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Although the global business landscape is as lush and fruitful as ever, it’s also in a constant phase of growth, transformation, and competition.
Rising—or remaining at the top—is a simple function of how well your business keeps up with market trends because the survival of your business, dreams, and legacy all depend on your ability to understand and apply what works.
The war for market share spares no one, and it never truly ends. But your most important weapon—and one that’s often overlooked in this battle for business survival—is your brand name, and we’re going to take a deep dive and explore:
Everyone knows how gruesome the corporate world can be in devouring businesses. Weak businesses with low brand value are propped on the brink of survival and failure, while average businesses—which are relatively stable for a time—either rise to the top or join weakening businesses in a slow, painful death. Only businesses that rise to the top can survive and set trends for their respective industry.
So how can your business increase its revenue and perceived value? Well, let’s find out.
First, understand that what separates high-performing businesses isn’t the fact that they’ve got more superior products or services. A great product or service alone doesn’t automatically guarantee your business’s success.
History is littered with businesses that were blessed with amazing potential but ultimately failed in the wake of a competitor with a superior brand. Remember Hydrox and Oreos?
Businesses like Blockbuster, Compaq, DeLorean Motors, Kodak, Jawbone, MySpace, and a ton of others have all gone the way of the dodo because they didn’t build brands that complimented their awesome products.
“The most important thing to your business isn’t your sales, product, or assets, but your brand name, and living up to it.” – Anonymous
To put things in perspective, FSB—the international body that monitors and makes recommendations for the global financial system—estimates that 5.8 million businesses were created in 2019, adding to the 30.2 million small businesses in the country. That’s a lot of competition birthed in one year.
And trust us, the Coronavirus won’t slow them down. Why? Because economic setbacks are the perfect inspiration for fresh entrepreneurs looking to start the business of their dreams. Expect the sorry state of the economy to fuel more competition.
So, to get your business ahead by increasing sales, you need to focus on increasing the value your brand provides to its customers. And if you’re wondering how you can do that? Then our answer for you is….
Consider Nike, Inc. founded in 1964, by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. At the time of its creation, the company was just another Sportswear Company in a massive industry already dominated by established companies like Puma, Adidas, New Balance, and Converse, which Nike acquired in 2004.
But instead of clinging onto the brink of survival, Nike pushed their brand to the top, and successfully overturned their misfortunes to become a leading global sportswear brand valued at $35 billion, with over 46% of the market share, and sales reaching $10.3 billion in 2020, the year of the COVID pandemic. And how did Nike achieve such remarkable revenue? It began with their brand name.
Nike’s rebrand from Blue Ribbon Sports was the start of the company’s success. The rebrand forced the company into a position where it needed to align itself and live up to the image and expectations of victory the brand name ‘Nike’ communicated.
Now, just like Nike, a great brand name is a great magnet for everything, including the perfect logo, and catchy tagline. But it doesn’t end there because just the same way Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant used, loved, and endorsed Nike, a business with a powerful brand name would easily attract endorsements from A-list celebrities, increasing the brand’s sales and revenue with time.
Remember: “It’s not just the best product that wins, but the best ‘known’ one.”
The simple answer is that branding is a lot of things. We’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of relegating branding to just their products, colors, typography, logos, and taglines, and it has never ended well for them.
Branding goes way beyond your products. It’s the message you send to the world about your business’s values and ideals. It’s a careful blend of stories, visions, relationships, and memories communicated to your audience in an interesting manner.
The goal of these messages is to ignite the flame of expectation in the minds of your audience. And when their personal values and expectations align with your products or services, then a solid brand-customer relationship is born.
Branding has a close relationship with marketing, but the crucial difference between the two is this; marketing gets your product to the customer’s radar, branding keeps them coming back for more.
One look at successful brands like Uber, Zoom, Google, Apple, and Facebook, and you’ll notice the excellence of their brand names. These behemoths all bear cool, easy, memorable, brandable, and interesting names that leave lasting impressions on the minds of their customers.
It shouldn’t surprise you to know that the most successful companies at branding also become the most successful companies in their industries. Your brand is much more important than your product itself.
First, it’s necessary to understand that there’s a lot that goes into building a great brand. As you must’ve guessed, there are several branding elements that must be applied carefully in order to craft the perfect brand image for your business.
Let’s look at some of these branding elements:
But, among all the branding elements that go into crafting a great brand, your brand name is king. It stands above all other branding elements. It’s one area that can make or break your business even before you set up shop. It’s the key ingredient that inspires success and gives your business a cohesive identity.
And so it’s crucial that you focus on strengthening your brand name. Nike’s Phil Knight understood this and quickly changed his company name from an underperforming ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’ to ‘Nike’. Sergey and Larry also went through a similar process and changed Backrub to Google.
But it doesn’t end there because Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo—a rather complex company name—became Sony, and Confinity became PayPal. And let’s not forget Jeff Bezos, who dabbled with names like Abracadabra and Relentless before settling on Amazon.
Seeing how these companies kick-started their growth by choosing powerful brand names, let’s explore how effective brand names can help increase the value and revenue of a business.
A great brand name rolls off the tongue. It makes it easy for customers to link your brand name to their needs without having to do a barrel roll. The clearer and more visually appealing your name is, the easier it’d be for customers to recall your brand, and patronize your products whenever the need arises.
One thing business with potent names enjoy, besides the fact that they stand out within an overcrowded industry, is the sheer amount of free referrals they get from their customers.
And one sure way to leverage the power of referrals is to have an appealing name that customers won’t be able to stop talking about. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.
Your brand will never make a lasting impression with your customers unless it successfully connects with them. Forbes reported that the average customer encounters over 5,000 ads per day, and only those that successfully connect with their audience will ever generate sufficient sales.
In the words of Professor Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School, “People buy out of emotion and justify with logic”. 95% of buying decisions are made this way. One sure way to create this emotional connection is through a brand promise, and the best way you can do this is through your brand name. Brands like Amazon and Google have successfully transformed their brand names into a promise customers can confidently rely on.
WhatsApp had a special connection with its audience. WhatsApp was synonymous with privacy, thanks to its encrypted message technology and the policy; “Privacy is in our DNA”. But the moment WhatsApp renegade on this policy—their promise—the company faced severe backlash that resulted in an exodus of millions of customers.
Building an emotional connection must stand at the very soul of your brand identity.
A great brand name does a lot of great things for your brand, and one of them is positioning your business for success within its industry. Investors, employees, associates, partners, and other industry participants will show more interest in your brand and take it more seriously if your brand name meets the standard.
Venture capital firms, high-skilled employees, and the media will want to fund, join, and talk about your firm because of its excellent brand name. And why’s that? Because a great brand name connotes an equally great brand and wonderful product.
This explains the astronomic rise of brands like Netflix, Lululemon, Costco and Alibaba. A great brand name sells every time.
You can also build your business’s success by using affiliate marketing to leverage on the brand names of other successful businesses. This would go a long way in increasing your brand’s visibility across the industry and also attract tons of customers to your brand.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Anyone who’s ever been to a PR firm planning a fresh brand campaign, would’ve gotten a firsthand understanding of the chaos involved, it’s almost as bad as the NYSE trading floor.
Understand that this chaos is the type of situation bad brands put their owners in. Not to mention the scandals and controversies bad branding can cause to a business’s reputation, like we saw with the Washington Redskins, Uncle Ben’s, and Aunt Jemima.
A great brand name makes it easier to build an efficient PR campaign, company culture, and also navigate through a change in public perception and values. Brand names that are easy to use can also be seamlessly assimilated into popular culture.
Brands like Apple, Amazon, McDonald’s, Google, Nike, Coca-Cola have all become cultural reference points in their respective industries.
A real business asset is a brand name that makes it easier for you to manifest your destiny.
By now you should know that branding is much more than just making a logo or slapping a tagline on your product. Branding is all about creating worthy experiences for your customers, delivering your brand’s promises, and building a culture that’ll set your brand apart as the years go by.
So, take the time and invest in creating a great name that’ll not only make your business unique, but shoot your brand to the next level.
Grant Polachek is the Head of Branding at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with 25,000+ customers from early-stage startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning business name ideas.Read More About Grant Polachek