In Branding

imgDon Quijote de La Mancha4

What’s in a name?

Choosing the right name for your brand.

“A good name is better than riches,” says Cervantes in his literary masterpiece, Don Quixote. What then, makes a good name? Choosing an effective name for your company offers the opportunity to reflect your values, strengths, and what sets you apart from the rest. Just one or a few words have the power to form strong associations between your brand and your audience, allowing them to meaningfully connect with you.

Logic vs. Emotion

For example, on the one hand, there are categorical names, such as “The New York Times.”  They tell us where the company is and what it does, and in some cases, they are appropriate. At Allegory, however, we believe that in branding, emotion trumps logic. We look to develop stronger and more meaningful messaging that speaks from the heart. Through your name, you can tell your audience not only “what” you do, but “why” you do it and “how.” We look for names that move an organization beyond a category and into an experience. These names tell your audience more about your culture, your unique outlook, and what drives you as a company.  Consider the difference between “Encyclopedia Britannica” and “Google.” The former informs of the company’s categorical significance, whereas the latter connotes the brand’s mission of providing almost infinite information.

Putting the words to work

At Allegory Studios, we encourage brands to let every word count.  One example that stands out in recent history is a rebrand we did for an Avon, CO based science center.  When the “Gore Range Natural Science School” became “Walking Mountains Science Center” they opened the doors to a whole new level of brand recognition and communication.  They moved from the categorical to a more meaningful brand that conveys a powerful story.  Their new name challenges people to think; it is meaningful on many levels:

  • It describes the delivery of their programs – students will be walking the mountains.
  • It alludes to their method of experiential learning that takes place in nature.
  • It captures their place-based philosophy that suggests if we study a place over time we will see the way it changes. Yes, over time, even the mountains walk.
  • And it speaks to our profound connection with nature.

The Walking Mountains name change stirred up passion and a renewed connection with the community at a time when they were facing a pivotal change.  By uncovering the true company culture and emotional values of the organization, they were able to develop a name that reflects upon their unique story and philosophy.

Your organization’s name is a key element of your brand; it is oftentimes your audience’s main frame of reference for conceptualizing what you do and how you do it. By putting the same careful thought, planning, and attention into your name that you give your products, services, values, and culture, you can change the way your audience perceives you by connecting with them more meaningfully.

Are you looking to create a meaningful brand impression in 2013?  Get a free, 30-minute brand assessment from Allegory Studios – apply online here, and one of our brand consultants will be in touch!

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