Brand Name Blues


Much has been written on the subject of brands – not least by B2B International! As we know, a brand is made up of many things – name, logo and values to name but a few. But can there be any doubt about the importance of a brand name? In a Thursday Night Insight article last year, Chrissie Douglas gave us some hints on selecting a brand name:

  • Brand names should be simple so that they are easy to understand, pronounce and spell. Two words in the name should be considered the maximum.
  • Brand names should be vivid in imagery so that the mnemonics present strong memory cues.
  • Brand names should be familiar sounding so that much of the information to which the name relates is already stored in the mind.
  • Brand names should be distinctive so that the word attracts attention and does not become confused with other brands.

So, what happens if you get it wrong?

According to research by YouGov/G2, Cillit Bang has been voted the UK’s most disliked brand name. Of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed, a quarter of women, a fifth of men and 27% of over-55s did not like the brand name. Yet, the cleaning brand, which was launched in 2005 by Reckitt Benckiser, is actually considered by its owner to be a “power brand” and its sales show it to be an extremely successful product. So, clearly, brand name is not everything.

Yet, of the top 10 most disliked brand names (shown below), four are new names for previously known brands, including 3 in the top 5:

  1. Cillit Bang
  2. Cif
  3. Starbucks
  4. Pasta Hut
  5. Snickers
  6. Veet
  7. Accenture
  8. Aldi
  9. Plenty
  10. Mates

Cif used to be known in the UK as Jif, Snickers was for many years called Marathon, and Veet previously went by the name Immac. This perhaps underlines the importance of getting the brand name right in the first place. Once people have started to associate certain values and attributes with a brand, any changes can lead to confusion or mistrust. Unless you recognise the importance of brands and adopt a well thought-out marketing and communications rebranding strategy, you could find yourself with a lot of brand rebuilding work to be done.

To find out more about branding, please refer to several of our white papers, including:

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