5 Consequences of Choosing a Bad Name

Choosing the wrong name for your brand can result in serious consequences, from negative reactions to financial losses

Ignasi Fontvila (@ignasifontvila) is an expert in verbal brand identity and a member of the Global Branding Network. He says that, before coming up with a name for your brand, you should reflect on the consequences a wrong decision could have. “Choosing a bad name means you are helping your competitors,” says Nassim Javed, president of the ABC Nambank (Canada).

Today, the expert goes through different scenarios you could find yourself in as a result of a bad name. His following five points might make you reconsider some of the ideas you’ve had in the past.

Being drawn to what’s obvious

“The purpose of a name isn’t to describe, but to make stand out”: this is Fontvila’s first point when it comes to avoiding problems concerning brand identity and positioning. Describing is easy, but that is not your primary objective when it comes to choosing a name. That’s why so many coffee brands struggle to stand out: they don’t have unique names.

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Examples of coffee brands registered in the OEPM (Spanish Department of Patents and Brands)

Problems adapting to different geographical markets

Usually, emerging brands put all of their creative energy into targeting a local market and working in the local language. However, without worrying about your brand’s reach, it’s important that you make sure that the wording you choose isn’t negatively perceived in other geographic areas. These are some examples of branding catastrophes:

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Avoid negative, undesirable and unexpected associations

Lack of relevance and recognition

While Fontvila considers this more of a communication matter, he recognizes that the right name can earn a brand the recognition it’s after. The perfume industry is perhaps where we most often see successful cases of product naming–working to this objective is a good starting point.

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A good name guarantees loyalty

Poor promotion of brand values

Older brands have a habit of using their name to channel where the brand originates from geographically, who the founder is, or how the product works. Here are some examples:

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These brand names clearly reflect the essence and origins of the brands

Today, given the number of competitors out there and the increasing demands from customers, it’s important that a name transmits the sustainable benefits and core values of the company. Fontvila believes that these two brands are excellent examples of this:

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Novartis channels the idea of a “new way to do things” and Exeltis channels the idea of “excellence”

Expensive or ineffective branding

Choosing a name that’s difficult to memorize or pronounce will make it expensive to manage your brand. It will require you to spend more on communication and longer-running ad campaigns to ensure consumers remember you.

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Although they are well-known, these brands have invested a lot in global positioning

Lastly, one of the most serious consequences of the decisions listed in the previous five points is that they will cause the brand to lose financial value, also known as Brand Equity.

Therefore, if you don’t want to lose money and see your competitors benefiting from your bad decision-making, take the necessary time to build the foundations of your project.

If you want to know more about the creative process so that you can create a concept, name a product, and give it legal, economic and linguistic value, check out the course Strategy and Creativity to Design Brand Names by Ignasi Fontvila.

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