10 Ways To Build A Winning Brand Story: Part 8 of 10

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Garin Hess

By Jed Morley, CMO at Consensus

This 10-part article explains how to create a compelling brand story for your company, products and services. Great brands are great stories that are always in the process of being told, refreshed and continued. Great brand stories are easy to recognize and sometimes happen intuitively, but a clear framework can improve your chances of success.

If you missed it, read 10 Ways to Build a Winning Brand Story: Part 7 of 10

Part 8 of 10: Brand Name

The name of the brand is the first point of contact most people have with it by seeing or hearing it. Your brand name arguably supersedes the logo much or most of the time. In the best of all possible worlds, the positioning and personality of the brand would already be defined and inform the name. These elements can be breadcrumbs or sign posts to develop a name that’s more effective in setting up the brand experience.

A name that is highly abstract can come to represent all of the qualities of the brand and receive them over time as compared with a name that is very literal and description, telling you what ideas to associate with the brand from the get go.

A naming firm called Catchword has put together an overview of these different categories of brand names in a helpful Naming Guide: descriptive, suggestive, fanciful, language origins, and acronyms.

The Nike name combines the language and fanciful name categories as explained in the following description from Nike’s Consumer Affairs Packet in 1996.

NIKE, pronounced NI-KEY, is the winged goddess of victory according to Greek mythology. She sat at the side of Zeus, the ruler of the Olympic pantheon, in Olympus. A mystical presence, symbolizing victorious encounters, NIKE presided over history’s earliest battlefields. A Greek would say, “When we go to battle and win, we say it is NIKE.” Synonymous with honored conquest, NIKE is the twentieth century footwear that lifts the world’s greatest athletes to new levels of mastery and achievement. The NIKE ‘swoosh’ embodies the spirit of the winged goddess who inspired the most courageous and chivalrous warriors at the dawn of civilization.

The SWOOSH logo is a graphic design created by Caroline Davidson in 1971. It represents the wing of the Greek Goddess NIKE. Caroline Davidson was a student at Portland State University in advertising. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for his company. Phil Knight asked Caroline to design a logo that could be placed on the side of a shoe. She handed him the SWOOSH, he handed her $35.00. In spring of 1972, the first shoe with the NIKE SWOOSH was introduced … the rest is history!

Brand Architecture

A brand architecture maps out the relationships among the name of a company and the names of its products and services. As David Aaker explains in his book “Brand Leadership,” there are two main types of brand architectures: Branded House and House of Brands, with varying degrees of endorsement in between.

A “Branded House” approach leads with the name of the master brand first and carries it across all of the company’s products and services to leverage shared brand associations. Honda, for example, offers the Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Honda Odyssey. On the other hand, a “House of Brands” approach, like the one P&G uses, leads with the product name: Duracell, Gillette, Tide, and Olay with the company name in the background, if at all. This method allows P&G to offer more than one product in a given category to maximize total market share. It also allows companies to disassociate themselves with brand experiments that fail or become tarnished in some other way.

Source: “Brand Leadership” by David Aaker, p. 105.

Source: “Brand Leadership” by David Aaker, p. 105

Lance Armstrong was closely associated with Nike as one the brand’s premiere sponsored athletes until he admitted to lying about his doping practices. Because Nike “does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner,” Nike terminated its contract with Armstrong while still supporting his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity.

Nike takes a branded house approach, with some nuances. Nike apparel that simply has the Nike swoosh on it is meant for performance purposes in training or competitive situations, whereas Nike apparel that has the combined NIKE name and swoosh logo lockup on them and are meant for lifestyle use. Interestingly, Nike’s product strategy retires old technologies from its performance product lines and feeds them into its lifestyle products.

Nike’s brand architecture distinguishes between apparel that simply has the Nike swoosh on it, which is meant for performance purposes in actual athletic training or competition, and lifestyle apparel, which has both the NIKE name and swoosh in the logo.

Consensus reflects well on your brand name by ensuring that each member of the buying committee has a personally relevant experience with your product demos.

About Consensus

Consensus is Software as a Service (SaaS) that automates custom product demos to accelerate sales. Our interactive demo platform personalizes video and documents so each prospect automatically learns about your solution in the most relevant way. This cuts sales cycles and increases close rates. Our Demolytics™ dashboard helps you discover and engage the entire buying committee by gathering analytics and tracking who’s involved, what’s important to them, what they watched, and who they shared it with. This drives consensus and gets to a purchase decision much faster than traditional sales methods. Clients have cut their sales cycles by 68% and jumped close rates by 27%.