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Brand Management 101: Branding and your Brand Name

Branding is everything in the world of mass consumerism. Here in Dubai, graphic designers and brand managers get off on the market’s massive need for what’s new and what’s hot. And depending on how you present whatever it is you’re selling, an effective brand management arm will be a big boon in presenting your products to the public.

Put it in a simpler way: if you look good, people will like you.

Sounds simple? It is, and it isn’t. Trying to look good at that dinner you and your wife are going to is one thing, but trying to look good for a whole generation of consumers without establishing a personal relationship with each one of them.

Lose the Bullhorn

Can you imagine yourself standing on top of a moving vehicle with a bullhorn, breaking the silence of an afternoon plugging a corner-store grocery you just opened? In a way, the method you’re using to reach out to the public is branding. Those of us in the industry would like to call that method guerilla marketing, and while it’s an effective method of creating localized brand awareness, it’s not exactly the best way of creating the best image for your business.

I mean, think about it—who would trust a grocer who’s disturbing the peace? Well, sort of. They know about you, great. But they’d remember you as that guy who went around town, waking everybody up with your bullhorn and your noisy vehicle.


The Basics of Branding

But to be able to brand yourself well, it’ll do you good to remember the barest essentials involved with brand management.

To be able to do this effectively without putting yourself to shame, you need to know the basics of branding. To wit, the basics are the following:

Brand name

The brand’s identity

Approach to brand management

The first two generally answer the basic who and what question. The third in the mix, is a more complex matter, and deserves a section all its own. For now, let us focus on the brand name and identity.

For most people, the brand name is the brand itself. That’s a common misconception—the brand is the complete identity of a product or trademark, while the brand name is what it says it is: a name. However, along with your logo branding, the brand name is probably the first thing potential consumers will see, so don’t play down the importance of your brand name!

There are three ways of defining the type of brand name you choose for your business:

Descriptive brand names are names that sum up what your product does. Take the case of the soda brand Sparkle, or Pop. This is to branding what a direct sell is to sales—it is up front and in your face, so to speak, leaving very little to the imagination.

Another direction you can take when coming up with brand names is the associative brand route. This way, you can start off your relationship with potential buyers in what I’d like to call a more conversational note. Take Sony’s Walkman product, for example; this is what it’s like when a product talks to your consumers. The name gives them an image of what they do without telling too much about what they do, and conducts a mental conversation with buyers. By mental conversation, I’m talking about how the brand name attracts the curiosity of the consumer.

Finally, the last type of brand naming scheme involves coming up with freestanding names for your product. In essence, while this naming scheme hardly involves the innate purpose of the product, this gives you the leverage to get fully creative with the name and use that as a draw for potential consumers.

The brand name is the most basic, but possibly the most fundamental, element of brand management. Next time, we’ll start discussing corporate branding identity and how to maintain that identity throughout your market.