LABREPORT | NOV. 2007
The Artistic Conception in Brand Naming
Among the various brand names, you will find that a successful brand is based on more than transliteration. Generally, a good name is easy to pronounce and easy to remember. What’s more, particularly good examples can even bring fresh inspirations. Although you often see this phenomenon, your may not know the reasons behind it. Actually, one important factor for these successes should be accounted to the special artistic elements that these brand names possess. In this report, the Labbrand Research Team will take you on some explorations of this topic- the artistic conception in brand naming. The benefits from the artistic conception in brand naming are obvious. As we have mentioned before, it makes a name easy to pronounce and easy to remember. Even more, it evokes some resonances from the consumers so that a good and popular impression is given. The brand profits from the market and brand loyalty is constructed.
Before we go further, two kinds of classification for brand naming should be discussed.
The first one is from the way of expression, where we divide the brand into three different categories: Descriptive, Metaphorical and Provocative.
• Descriptive naming is when the brand name provides information about the brand, such as the product, the function, the industry and so on. Take the famous software brand Microsoft (微[wēi]软[ruǎn]) for example. The name “Microsoft” can be viewed as two parts:”micro” and “soft”. “Micro” refers to microprocessor, or something related to computer, and “soft” refers to software. Together from the name we can get a general idea that this brand has something to do with computer software.
Agile, in our minds, a jaguar is a kind of large feline of Central and South America. It is masculine, noble, energetic and fierce. Then what can it be if we use this word as a car brand name? Yes, it can give a vivid feeling about the trait of the car: high performance, elegance, and aristocratic.
• Provocative naming is a bit like metaphorical naming, but it focuses on attracting attention through curiosity. “Yahoo!” is a typical model of this kind. “Yahoo” originates from the novel of the famous writer Jonathan Swift, and it refers to a race in Gulliver's Travels, but few people are familiar with this reference. As the word is interesting and seldom seen, people would be curious to find out about the brand. The sign “!” in the name is important, too. It gives a feeling of excitement which makes an emotional impact.
Another way to make the classification is by the origin of name. Some of the names use existing words and the rest use invented or converted ones. The brand “Orange” belongs to the former while the brands “Pepsi” and “Google” are examples for the latter.
What comes to mind next is: how to build the suitable artistic conception?
The classifications above have given two paths to accomplishing this:
1. Take industry into consideration. Different industries have different characters, and the methods to add the artistic conceptions are often limited by the characters. For the industry of information & technology, descriptive naming should be the best choice. From the point of the brand, a descriptive name can express its professionalism, giving the consumers a feeling of reliability. From the point of consumers, ordinary people lack specialized knowledge of each brand, especially in the area of high technology. Thus a descriptive name could tell them the most urgent information-what this brand is specialized in- at the first exposure.
2. Make clear the brand positioning. The unique market positioning for a brand influences the pattern of artistic naming greatly. In china, there are two famous virtual communities named Tianya(天[tiān]涯[yá]) and Mop(猫[māo]扑[pū]), but their market positioning are totally different. Tianya, meaning horizon or the ends of the earth, aims to build a platform where people can communicate freely and extensively; Mop is place full of energy, whimsical tones and fun. Their respective naming styles have shown the distinctions. Tianya chooses the metaphorical naming pattern and Mop is provocative.
Besides both phonetic and semantic factors, the structure of the characters used in the name will contribute a lot to an artistic name. Like the phonetic factor, the structure of a good name needs variations. Chinese characters have 2 main structures: up-down and left-right. The variations of the characters will make a name look more attractive. For example, the 3 characters of 欧[ōu]莱[lái]雅[yǎ](the Chinese translation of L’Oreal) are left-right, up-down and left-right structures respectively, which give the name an aesthetic feeling of symmetry. Another expression of the aesthetic symmetry is related to the strokes of the characters. A good name will avoid large distinctions in strokes among the characters. The 3 characters of欧[ōu]莱[lái]雅[yǎ] have 8, 10 and 12 strokes respectively.
Having an artistic conception is not required, but it can add an important element to your brand name. Your brand name can significantly influence its impact by making clear the industry and brand positioning, taking phonetic and semantic factors into consideration, making good use of cultural elements, finding a balanced aesthetic value in character structure, etc. This special focus on brand naming can make your brand more distinctive among similar companies and products.