How to choose a seller name for your brand

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Branding is one of the most important marketing strategies, but it is also one of the most valuable intangible assets of an organization. So much so that, for example, a large part of the business of a franchise has to do with other entrepreneurs being willing to pay royalties for using their brand or commercial name, which is recognized and is already positioned in the market.

If you want your company to have a selling brand, the first thing you have to consider is that it should be easy to remember and pronounce , both in Spanish and in other languages. In addition, it must be associated with some special attribute or benefit of what it represents. That is, bring to mind specific qualities or associations regarding the product or service.

“It must be taken into account that, in accordance with Mexican legislation on industrial property , a trademark cannot be descriptive or evocative of the products or services to be protected,” explains Rafael Manterola, lawyer and specialist consultant in industrial and intellectual property. For example, avoid words like comfort for furniture, creamy for creams, or crunchy for snacks.

You should also be careful with generic words, those that necessarily designate the product by its common name. As skimmed, it designates a type of milk.

In addition, it is essential that, together with the logo, your brand projects the image of the company. Remember that these elements contribute to those first impressions that consumers form when they know a product and that they weigh so much in purchasing decisions.

Here, one of the most recognized cases in the world of marketing: the Escudo soap . Does it sound familiar to you? Everyone in Mexico knows it, even if they don’t necessarily use it. And it is that Escudo is one of the best positioned brands within the universe of personal care products in the country. But it is also one of the biggest mistakes in the history of Mexican marketing.

At the end of the 80s, the company Procter & Gamble (marketer of the product) made the decision to integrate many of its brands in various countries. As a result, Escudo soap and all its variants in other countries were unified under the American brand Safeguard.

This canceled years of positioning and trust on the part of the brand, which was replaced by an unknown, strange and difficult to pronounce name for the Hispanic market. The result: soap sales plummeted, until the multinational company resurrected Escudo a few years later.

What a good brand needs

Remember that your brand will be the clearest expression of your business. It should work well in all formats, including product packaging, letterhead, and non-visual media, such as the telephone.

These are the eight rules that you cannot ignore when choosing the name of your business.

1. It must be memorable. Here the goal is to stay in the mind of the consumer clearly and without competition with other stimuli. Some examples of well-positioned brands are the Miguelito chamoy and the Mi Alegría toys . Another case is the Vips cafeterias: in just four letters and with a single syllable, this name brings us the memory of the atmosphere, smell and decoration of those restaurants. Another interesting example is Gansito Marinela, which owes its positioning, in large part, to its slogan: “Remember me.”

2. It should be easy to pronounce. If consumers cannot pronounce the name of the product, they will be less likely to buy and prefer it. What sounds strange and alien will hardly become an essential part of daily life, although it is not impossible. Some examples of brands that faced this challenge but managed to position themselves in Mexico are Häagen Dazs or Facebook .

3. It must be compatible with the rest of the company’s brands. In the case of individual brands for specific products or services, they must fit into the linguistic universe of the company to which they belong. A good example is Sabritas’ Fritos, Doritos and Cheetos snacks, which have separate names but are compatible in terms of image and positioning.

4. It must correspond to your target market. Take into account who your typical buyer is. Are you male or female? Young or mature? Sophisticated or traditional? The brand must talk about these valuations. Burberry sounds different from Baby Creysi, because its market segments are very different in terms of gender, age and socioeconomic status.

5. It must make global sense. This means that it should be easy to pronounce in other languages, especially English, Chinese or the language that is spoken in that market where you want to land. This will facilitate the process of expanding your business abroad at some point. But also, it is important that the brand is not confused with negative words. The Bimbo bakery had to change its brand in the US market because the word bimbo , in English, is a derogatory term against women.

6. It must convey the essential values of the product or service. Your brand must communicate the core benefit of your offering in an attractive and original way. The Ciel brand transmits clarity and lightness, while Suavitel promises with its name that the clothes will be soft. But this transmission of values does not have to be so literal. Many times you can imply what your product is about in an indirect way, by the way it sounds. Tin Larín is a play on words that sounds fun, friendly and nostalgic, as is the chocolate it refers to.

7. You must register. Your brand must be unique and inimitable. It is key that you do not look like any other and that you say what you have to say in the best way. To protect it, it is important that you register it with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) . In addition to shielding the identity of your company and your products, it will eventually allow you to market the brand through franchise or licensing systems.

By the way, before opting for a trademark, it is worth investigating whether it has already been registered by someone else. This will save you unnecessary design, stationery and labeling expenses if it already belongs to a third party. It is also important that it can be articulated as a domain name for your website. You can do free searches for availability on sites like GoDaddy .

8. You must like it. Finally, before deciding on a name for your company or for your new product, discuss the options with friends, family and trusted customers. This way you will know which one has the greatest acceptance. You can do a small survey in your area or electronically. And, because most purchases depend on emotional criteria, brands must also have that “something” that makes them attractive. There are names that “sound good” and others that do not. So take into account the opinion of the market. The brand is a communication tool, and that is why you must make sure that the message reaches the receiver … and that it arrives well!

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The Bimbo bakery had to change its brand in the US market because the word bimbo, in English, is a derogatory term against women / Image: Bimbo via Instagram.

The DNA of your brand

One of the tests that experts do to qualify trade names is to find their “genetic code.” You can also do it with your brand. It analyzes the cultural, emotional, linguistic, historical and symbolic associations of the word and the logo, as well as their semantics and structure.

If you already have a potential brand (with name and logo), submit it to the following questions:

A What are the cultural references of the brand? Example: Google evokes the number googol (10 to the hundredth power), which illustrates an unimaginably large number, similar to infinity, a central value to the cyber search service. The fact that the letters “o” are multiplied according to the number of search results refers us to this mathematical elasticity.

B What is the emotional weight of the brand? Example: Tía Rosa is, in emotional, textual and visual terms, a warm, homely, Mexican and soft brand.

C What are the linguistic references of the brand? Example: Juice brand Snapple sounds like apple. It also sounds like snap (the act of snapping the fingers), to give an idea of speed. The linguistic result would be the fact of obtaining the flavor and nutrients of an apple quickly and without effort.

D What symbols does the brand use? Example: the Televisa logo is constructed from three symbols: the sun, the eye, and the horizontal stripes. The sun symbolizes that which, without fail, rises every morning, in addition to allowing us to see each other. The eye obviously represents the act of looking. And the horizontal lines represent television static. These three elements are part of the brand’s values.

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