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Why brand positioning is important for a good naming

A good name is the first step on the path to success for a brand. Of course, reputation, product quality, good customer service, and a well-planned marketing strategy play their role, but crafting a good name for a new brand is like planting a tree on a good land.

A memorable name can help a brand stand out from the crowd, especially if that crowd is a highly competitive market. We all know people have prejudices based on the first impression they get. Are you sure you want to leave this to chance?

naming fail

In copywriting, the procedure adopted to find a name is called naming, and it involves various steps, including the definition of the brand positioning, which might seem unnecessary in order to complete the task, but it really is a fundamental phase.

I want to give you an example of this: here is a case study of a recent naming we worked on, in which the brand positioning played a main role.

The case

A few months ago an Italian mattress producer and seller company contacted us, as they were launching a new line of mattresses and they needed a name for it.

The peculiarity of this new line was the use of the newest technologies to guarantee the highest sleep quality standards. At the moment of the launch, the new brand had only two models, with the perspective of launching new ones as soon as they developed them. This company has been in this sector for three generations: they started as a small artisanal business, and they became more and more relevant on the market, to the point they wanted to launch this new high-standard brand, going nationwide for the first time.

The product they wanted to promote was a fine quality range of mattresses, more expensive than the market average, so intended for a high income bracket target.

So, here are the three main features of this new range of mattresses: revolutionary technologies, top-notch materials, luxury touch. These three elements will be part of our brand positioning analysis, so do not forget them.

Our ideas

We crafted many proposals, but in the end we presented to our client only the three most significant: two of them were invented words, and the third was an evocative name, but all of them had some characteristics in common, like the fricative sound to communicate the feeling of lightness experienced after a night of good sleep and the nasal consonants to make the pronunciation smooth, or their shortness, which made them easy to remember, but we also used letters that are unusual for an Italian name, like “x” and “y”, as they are not officially part of the Italian alphabet (as well as “j”, “k”, and “w”), even though they are used for a number of words, just to make the names look graphically different from the competitors.

We could have used a name generator just like a lot of agencies do, but we prefer not to automate this process, because it would only lead us to discard a high number of generated names just because they do not meet such specific criteria. Personally, as a copywriter, I prefer using mindmaps, etymological dictionaries, and other creative processes and old school tools, rather than a name generator.

However, if you want to give them a try, there are many softwares and online tools to test, such as NameStation, Namelix, or Wordoid, all of them based on the same principle: you input one or more keywords and then you get the results.

It is good when you are burnt and are looking for a hint, but honestly, I would never rely exclusively on these tools.

The first proposal

For the first name we combined the purpose of the product and its main feature, i.e.: being innovative, revolutionary (that was exactly the first part of the name). While the name was a made-up word, the meaning of the combination was crystal clear, and the result was a name that described exactly the nature of the product: a mattress developed with the newest technologies in order to guarantee a great sleep experience.

The second proposal

For this proposal we borrowed a word from Greek mythology, using the name of a goddess together with a suffix of French origin.

Basically, with this proposal we wanted to highlight the luxury aspect of the brand, elevating the concept of sleep quality to a mystical level and recalling the elegance, the finesse, the French language has in the Italian collective belief system.

The third proposal

The last proposal used no combined made-up words, but it was still highly evocative, recalling to the concepts of “soul” and “moon”.

With this proposal we meant to tighten the relationship between the brand and the customer by choosing words related to their ego and their oneiric imaginery. Two simple concepts, but very powerful, as they have been taught to us since we were children: our soul represents our interior selves, and the moon is the universal symbol for the night. For this reason, the name was also highly memorable: everytime you recall a familiar concept in a name, rest assured it will be remembered (unless everyone makes the same choice as you).

Why was brand positioning important?

None of those proposals would have come up without a prior brand positioning analysis, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, the product was meant to be promoted mainly on the internet, and there is too much information online. I am sure you agree with me if I say that one in three notifications on your mobile is an advertisement.

In this scenario, if your message is just one among the others, your investment in marketing will generate very little or no return. Think about when you go to a supermarket to buy a box of cereals and you find so many brands you just can’t choose properly.

If you want to reach a specific target, with specific needs that your product is able to satisfy, you have to position your brand in the consumers’ mind, so when they have a problem, even if it is the first time, the most appropriate solution they can think about is your product.

If you think about our case, that is exactly what we needed: our client wanted to sell a specific product to a specific target, with specific needs: a luxury mattress, made with revolutionary technologies, designed to deliver the best sleep quality, for people who know their productivity and energy during the day depends on how they sleep at night.

How did we find out all this?

How to find out your brand position

First of all, you have to define your target, ideally creating a detailed buyer persona, then you have to think about the differences between your brand and your competitors. In particular, you need to focus on your value proposition, hence, the added value your brand can offer, unlike your competitors.

You do not neessarily need to create something new, rather than changing the perception of what you already are in the mind of your customers.

You can also decide if you want to position your brand according to a single or multiple strategies. I personally think the brand positioning should be coherent at all times, but it is not a universal rule, and other marketers might tell you the opposite.

At this point, your brand positioning can literally hinge on everything: the quality is just one of the possibilities, which vary according to the business sector your brand belongs to. IT brands usually mark their differences with their competitors with the exclusive design, takeaway services focus on short delivery times, automotive brands distinguish themselves for comfort and onboard features, and so on.

Other examples of positioning can come from a brand’s reputation, especially luxury brands like Rolex or Ferrari, or their customer service, which is an element widely used in the banking sector.

Summing up, the element on which you should base your brand positioning should have the following features:

  • Exclusive: your brand should be the only one with this feature;
  • Relevant: your target should benefit from it;
  • Real: do not lie to your customers, always deliver what you promise!

All the rest, is really up to you.


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