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Brand Nomenclature: No More Experiments

Brand Nomenclature: No More Experiments
Brand Nomenclature: No More Experiments

Brand Nomenclature: No More Experiments

My brand is my baby. What do I call it?

Yes naming a brand or a sub brand is difficult.

Have you ever noticed that companies usually play safe and keep numeric for technological products, French words for fashion related brands and go for Italian words if food products are in question? People hardly go for neutral names. They don’t experiment with nomenclature anymore. There are many reasons to it.

Firstly, this is because nomenclature today is more like a war between laws and marketers. There is a gamble of trademarks, copyright etc…

Also, companies think that nomenclature might be a very expensive task.And for something, like nomenclature- derived -results for brands, which is highly unpredictable, spending a handsome amount might not be worth it. But such is not the case. Nike is one of the best examples as given by Karen Post. Nike is Greek for victory and is also the Greek goddess of victory. The name came in a dream to Jeff Johnson, Nike’s first “real” employee and replaced the original name of Blue Ribbon Sports. It beat out Phil Knight’s own name change idea of “Dimension 6.” However, the company did pay Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, $35 in 1971 to design the trademark “swoosh.”

Shelf life of the brand is also important. Experiment in Nomenclature is too big a risk for the shelf life of the brand which at the end of the day a more important requirement. And if the new product is a sub brand, then companies rarely follow master-branding. Rather they go for umbrella branding. Take the example of Maggie soups. Nestle didn’t name it differently. Instead it let it follow Maggie which was a safer option. This was because of the stiff competition from Knorr which mastered the soup market.

Nomenclature at the end of the day should also keep space for brand enlargement. For e.g. cherry polish can’t get into cosmetics or for that matter food industry. Similarly Burnol can’t become a competitor of Maaza. Pepsodent can’t enter face wash market but it can enter mouth wash industry.

So companies stick to their objectives and leave a very less space for the nomenclature to do the magic. But what they don’t realize here is that this way a brand becomes too diluted over a period of time.

Yes, there have been cases where companies have done naming- blunders. But those have been only because of cultural and linguistics forces acting when companies tried to take their brands transnational. The internet is full of such examples. Take the example of coca cola as explained by goofball’s research. In China, Coca-Cola was initially rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, in different dialects the phrase translated as “female horse stuffed with wax” or “bite the wax tadpole.” Coke replaced it with the much better Ko-kou-ko-le(“happiness in the mouth”).

Why were sales of GM’s Nova so abysmal in Latin America? Because Nova is Spanish for “doesn’t go.

Pepsi’s late ’60s slogan, COME ALIVE WITH THE PEPSI GENERATION was mangled in a Mandarin translation as PEPSI WILL BRING BACK YOUR ANCESTORS FROM THE DEAD.

Nowhere in the above examples was it found that experiential nomenclature took a toll on the brand. Instead the reason they didn’t work was because they were not experimental enough.

This shows how nomenclature of brands can be a stepping stone in the creation of a strong brand identity thus forming a brand image which is a copy of the identity.

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