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December 19, 2011

Play With Your Brand Naming At Your Own Risk

GoodyearNamingAds.pngI found an interesting article today that highlights how companies are playing with their brand names and logos to engage customers.

Much of what is covered in the article I have written about before, such as the Snickers Snacklish campaign, where the company played with the English language itself, creating words like "Peanutopolis" and "Nougatocity."

Goodyear, not to be outdone, has temporarily replaced its name with "Whoa Nelly" in some of its ads, and even used "Saint Bernard" in its ads for snow tires.

The article quotes one marketing professor saying "As you see the market changes and your brand feeling old in the minds of consumers, you want to modernize your brand to make it feel current. It's a challenging task because any time you do that, you risk alienating your current customers."

This is partly the fault of social media, partly the fault of computer graphics programs that allow people to play with brand names anyway they wish.

Companies are realizing that consumers want to have a say in the logo and even the name. They want to be part of the entire evolution of the brand.

The question that this leads to, in my mind, is how playing with the name affects the image of the brand in the consumer's mind.

At least one blogger has some interesting thoughts on this question. Essentially saying that it comes down to the fact that changing the brand identity affects current consumers differently than new consumers.

IconicBrands.pngIt's no surprise that new consumers seem to embrace the change, while old consumers, not so much.

This is seen when a brand goes iconic... when it drops the name altogether in the logo, like Starbucks and Apple.

In short, only a few companies with hugely well known brands can either alter their brand name in their advertising or drop it altogether.

It is an interesting phenomena to watch from a distance, but I think the overall principles of naming and branding still apply to 99% of brands.

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Posted by William Lozito at December 19, 2011 8:44 AM
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