What’s in a Brand Name?

Some people put a lot of effort into developing a name for their business and/or product brands. There are even specialised branding consultants who spend their working lives simply, or not so simply, naming “stuff”.

In broader terms, there are four approaches to naming things:

  1. The founder/s approach
  2. The functional approach
  3. The symbolic approach
  4. The hybrid approach

The first style, popular with professional service firms and fashion labels, leverages the personal brand names of its principals or founder, or an imaginary character. Examples include Ernst & Young, Toll Logistics, Louis Vuitton, Dan Murphy and Disneyland.

The next approach has given us many brand names we recognise well, such as OfficeWorks, LiquorLand, CouriersPlease. These names clearly communicate the functional nature of the businesses they represent.

The third group relies on a simple word – with or without a historical or other logical reference. Think about brands like Nike, Apple, Virgin, Google.

The fourth and final category combines the second and third approaches. These are emotive, evocative and engaging brand names. However, they often provoke questions rather than simply provide answers for prospective buyers. They capture the attention of prospects in a memorable way that achieves “cut through” in a noisy world. Examples include Cirque de Soleil, Transparent Audio Cables and Perpetual. Some of these names speak more to the advantage and ultimate benefits of using a product or service rather than its features. They are often associated with a high involvement experience style service.

The Personality Behind the Brand Name

Strong brands are not just names, or graphical logo devices. Successful brands have distinct personalities that have been intentionally designed and crafted over time. A brand identity is forged through a consistent pattern of behaviour, in the same we way people earn their reputations. An important process in designing and propagating a consistent brand experience is the development and documentation of a brand style guide.

Introducing the nLIVEn Brand

If you are a client of nLIVEn or member of the nLIVEn community, our brand lives in your mind with distinct associations. If you have not “met” nLIVEn before, let me tell you a bit about its personality.

The nLIVEn brand fits best into this fourth category. The following is an excerpt from The nLIVEn Brand Style Guide:

“The nLIVEn Brand has its own unique personality. Understanding the combination of characteristics and qualities that form the distinctive character of nLIVEn is critical to creating a consistent brand experience over time. Consistency builds trust – the currency of our success.”


The nLIVEn Brand Personality

nLIVEn means to energise and inspire.

To enliven is to make something more entertaining, interesting or appealing. To enliven is to make someone more cheerful or animated. The origins of the word enliven relate to restoring to life, giving life to, intensifying the life of.

At nLIVEn, we see our two primary roles as assisting clients:

  1. Master the way they manage energy – the fundamental source of life. This applies both at an individual and collective level. We focus on the principles of expending, recovering and conserving energy.
  2. Generate inspiration – in their lives, organisations and communities.
 Inspiration is a vital but missing ingredient in the lives of most people. It is not a well understood concept and is often confused with motivation. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.

At nLIVEn, we take an “inside out” rather than “outside in” approach to developing and releasing
human potential. nLIVEn is a place where our clients take centre stage – rather than our team.

When the nLIVEn brand was first being created in 2000, our intention was “to communicate a distinct set of qualities and characteristics to position the nLIVEn brand…”

We’ve worked on style guide projects across a range of industries through our “LIVE The Brand” Program. If you are ready to enliven your business, developing a professional style guide is a great way to get started. The discipline of articulating and organising your thinking about what kind of brand experiences you most want to consistently elicit for your clients is a challenging yet rewarding investment of organisational capital.

We’d like to know, which of the four approaches did you use when you created your brand name?

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