January 26, 2009
Recent Naming and Branding Failures Remind Us To Use Good Brand Names Wisely
An essay on brand conformity got me thinking this morning about the mysterious process through which naming and branding works, and doesn't work.
I think that we all accept that customers have a deep belief that well-named and branded products work better than brands that do not resonate visually or aesthetically.
The problem occurs when we misuse the magic of a brand name. One instance where this tends to happen is with brand extensions, and the way in which incredibly well-positioned and regarded brand names can be, quite frankly, abused. I'm thinking about Burger King underwear, Playboy Energy Drinks and $1200 Sleeping Beauty fountain pens.
Add Pre4cious Moments coffins, Hooters airlines, Cheetos lip balm and Salvador Dali deodorant and you can see where I'm heading with this.
The care and feeding of a good brand name includes being careful not to misuse the aura you have built around it like Bic's "disposable pantyhose" or the Harley-Davidson cake decorating kit have done.
There is no use building a solid brand when you are willing to introduce products that dilute the value and image that the brand conveys to the consumer. Extending a brand name beyond its rightful limits only has the power to diminish the quality of the brand itself.
My suggestion: Learn from the mistakes of others and build a brand name that lives up to its promise to the consumer.
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