The average American knows about 12,000 words (though Shakespeare was said to have had known 66,000) — the best brands are ones that own the most market share of a couple of those words.
CNN owns “news” in my brain. When I think of “reggae,” it’s Bob Marley — he owns it. There’s an awesome analysis of this in Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind (they discuss the concept of ladders (product categories) in your brain with room for just a handful of rungs (brands) — it’s the primary reason I voted it one of the Top 20 Best Business Books Of All Time!).
Who cares? Well, if your business wants market share of something, you have to decide which words you are going to try to “own” in my brain. …
After naming a product, the tagline may be the most important marketing lever you can pull.
Afterall, the name of the product opens up the conversation with your customer…but the tagline can immediately tell them what it is that you do — and what makes you unique.
You’ve probably seen how much I love lists.
So I’ve compiled a list of 50+ of my favorite taglines. Enjoy!
It inspired this simple list of naming tips (which I think is a good foll0w-up to 5 Tips On How To Name Your Brand To Be As Dominant As Kleenex).
Shake ‘n Bake (for cooking chicken) tells you the two simple steps — you shake (the herbs) and you bake (the chicken) — to make tasty chicken.
You may also consider the pain or urgency that your customer has.
For example, if you have dandruff and you want to address the flakes on your shoulders as well as shampoo your hair, Head & Shoulders shampoo is a darn good name.
Microsoft names its product because it focused on “micro”-computer “soft”ware.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is self-explanatory. People Magazine is pretty good too.
But don’t go too generic, warns the book Positioning: “Lite” beer from Miller was the industry leader but it lost its brand positioning when other beers co-opted the name (Bud Light, Coors Light, etc.).
The law sided with those competitors since “Lite” is generic and so similar to “Light” (as in opposite of heavy).
Below are six good ones I’ve used.
I think Google’s Keyword Tool is a great place to start as it provides you with the # of monthly searches being made for certain words/phrases.
Let’s pretend that I’m interested in naming a business that deals in “personality types” — type that into the search box.
I was intrigued when I noticed that at least 10 of the The Top 100 Synonymous Genericized Brands I posted included alliteration: brands like PowerPoint, RotoRooter, Google and Armor All.
What is alliteration?
The definition of alliteration is repeating the same sound in two or more words in close succession, such as:
“She sells sea shells by the sea shore.”
Alliteration is widely accepted in the research/scientific community as a tool to enhance memory.^
While alliteration in such toungue-twisters (there are also many in poems and songs) is fun — I’ve been thinking about alliteration in business and brands lately.
So, I’ve compiled a list of examples of alliteration used for commercial purposes (e.g. company names, products, real-life and fictional personalities and even fruit, sayings and other stuff).
How do you create a “Kleenex”-like brand that is synonymous with its product category?
After I crafted The Top 100 Colloquial Brands, I came up with some observations about these brands that might be good tips for you to use to name your brands.
Top brands use alliteration, which is typically defined as using the same sounding first syllable sequentially. Examples of alliteration in the Top 100 Colloquial Brand list I did include:
Alliteration is sometimes more broadly defined as using the same sound of any syllable when said in sequence,; using that definition, you would also add these Top 100 Brands as examples of alliteration:
An even broader interpretation of alliteration in which the last syllable has the same sound would allow us to include Mack Truck to the list.
Check out The Best Examples of Alliteration in Business & Brands piece I did for even more on the subject.
Many top genericized brands include a word that describes the purpose of the product. Examples include:
Note: You’ll note that some of the descriptive words are spelled differently (such as “Glas” or “Kool”)
And you can of course use two or more descriptive words in a row like:
Amazingly, 86% of the top 100 Colloquial Brands are two or three syllables long.
Ten percent of the Top 100 are four syllables long and 4% are one syllable long.
You’ll note that NONE of the Top 100 contain more than four syllables…interesting!
Don’t be afraid to use your family name. Examples of family-inspired names include:
I haven’t had time to check into how important first-mover advantage is to building a colloquial/genericized brand. Perhaps you want to take a crack at that!
How many brands can you count in the following sentence:
“I needed some aspirin, a band-aid, ace bandage — and probably a jacuzzi!– after my zipper got caught in an escalator while my realtor friend and I carried a bubble-wrapped ping-pong table from a dumpster to our jeep and slipped on our California stir fry with broccolini take-out.”
If you counted thirteen then you are correct!
I call these “Colloquialized,” “Synonymous,” or “Genericized” Brands — they are brands whose names are used in day to day conversations as synonymous with their product categories (e.g. more people refer to a “frisbee” than a “flying disc.”).
I made a list of the top 100 colloquial brands using one simple criterion: would I use the brand name instead of the product category if I was referring to the product/activity in a sentence (e.g. “I need a band-aid” versus “I need an adhesive bandage.”).