Startup: Naming VS Branding

    This note will be primarily useful to startup leaders at the very beginning of their difficult, but glorious, business path, when they are still (for any reason) not ready to spend resources on branding, but already understand the need for this work in the future.
    Recently, while working on brand and branding strategies for one large Internet company, I came across a situation where the architecture of brands was already predetermined at the stage of naming products and the company itself (and it was impossible to change anything already), which ultimately led to the creation of a rather complex and non-trivial configuration of brands.
    This could have been avoided (and thereby made life easier for everyone) if the future configuration of brands and possible consequences were taken into account at the naming stage.
    Of course, there is no confrontation (how incorrectly the title of this note could be interpreted) between the processes of branding and naming. However, if at the very beginning of the life of the company and the product (when they usually engage in naming), we lose sight of its influence on the brand strategy (which they usually begin to develop later), then we can greatly narrow our options in the very near future ...
    To begin with, I will briefly define the meaning of the term "Brand" that I use in my work.
    So, a brand is, on the one hand, the expectation of benefits from a particular branded product (by the client), on the other hand, the promise of benefits (on the part of the company).
    The process of developing a brand strategy is the process of developing a brand promise (consisting of analysis, research, synthesis and creative work), the first stage of which is the definition or design of brand architecture *.

    Brand architecture Brand
    architecture is the interconnection (and mutual influence) of brands on each other in the eyes of consumers who are presented with these brands at the same time. For example, Renault Megane (Renault is both a super brand and a corporate brand, Megane is a subordinate brand) or Blogger / Gmail from Google (Blogger / Gmail is a brand facade, Google is both a brand base and a corporate brand).
    So, there are * 7 types of brand architecture:
    1. Single brand- there is no architecture, in the eyes of the consumer, a single brand is not connected with any others.
    2. The brand hierarchy is a classic architecture in which the super brand has the main weight, and subordinate brands usually serve for more accurate positioning taking into account the function or the target audience of the product (for example, Renault Megane).
    3. Brand-foundation / brand-facade - a more modern design, in which emphasis is placed on the brand-facade, and the brand-foundation serves as if to reassure consumers and / or give some meaningful background to the promise of the brand-facade and does not particularly “glow” (an example is Google’s Blogger / Gmail).
    4. Patronage - the patronizing brand helps (usually not for long) the ward brand “gain momentum”, puts it “into orbit”.
    5. Umbrella brand - an architecture in which different products come out under the same brand (for example, Dunhill).
    6. Co-branding - co-branding. One product under the brands of two different companies (HP computer with Windows Vista).
    7. Accompanying brands - architecture in which the main brand is accompanied by auxiliary (and most often short-term non-productive) brands. These may be brands of stocks, service centers (Apple Centers), etc.

    In addition, one can distinguish brand levels :
    - a coalition of companies / brands,
    - a corporate brand,
    - a multibrand,
    - a brand of a series of products,
    - a separate brand,
    - brand of activity or process.

    So, what to consider when naming:
    1. A brand is a promise.
    2. For different products / audiences, different promises / brands may be required.
    3. One name (name) is one brand, ie one promise (!), regardless of what it refers to (product or company).
    4. Before you start naming for a company and products, decide (research, design) how brand promises will relate to each other in the future.

    5. Whether the name of the company and the main product will coincide or not - this aspect of naming will largely determine the future architecture of brands.

    Let's consider two simple mini-cases for illustration.

    1. The architecture of the corporate umbrella brand.
    Brand Architecture # 1
    Such an architecture involves one brand (and one promise) for the company and all its products. If we decide to launch a new product on the market for which the promise contained in the Pink Elephant nonsense (even as a brand base) does not fit, then we will have to register a new company or carefully hide (which is unlikely to succeed) the name of our company manufacturer (which has already become a corporate brand). Otherwise, we will receive a conflict of promises and we will reduce all work on building the brand to nothing.
    However, this architecture has its advantages, the main one is the low cost of launching a new product on the market (under an umbrella brand)
    2. The architecture of single brands or a corporate brand basis / brand facade or brand hierarchy.
    Brand Architecture # 2
    This naming will allow you to build several branded architectures. We have the freedom to make a corporate brand out of Blue Sparrow (with our promise!) Or not. If not, then we have two single, unrelated brands. If we do, then for each brand of the product we can create our own configuration (of promises), for example this:
    Brand Architecture # 3
    In this case, we will first need to develop the strategy of the Blue Sparrow corporate brand, taking into account its intended use as the base brand and super brand, then we can give our own bright promise to the Yellow Bunny facade brand (which however will fit in with the promise of the base brand), and, finally, we will be able to more accurately position “Product B” for its audience with a clarifying promise of submission ennogo brand (series) "Scaly Thrush"
    Starting a new business, it is important to lay a good foundation for all the components of business success. A good name for the company and the product is not only an occasion to practice your creativity and check on a sense of relevance and relevance, but also largely predetermines the future brand architecture, branding strategy and, as a result, the quantity, quality and loyalty of your future consumers.
    * for more details see “The Birth of a Brand” by Dan Herman

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