Posted: March 1, 2018 |  AUTHOR: KEN FOX | CONTACT ME

 

Brand naming has always been challenging. The brand name process gets even harder with so many companies around the world launching new products and services. This is especially true in the Asian countries: China, Japan and India, as well as in the U.S. The classic guidelines for brand naming have not changed:

      1. Make its easy to pronounce and remember

2. Make it be unique or distinctive

3. Be sure it has no negative connotations (or meanings)

It is always worthwhile to create brand name objectives first for a specific assignment. Other useful objectives (besides the above)  may include: make the name connect to a line of products or to be associated with a brand portfolio, such as Corolla to Toyota or choose a brand name reflecting usage, such as Easy-Off®, Band-Aid® or Chapstick®.

Many cases exist where brand names chosen were misused due to not understanding a foreign country’s culture or language. The Chevrolet Nova’s (automobile) name in Spanish means “do not go,” which likely confused or deterred potential buyers about the Nova’s introduction in Mexico. Another example includes giving white roses on an airline company’s initial flight from the U.S. to Hong Kong when the color white, among traditional Chinese, is the sign of death or morning.

Before showing a randomly selected starter list of global brand names, notice how many already established  brand names begin with a vowel, such as: Alibaba, iTunes, Uber, IMAX, Everlast, Evian, Olay and Old Navy. This may make global brand name registration easier since fewer brands in total begin with a vowel. Note the new brand names below beginning with a vowel.

  1. Alexa-is the name of Amazon’s voice ordering system
  2. Allbirds- wool and sustainable fabric shoes (U.S. based company)
  3. Allswell is the name of Walmart’s new line of bedding products
  4. Altaba, Inc. is the new name of Yahoo as of July 16, 2017
  5. Avid is a new hotel brand from IHG Hotels targeting young, budget minded travelers
  6. Baojun E100 is a electric car made by General Motor and its local partner in China, SAIC Motor Corp, translated baojun means precious steed
  7. Denza is an electric vehicle produced jointly by Chinese manufacturer BYD and Daimler.
  8. Didi (Chuxing) is the name of a Chinese car ride sharing company (like Uber)
  9. Everlane is the name of a clothing manufacturer based in San Francisco, California, USA
  10. Grab is the name of a car ride sharing company based in Singapore.
  11. Haval is the name of a Chinese SUV model made by Great Wall Motors
  12. Indochino-A Canadian retailer of custom made men’s suits.
  13. iPace is the future name of a Jaguar electric car to be available in 2018
  14. LimeBike. A U.S. bike sharing company
  15. Luxgen is a luxury car from Taiwan based Yulan Motor Co.
  16. Ofo, a Chinese bicycle sharing start-up company
  17. Ola is a car ride sharing application in India
  18. Onduo is the name of a joint venture between Verily (a division of Alphabet) and Sanofi (a French pharmaceutical company) with a goal to develop a product aimed at diabetes management
  19. Moxy is a new hotel chain from Marriott
  20. Shendun is the name of Alibaba’s Security Team. The Chinese word can be translated to magic shield.
  21. Toton, a Malaysian video streaming company
  22. Tru is the name of a new hotel chain from Hilton
  23. Urus is a new model name from Italian car maker Lamborghini
  24. Véa is a new line of healthy biscuits by Mondel?z
  25. Zinoro is a Chinese electric car brand from a joint venture between Chinese company Brilliance and BMW

Commentary

Brand naming remains part art and part science. Being creative, but following guidelines and being sensitive to cultural, legal registration issues, per country, are factors to take in consideration. Shorter names seem popular and typically offer multi-lingual pronunciation ease. However, checking or even double checking with more than one credible person in a country for usage is recommended to avoid any misuse or trademark infringement.

It used to be thought naming a service was more difficult than a physical product but the names emerging for services show creativity, memorability and distinctiveness. Clearly, names to be used globally need more careful scrutiny. However, any brand name created these days should be considered a global name, whether used now or that way in the future.

I would not mind having a Shendun t-shirt, if available, now that I know what is means and regardless if most of the world does not know. This image value or equity of any name  is in the eyes of the user, buyer or fan. 

Resources:

  1. China’s Tech Giants Have a Side Job: Helping Beijing Spy, Liza Lin and Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2017.
  2. Sweet Things Ahead for Mondelez, Bill Alpert, Barron’s, November 27, 2017.
  3. Verily Eyes Overseas Markets with $800 million Infusion from Singapore, Med City News, Jan. 26, 2017.
  4. Softbank’s Family is Home to Many Rivals, Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2018.
  5. How Tesla Electrified the Competition in Los Angeles, Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2017.
  6. Are China’s Cars Finally Gong to Make inroads in Western Markets, Norihiko Shirouzu,  Japan Today, December 15, 2017.
  7. China’s Didi Targets US$287 Billion Car Sharing Business with New Rental Network Alliance, Sarah Dai, South China Morning Post, February 7, 2018.
  8. This Small Electric Car Made by GM’s Chinese Joint-Venture Can Cost Just $5,600, Fred Lambert, Electrk, February 8, 2018.
  9. Silicon Dragon News, March 12, 2018.
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©2017, The Global Galaxy blog is produced by The Soundings Group, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, www.thesoundingsgroup.com. The company is an international business consulting firm, specializing in new market assessments, market entry strategies and marketing guidance. The scope of Global Galaxy is to cover timely international trends, issues and business building ideas. Its purpose is to educate, inform and stimulate thinking for business opportunity analyses.

 

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