Should we dare to be really different?
Mauro Morando discusses the importance of choosing a unique brand name, when starting up a new business.
When you are expecting a baby, like when you start a new business, the first thing you need to worry about is the name you are going to give your creature.
Very early on, an endless back and forth ‘debate’ starts amongst a few elected options, pondering about how unambiguous both pronunciation and spelling may be, what pre-conceived ideas and associations people may have and what expectation you may raise etc…
A name that is ‘out there’ will inevitably raise questions, criticism and may even carry unwanted meanings in a different language causing grief in adult life. After all a name is for life – this is certainly a decision that cannot be made light-heartedly.
“In the business world, I would argue that you should want to be like the brave parent who does not sit on the fence…”
Many parents may therefore choose to go for a rather conventional name, as a ‘special’ name may seem more of a risk than anything else. For instance, if your daughter is called Mary, she is safely going to be another one of thousands and nobody is going to frown as she says her name.
In the business world, I would argue that you should want to be like the brave parent who does not sit on the fence and call her newborn Luna even if some may ridicule this into Lunatic. The ‘safe option’ of an anonymous and indistinctive name is not an option if you want your brand to stand out and carve a niche of your own in a crowded and competitive marketplace.
Everyone talks about true differentiation, but when it comes down to it, only a few seem to actually walk the talk.
What does truly different brand name mean then? Well, it means:
• A name that is pushing boundaries.
• A name that goes well beyond what everybody else would do.
• A name that sounds wildly unfamiliar to the extent of making you feel a bit uncomfortable.
In one word: cringe-worthy. In the worst case, a truly different name will provoke a strong reaction gaining you attention and respect for the courage it takes.
“The ‘safe option’ of an anonymous and indistinctive name is not an option if you want your brand to stand out…”
In the best case, it will give you an important opportunity to be heard getting you a ‘foot in the door’.
So I argue the answer is yes, we should dare to be really different, even if this means many in your audience may need some time to get their heads around your ‘odd’ idea.
But true differentiation must come from the heart.
An interesting name is only as interesting as the story that is behind it.
In fact, a unique brand name will become the most invaluable device only if you keep your audience engaged as and when they will ask the inevitable question ‘why this name?’ You want to hope they will ask that question. If they don’t, your name is probably not quite as original.
If they do, this is probably your opportunity to show your differentiation is not an artefact manufactured for the sake of marketing literature, but it is meaningful, well-thought through and, most importantly, personal to you.
“…a unique brand name will become the most invaluable device…”
You will succeed to be genuinely persuasive if you have got real conviction in the values you represent. It makes it really easy to be a believable storyteller if the proposition you are getting across is in fact reflective of your own individuality.
Instead of conceiving a brand idea with a view to cater the needs of your clientele, I argue a brand can be designed to be an extension of your ethos and aspirations in life, centered around who you are and not ‘selling out’ to tailor what clients may want to hear.
For example, can we talk about spreading the love? Can we say what we really think in an extremely politically correct environment? Can we mix business and pleasure? Can we actually have fun whilst working together? Are these relevant and appealing benefits for the client corporate business? In theory the answer is no.
But at the end of the day, a business does not talk nor does it have a soul or a heart. A business is just a collective of individuals, just people talking to other people.
Many would want to adhere to the conventional approach and discard this modus operandi as ‘unprofessional’. That’s expected. You can’t be – and you don’t want to be – popular with everyone.
“…a heartfelt ‘brand story’ will allow you to remain truthful to yourself and, as a result, enable you to really connect with your audience at a different level…”
Others, many more than you would anticipate, it turns out, are fatigued and bored with ‘corporate speak’ and did not even know how refreshing it is to be talked to like people. This is especially true in an industry that is historically known to be rather conservative. The ‘personal touch’ becomes something they did not know they could have.
Your client is not a company, your client is just a person who wants to enjoy his working day, exactly like you.
The bottom line is that a heartfelt ‘brand story’ will allow you to remain truthful to yourself and, as a result, enable you to really connect with your audience at a different level, where it matters the most, that is at a personal level.
About the author:
Mauro Morando is co-founder of Brains&,Cheek, the smallest global market research consultancy for the pharmaceutical industry.
Over the past ten years, Mauro has helped leading manufacturers bring new compounds into the market, develop effective advertising materials and sustain mature products until patent expiry. Mauro is a qualitative research purist with a special interest into brands and communication.
Mauro may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
How important is a unique brand name?