consist of situation(s), scenes and types of people in the scene. These could be clear or vague, positive or negative in first person or in third person, of current times or past about living things or non-living things, etc. For example Fair &Lovely could provoke images about a beautiful woman. It could bring Aishwarya Rai to your mind. It could recall compliments received from friends


Product Associations

It includes any specific products or product categories associated with names. Asprin, Coldarin and Anacin could provoke associations with tablet, medicine or pain reliever. Usually, it is believed by psychologists that human relationship (customers are human) thrives on positive aspects. It is a qualitative aspect and no answer is arguably correct. Interestingly, most successful brands do not have negative

Brand Name Changing

When the main part of the name in a multi word brand name remains the same, the disturbance of the change is less and can be well managed. But if the main word or the complete name changes, all can be lost overnight by the marketing organization.  Without resorting to a complete change of name, the brand can benefit from a slight modification thereof. Some examples of name change are listed below:

  • Tata Nihar became Nihar after HLL purchased it
  • Binaca became Cibaca through an international acquisition by Ciba Geigy.
  • Teenopol became Ranipol
  • Jyoti appliances became Jaipan Appliances.
  • Annapoorna became Kissan Annapoorna
  • Lehar Pepsi became Pepsi.

4 responses

  1. Management Guy | Reply

    Good One. Nice Article. Till how long will you be writing on Brands?

    1. From this Saturday, the subject will change. Any preferences? 🙂

      Be sure to keep on checking

      RMD Team

  2. Liked

  3. There are some fascinating points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

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