In this article, we are presenting a great tool that can help to solve the challenge of brand naming: Labbrand 4 Facets Branding Model. Through this tool, we can understand thoroughly a brand from different dimensions. These dimensions, alone or jointly, are the guidance of creating the proper names that can represent the brand.
The 4 Facets Branding Model includes Vision, Truth, Universe, and Personality as the central drivers. Each represents a distinct area of inquiry into the brand: a dimension or lens through which one can extract the essentials that make it what it is. This framework is meant to be universal in nature and is applicable to any brand in any industry. These apparently simple dimensions serve as a guide to help illustrate the underlying ambitions and motivations of the brand while revealing a wealth of exploratory possibilities.
Vision refers to the shared belief of the brand. An aspirational belief normally comes from the founders’ drive, which also inspires and brings together the brand’s most rooted fans through a common cause.
A name focusing on conveying brand vision tend to be more inspiring to the consumers. In the emerging Chinese NEV (new energy vehicles) industry, there are several brands that apply vision-driven names.
Set up in 2014, NIO has grown into one of the largest global NEV brands. Its Chinese name 蔚来 [wèi lái] (sky-blue | come), is homophonic with the word 未来 [wèi lái] (future), conveys its belief that in the future blue sky will come when everyone drives clean energy car. This vision is clearly advocated in its slogan “Blue Sky Coming”.
Created by Labbrand, an excellent example would be VOYAH 岚图 [lán tú], the new high-end electric vehicle brand under DongFeng Motor (东风汽车). It shares the same pronunciation with 蓝图 [lán tú], meaning “blueprint” in Chinese, indicating the bright prospects of the company. 岚 [lán]” refers to the “mist among the mountains”, indicating freshness and naturalness. It’s embedded with the connotation of Chinese culture and associates the audience with the concept of new energy. “图 [tú]” means painting a picture of the future, showing the brand’s clear ambition in the EV industry.
Truth refers to the benefits that the brand promises to deliver. It is often associated with what category or industry the brand is in.
A lot of FMCG brand names are truth-driven, as such names are very straightforward and easy to understand.
For example, the rising soy-based beverage brand 豆本豆 [dòu běn dòu] (soybean | essence; intrinsic | soybean) explicitly highlights its product offering which is based on soybeans.
The Chinese brand naming Labbrand completed for Dolby Atmos is also a truth-driven name: 杜比全景声[dù bǐ quán jǐng shēng] (Dolby | panoramic | sound). It highlights the ground-breaking technology bringing an immersive sound experience to the audience.
Universe refers to the imaginary world that the brand opens. It can be perceived as the scenario the brand creates for its target audience. Some brands successfully create a vivid imaginary world and gradually strengthen consumers’ brand loyalty towards them.
Cereal Planet 谷物星球 [gǔ wù xīng qiú] (grain | planet) serves as a good example as it creates a vivid image of an imaginary brand universe filled with grain and cereal, echoing with its key brand message in creating a sustainable nutritious world beneficial to the Earth. This core brand message also echoes with its packaging and another visual identity.
Another example would be Never’s Family 奈娃家族 [nài wá jiā zú ] (transliteration of ‘Never’ | family), an IP brand founded by the most well-known live streamer in China Austin Li Jiaqi (李佳琦). Never is Austin’s beloved puppy and gains huge popularity among the netizens. The brand Never’s Family includes a series of pet dog IPs (Never and her offspring). They have co-branded with a lot of hot brands, which always brings a great boost of sales, such as beauty brands Perfect Diary (完美日记 [wán měi rì jì]), Shiseido, and coffee brand SeeSaw Coffee. Coming back to the name Never’s Family, it not only means all the members of the IP family but also represents the fan circle of Austine Li who are also the target consumers of the brand.
This facet is interesting. If we consider the brand as an actual human being, what kind of person do you think he/she is? A brand with a strong personality easily develops a closer relationship with its target audience as the brand creates a stronger emotional resonance with consumers.
One typical example is the Baijiu (Chinese liquor) brand Jiang Xiaobai 江小白 [jiāng xiǎo bái]. Jiang Xiaobai sounds like the name of a college student, young and innocent. This image is reinforced by a cartoon character, a young boy on the packaging. It successfully changes the stereotype perception that Baijiu is only for the middle-aged on formal occasions. In marketing communication, the boy shares his thoughts and opinions coming from daily life, which creates a close emotional bonding with target consumers (post-1980s and 1990s).
Another strong example is 领英 [lǐng yīng] the Chinese brand name of Linkedin, created by Labbrand. 领英 [lǐng yīng] means “leading elite” which is the imaginary persona that every working professional desire to be. This engaging name undoubtedly contributes a lot to the successful development of the brand in the Chinese market.
The above name examples mainly focus on conveying one of the 4 Facets. But a lot of successful brand names originate from multi-facets.
One example is Nespresso 浓遇 [nóng yù] (rich; dense | encounter) which indicates both brand truth and universe. 浓 [nóng] (rich; dense) conveys the intense taste of espresso. 遇 [yù] depicts a brand universe where consumers encounter the brand and enjoy coffee of great taste.
Another example is Airbnb’s Chinese name 爱彼迎 [ài bǐ yíng], meaning “Welcome Each Other with Love”. The brand naming process depicts a world full of love which is the universe the brand wishes to open. Meanwhile, it also translates well the brand vision: create a world where all 7 billion people can belong anywhere. 迎 (welcome) relates closely to the home-sharing business as brand truth. The overall friendly and warm tonality of the name shows the brand personality.
The 4 Facets Branding Model is a great guiding tool to guarantee that the name creation is in the right strategic direction while allowing wide scope for creative exploration. A name created following this guidance is solidly related to the brand essence. And can stand for the brand confidently in the market. The last question is: how can a brand have its own 4 Facets Branding Model with brand naming? That’s another story. Wait for our next article!
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