What is a Brand Name? It’s Everything

by Small Business Planned

In essence a brand is a label, which represents the promises your business pledges to deliver. This could be a promise of quality, competitive prices, convenience, fun, nostalgia or prestige. If you successfully choose a great business name, the operations of your business will have a better chance of success with your target market.

A brand is shorthand for a specific promise

A brand is shorthand for a specific promise

In most cases your brand name is the shorthand for your small business.

A good brand will stand for key ideals that resonate with your target market. A bad brand will stand for indifference or nothing at all. Unsure if you believe me? Let’s step out behind the theory for a moment and examine your emotional responses to brands:

The Emotional Strength of Brands

Below is a list of famous brands. Take a moment to read each brand name

  • Toyota & Ford
  • BMW & Audi
  • Ralph Lauren & Yves Saint Laurent
  • Vespa & Aprilia
  • Amazon & Borders
  • Google & Yahoo
  • Facebook & Myspace
  • iPhone & Nexus
  • Pepsi & Coke
  • Pixar & Disney
  • NASCAR & Formula 1
  • Nike & Adidas
  • Intel & AMD
  • Nintendo Wii & Playstation
  • Yamaha & Kawasaki
  • Heinz & Campbell’s
  • Nikon & Olympus

Notice how your emotions rise and fall depending on the brand you are thinking about? Your response could be anything from a fleeting rejection to a strong bond full of imagery and praise. Your response is based on your experiences (either personal or second hand) and whether your experience lived up to the promises of the brand.

In a comparative situation, when you buy a brand’s product or service, you’re giving its ideals the thumbs up. You are identifying with something within that brand. All things remaining equal, you will generally stay loyal to this brand as long as its price tag matches the value of the brand promise.

What Makes a Successful Brand?

Firstly, a brand must own a promise that is easy to understand and valued by its customers. Famous brands that have managed to own a promise include:

  • Wikipedia – Free information online
  • Moët & Chandon – Prestigious champagne
  • Miele – Premium quality electrical products
  • Disney - Fun entertainment for the whole family
  • Tiffany & Co – The world’s premier jeweler
  • Harley Davidson – The original motorcycle
  • Photoshop - The standard for graphics professionals
  • Dove - The soap with ¼ moisteriser
  • IKEA – Great value furniture
  • Black Berry – Access and send information from anywhere
  • Heinz - Trusted food staples

Secondly, all brand activities must consistently apply this promise. This means, your promise needs to be embedded through every internal and external touch point and process.

This is where successful brands must be strong and maintain the focus. For months. For years. For decades! But most importantly – through staff changes. Brands should not waiver from their promise just because a few internal people are bored or looking to justify their value. Brands that stray from their promise undermine their long term value.

Brands take decades to build. It is the patient meticulous business owner that will reap the benefits.

What’s the name of your favourite brand? And why?



(To help you maximise your business)

15 Recommended Downloads for Small Business Owners

10 Website Mistakes That Cost You Sales

How to Get More Customers Contacting You Automatically

[contact-form-7 id=3220 title=Under Post Newsletter]

12 thoughts on “What is a Brand Name? It’s Everything

  1. Gee

    Great article David.

    While it used to take decades to establish a brand the net has changed all that. An online brand can be developed more quickly. Look at Goggle for example

  2. Thomas

    Being an Internet Marketer I am impressed with Google. Just how they have become a household name and a synonym for internet search really blows my mind. Speaking of Brands that take decades to build I wonder how Toyota will fare with all the drama going on. Decades to build….one sensational news story to destroy(although some say there response was pretty bad).
    .-= Thomas´s last blog ..Magento Email Templates =-.

  3. David Moloney

    Thanks Lina, Gee and Thomas.

    Lina, the brand names that I think are great include Nescafe, Kleenex, Sumo Salad, Victoria’s Secret and MTV. These brands capture the essence of the products/services they sell without needing to be supported by further branding.

    Gee & Thomas, yes – the online space can accelerate the profile of brands (and the opposite), however the online user is more fleeting and less trusting of brands they don’t know – therefore the purely online brand really needs to go the extra mile to develop a profile.


  4. Ange Recchia

    Hi David, I followed your link from my place :)

    Branding is very important for any profile to develop and get recognized. Like you mentioned certain brands do raise your emotions depending on how we feel about them.

    A few of my favourites are Apple – I love my MacBook, Honda – they make safe and reliable cars, and Cadbury’s – I’m a chocolate fiend. They all make me feel good.
    .-= Ange Recchia´s last blog ..Jim Carrey on Thoughts and Intentions =-.

  5. Eileen

    Hi David,

    Liked the section where you talk about your emotions rising and falling as you look at the list of brands.

    I personally believe that a brand name is just “that” and it is the bi-line / value statement or mission statement that is attached to the brand name that talks about delivery. While the brand name or image does communicate to its market, it is the message that has been attached to it that gives that brand name a “feel”. You are right in that if a brand does not deliver then generally people will not buy that product again.

    I like the Volvo brand. I never used to but because they have changed the way their cars look but still provide all the features of a great car, I have changed my view over the years. Besides, only BAD Volvo drivers wear hats. :-)

    Thanks, Eileen.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Salicylates =-.

  6. Harry Lynn

    G’day David,
    I must agree with Eileen above – the name Volvo always has connotations of strength, reliability, safety and in the case of my 3 TURBO Volvos, great performance and economy. One is for sale on Carsales.com.au!
    I read years ago that the most recognisable brand name and its’ logo was Mercedes Benz and the 3 pointed star.
    Great choice of subject.
    .-= Harry Lynn´s last blog ..How Proud Can One Be ? =-.

  7. David Moloney

    Thanks Ange, Eileen and Harry. Yes, Volvo has a strong brand which strongly supports its ideals. I’ll be covering the key elements of brand name, logo and branding in later articles. In the eyes of a customer they’re the same thing, but as a business owner understanding the difference is important.

    Good luck with the car sale Harry.

  8. Colin

    I have to agree with Lina with regards to Apple – to me it is the creative, exciting nemesis to Microsoft’s boring, but established image, which appeals to me. I like brands that break from tradition and put the finger up to the more conventional brands. Some of my favourites and their biggest competitors: Virgin/British Airways, Apple/Microsoft, Firefox/Internet Explorer.
    .-= Colin´s last blog ..Inspirational People – Richard Branson =-.


Leave a Reply to Eileen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>