BrandIQ | 11 Rules For Naming Your Brand

Does your brand name ring a bell? What message does it convey? These are some questions to ask when assessing a name. When naming your brand, there are really no hard and fast rules. A brand may be named after the founder as in the case of Dell, Ford and Dangote or after a geographic location just like Eko Hotels and Suites or Bank of America. You can name your brand after countries, for example Nigerian Breweries and American International Group or even after its operational definition. University Press is an example of a brand named after its operational definition.

Although the decision is yours to make, there are certain “christening” rules that should guide you.


“First” is a common example of such words. Today there are a lot of brands that have “First” in their names.


Never give your brand a name without thinking through. You don’t want to end up with a name that is unpleasant to consumers.


Using shock strategy may grab attention but shocking brand names can also backfire. French Connection UK, FCUK as originally spelt, initially had this problem.


Consider the environment in which your brand operates. This matters as certain cultures may not accept some names. Find out if your brand name will be accepted in your area of operations.


A name can mean different things to different people. If you intend to operate beyond your immediate environment, you will need to consider what your brand name means in your target countries or across different cultures.


Don’t copy names of other brands especially well known brands. It is wrong to do so. You may get away with it when you are not well known but the moment you become successful, you could have a law suit on your hands.


Not every name can be a brand name. While there is no harm in naming your brand after yourself, don’t do so unless your name has “brand quality”. Also, stay away from native names that are difficult to pronounce.


Naming your brand is serious business. Don’t fool around with your brand name. For example Common Sense Limited is not a good name because it says nothing about your brand.


Religion is a sensitive issue therefore there is a need to be careful about names with heavy religious implication. You do not want to put off people with a different faith unless it is a religious brand.


Check for the availability of your name as a domain on the internet. Since most internet names have email extensions, you should consider limitations you will face if your domain name registration presents difficult options.


Consider how your brand name sounds particularly over the phone. You don’t want people making faces each time you mention your brand.

In conclusion, a name says a lot about your brand and can be the deciding factor between customer attraction and repulsion. Choose wisely.

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BRANDIQ | 7 Ways to Create Brand Differentiation

Ever been hit by confusion in a store over the sheer amount of choices before you? Confusion sets in because you have no clear preference or can’t distinguish between available products. This daily task of choice can be a burden for the consumer. So, as you develop your business, a key question to ask is “what will distinguish my product or service from those of competitors? What will make it different?”


Brand differentiation is an organic factor in branding. Besides the quality of your products, it provides another layer of value. There are 7 ways to create brand differentiation; what we call the Brand Septagon.


brand septagon








The Brand Septagon

Uncommoditise your product or service

Starbucks Coffeee







Product commoditisation occurs when your profit margins are so thin, you must sell volumes to break even. Competing products abound and the customer has no particular reason to buy your products. An example of a company that successfully uncomoditised a popular product is Starbucks.

Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse in the world and leading retailer of specialty coffee revolutionised the product by creating the distinctive Starbucks experience. Some people go there to be alone with their thoughts or be together with their friends or listen to incredible music. Starbucks is more than just a coffee place.

Create corporate distinction







To create corporate distinction, ensure your organisation is known for a particular area of speciality. An example is Google’s global dominance in Internet search. The organisation distinguished itself through search quality and innovation. A remarkable feat is the adaption of the word ‘Google’ as a verb which has earned a place in the dictionary. Google continues to set the pace with new inventions like Google Glass.

Celebrate your customers









A secret to attracting and retaining customers is to make them feel special, different and appreciated. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) connects its advertising campaign to international celebrities who regularly stay at the hotel and consider themselves fans. Fans include Kevin Spacey, Christian Louboutin and Jane Seymour. Mandarin Oriental donates $10,000 to any charity the fan chooses.

Retain your customers

200px-Virgin.svg (1)







You must ensure that customers don’t leave unexpectedly. Make exit difficult by tying them in through loyalty schemes or points. For example, in an attempt to penetrate the American market, Virgin America offered a free round-trip ticket to any location in America after four paid round-trips.

 Make it easy for customers to compare the advantage of one product over another










Share your price advantage or new product features on your website. For example, the world’s largest retailer, Amazon sells electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and other consumer products.  It makes price comparison between vendors easy.

 Make it hard for new competitors to access your market









Raise the competition bar through promotion of excellent standards, innovation or value added items. This makes it difficult for competitors to penetrate your market or steal market share. An example is Microsoft Office. Microsoft offers a full bundle of useful products to customers at an unbeatable price. Consumers love the offer and competitors find it difficult to match the breadth of offerings provided in the single package.

 Stoke desire











Change the status of everyday utility products into objects of desire. Nike, one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel elevates sport shoes into must-have items through partnerships with some of the biggest names in professional sports.


Putting the knowledge of the Brand Septagon into practice will help to differentiate your business. Take the time to score your business or product on the 7 parameters.


BrandIQ is a series by Alder Consulting on why you should brand yourself or company.

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.



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BrandIQ| What Your Logo Design Says About You

An erroneous notion is that branding should be left for bigger organisations. Another way to think about it is to say only bigger organisations are entitled to prosperity and sales. There are things companies miss out on when they shrug off the simple details of brand development. Although business isn’t an easy feat, there are tools that can help along the way, such as design.

Research Before Design

The logo of a business says a lot about it. Creating an image that truly represents your vision, organisation, product or service is non-negotiable. With just a logo, a fundamental element of branding, you subtly persuade others to make economic choices that align with your business interests. They give you attention, are intrigued & are attracted to you. (Creating loyalty after that first look is another thing entirely). So, whether you are a business owner, personality brand, knowing the fundamentals of logo design is important.

The word logo is derived from the Greek word “Logos”. “Logos” means story, explanation and organising principle. You could say that the logo is a design argument based on logic and research. It is a persuasion through analysis and rational appeal. Aristotle (384BC – 322BC) was the first to create an encyclopedic system of philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. This means that the logo is a visual representation of something really deep – the organisation’s DNA and aspirations. It is the starting point in the creation of corporate identity. Whether the logo is meant for you or your client, apt research is imperative. What is the brand personality? What is the message?

There are 8 logo typologies categorised by Alder Consulting. The first logo typology is Geographical and describes geographical space or location e.g Heart of Africa

fortis group


Another type of logo is Real descriptive which logo literally describes the organisation for example, Apple.


A type of logo is Nomenclature where the logo is the name of the organisation e.g Microsoft


An Alphabet Soup logo are based on acronyms or derived from the letters of a business name e.g IBM (formally International Business Machines)


A Symbolic logo uses icons that evoke certain aspirations e.g Nike, the tick mark which symbolises Yes! Just do it!


Another logo typology is Attributive which describes the attributes of an organisation. An example of an attributive logo is First Bank. It describes the bank’s position as the first founded in Nigeria.

First Bank

A Whimsical logo typology has humorous connotations e.g Leaping Lizards.

Leaping Lizard

Combination typology is a combination logo e.g Nomenclature and Symbolic like WaltDisney or Alphabet Soup and Symbolic like HSBC

Combination: Nomenclature & Symbolic

walt disney logo

Combination: Alphabet Soup & Symbolic

hsbc_logo (1)


Originality Helps

Original art may be employed to make a more impressive statement about your company. This can be trademarked more easily than a clip art.

Ease of Production is Key

Create a logo that is easy to reproduce and is functional while being memorable. Once a logo has been designed, be sure it translates well on business cards, letterheads, 3D design and so on.

Pay Attention to Cultural Contexts

Understanding your users and the context of use is also important. Details like typography, colour, scale and shape may have cultural connotations. What colour suits your industry? What does green connote in your market? How about blue or red?

Consistency matters

A brand must be authentic as its core and its visual representation must be consistent in the marketplace.

A collection of consistently applied symbols creates a recognisable graphic language for your brand. Sticking to a particular structure matters. It’s either symmetry or pattern; circles or squares; top or bottom.

Finally, every logo is a story. Make your logo communicate a story without giving away the ending. Intrigue your audience.

BrandIQ is an educational series by Alder Consulting pertaining to branding and why you should brand yourself or company

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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