An effective brand name is an exceptionally powerful marketing and sales tool. A truly effective name will grab your customer’s attention help the product literally sell itself.
So how do you know if a name you are considering for your new product, company or service has what it takes to be effective in the marketplace? Just ask yourself if the name in question measures up to the high standards of MOM.
MOM is an easy to remember acronym that stands for Memorable, On-target and Meaningful. As a professional naming consultant, I have found that it’s these three qualities that determine whether a name will be effective.
M for Memorable
The best brand names are instantly memorable. You hear them once and you never forget them. Names like Google, Yahoo, and Altoids all have that certain something that make them unforgettable.
Part of what makes them memorable is the fact that the words themselves have an unusual, distinctive look and feel. Some might say they even look kind of odd – but in a good way.
The other thing that makes them memorable is that they are fun and easy to say. Try it yourself. Google. Goooooogle. Let’s face it, a cool-sounding name like that is more likely to stick in your memory bank than something safe and sensible like SearchPro or Webguide.
So give your new name the memorability test. Does it look and/or sound unique? If so, it will probably be easy to remember.
O for On-Target
Even the most memorable name won’t be effective if it doesn’t appeal to your target audience. To ensure that it does, it is imperative that the name you create for your new product accurately reflects the brand’s positioning.
Brand “positioning” is simply another term for the image or personality you want your product to project. Apple Computer’s positioning is hip and friendly. Microsoft’s is smart and efficient. It’s no big revelation that Mac owners are often creative types and PC users are more likely to be more practical, business types.
So ask yourself: Does your new name reinforce your brand positioning? Does it look and feel like it belongs with the product behind the name? Most importantly, will it appeal to your intended customers?
If the answer is yes to these three questions, then you can be confident that the name is on-target.
M for Meaningful
Studies show that if a brand name is meaningful – that it communicates a key feature or benefit – it will be more effective.
Descriptive names like MapQuest and Scrubbing Bubbles are good examples of names that convey a clear, easy to understand meaning.
That doesn’t mean that your new name has to explain everything about what the product does. But it should hint at something fundamentally important or interesting about the brand.
Take the hugely popular Wii, for example. Pronounced “we”, the name conveys a friendly, “something for everyone” positioning. It’s a game Wii all can enjoy.
So take a closer look at your list of name finalists. Make sure the one you choose will hold a special meaning for your target audience.
So there you have it. When considering new brand names, always check and see if MOM approves of your choice. As long as your top choice is Memorable, On-target and Meaningful, you can be confident that you have a winner. Thanks MOM!