Do brand names really matter? Are they the first thing you put together when starting a business? You'd think so, right? But in fact, brand names mean little when you're starting out.
Huh? That's got to be crazy advice, right?
The truth is no one really cares about your brand name. You may not believe it to be true. And you may not believe a word I say, but let's take a real life example. So you go to a party. And you hit it off with this person.
And the next morning you can't even remember his/her name…
So what do you remember? You remember the person. And the personality. And the event as it unfolded. You remember all that stuff, and it churns in your head like a lahar rolling down Mt. Ruapehu–but you can't remember his/her name.
Blame it on the margaritas…
Or blame it on the fact that as humans names aren't that important, till they're important. That that guy/gal could have been called Kreamoblilis, or John or Anita, for that matter. And there's still a pretty darned good chance that you'd forget the name. But ah, you wouldn't forget the personality.
So are we saying brand names don't matter?
Nope. They do matter. But they don't matter at first. What really matters is the personality behind the name. The personality is your packaging. And people buy packaging, long before they buy content.
So does that mean you have to create a personality? No, you dont. You don't have to be a joker. You can be a serious personality. Or a motherly personality. Or a hard-working personality. You can't be anyone else, so don't be anyone else. Be yourself (and if you're a joker, that's great too). But what's important is that your personality shines through.
Hard as it may be to swallow, customers will like you not for your flouncy brand name, but more for who you are. And over time, they'll come to remember your brand name as well. Of course, by then, it doesn't matter if you change your brand name–the customers will still love you.
So does this advice work in reality?
Our website used to be called Millionbucks? Yes, we know. It's kinda cheesy. But we thought it was great. Everyone said it was great. We printed stationery, business cards, even put up a website. And despite the cheesy name, we got over a thousand customers to hit the subscribe button.
We had a training program called the Treadmill. Why give a program such a ‘omigod-I-have-to-sweat' name? It didn't matter. Customers still signed up for the Treadmill. And you know why. The customers weren't signing in to Millionbucks or the Treadmill.
They were signing up for the experience; the personality; the system behind it all. They'd tasted, sampled some of the material, and they signed up on the basis of the sample alone.
Of course Ms.Right and Mr.Right will come along…
And our website has gone from Millionbucks to Psychotactics. Our training program from Treadmill to the Protege Program. Has the name increased sales? I don't think so. The names feel better. And customers respond more positively, but that's it. Yes indeed, it's way better to have a better name that a crappy sounding one, but that's not the point of this article.
The point is simple
First create personality. Spend your time on personality. And content. That's your real packaging.
And yes, give your service or product a name. I'm not suggesting you leave it nameless. But over time, you can fix the name; the packaging and everything else. For now, just get the show on the road.
A rose by any other name is still a rose.
About the Author: Sean D’Souza is founder of Psychotactics and author of The Brain Audit.
Next Step: Want to learn more about branding? Find the entire branding series in text, audio with cartoons!
Subscribe : Get Updates via RSS | Get Updates via Email (Fill in your details in the top-right hand form)
Christian Russell says
This is a rare and valuable take on how brand relates to an actual sales strategy…engaging people on a personal level is what counts. It’s what social media pushes us towards, yet most people in marketing still don’t want to sell.
This post, to me anyway, shows the value of going beyond marketing to the next level…selling. In other words, engaging people on a personal level and connecting them in as intimate a way as possible with the value your company offers.
People with sales experience know this is true…a smile and a handshake are more powerful than a corporate brand any day of the week.
Sean D'Souza says
Which is why I always get people to start “planning their businesses” by deciding their personality. If you don’t know your personality, and don’t demonstrate it clearly, you’re missing out on the whole factor of engagement…and a powerful memory hook.
Akash Sharma says
Hi Sean thanks for sharing the post, loved the way of presenting things, You are right on the point the brands name do not matter first up and packing is very important in the start as no matter how remarkable your product is without a cool package it would be really hard to get it noticed.
So the point to be noted is that the packing part comes in the first place as compared to the making part but for retention the of customers, brands need to work hard on the latter.
Zachary Williamson says
Nice post! Here’s one for ya… In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.