Criteria of a good brand name -1

My clients often ask me: “What makes a good brand name?” I judge the desirability of a brand name  by three dimensions: memorability, strategic fit and legal protect-ability. Let’s start by exploring the first criteria: memorability.

Our brains constantly computes information. According to the information theory, the human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing, yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second! Therefore, the easier you make it for people to memorize your name, the more successful you will become. Let’s see what does our mind like:

Our minds like short names:  Ideally, a consumer-brand name should be two-syllabled. (Google, Wal-mart). Any name longer than three syllables is a concern.

Our minds like difference: As long as a name is different within its frame of reference, our mind will go the extra mile to remember it. (Kodak, Exxon)

Our minds like meaning: If we can associate a mental image with a product/service, we would remember it better. (Ford Mustang)

Our minds like emotions: Emotions enhance memory. Therefore, any name that can elicit emotions is easier to memorize. (Pampers)

Of course there are other ways to make a name more memorable. Can you name a few?

Today’s actionable tip: People name their dogs and babies and they think naming a brand should be easy. Unfortunately, naming is a deceptively difficult task. You may want to consider hiring a brand strategist with a good track record. Look at his/her portfolio before hiring anyone.

On our next next post we will focus on the strategic fit of a brand name.

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