Choosing a Brand Name

It’s not every day you have to choose a new brand name. But when you do, it’s one of the most important business decisions you’ll make.

Yet you’d be amazed how little attention it gets, often decided almost literally on the back of an envelope, I’ve actually seen it happen!

There are so many factors to consider, and a multitude of pitfalls to avoid, it is well worth getting it right.

Most importantly, choosing the right name can dramatically accelerate the growth of the business, particularly if the name actually conveys the essence of the product.

For example easyJet and lastminute.com are likely to catch on much faster than BMI and deckchair.com

The 1980s and 90s saw a bizarre fad for rebranding with either totally mystifying names (Accenture, Consignia, Centrica) or faceless acronyms (BA, BG, BT, KFC). The idea supposedly was to release the organisation from being tied to its core competencies, thereby facilitating diversification.

But the ambiguity often proved counterproductive. So BA reverted from “British” to British Airways, and Consignia went back to Royal Mail.

Today, in the age of ecommerce, searchability is crucial, so uniqueness is also important. “British Sails” would throw up a whole lot of irrelevant search results. “BritSails” would be much better.

For me, Autohelm remains one of the marine industry’s best ever brand names. It ticked all the boxes – and even in the age of the web, it still would. And before you write in, yes, we know “Creative Partners” is pretty weak by all of these criteria.

The excuse is that it’s 15 years old. But we’re working on it. We’ve already ruled out CP and Creatituria.

Robin Petherbridge

rp@cp-uk.com