Creating a brand image that resonates positively with consumers is something every company needs to succeed - but it doesn’t come easily. Gathering community feedback removes the guesswork from your brand design process.
Every business graduate or self-starting entrepreneur is familiar with the following phrase: “A brand is one of the most valuable assets a company owns.” The importance of a strong brand image and the power of intangible assets (logos, branding phrases) is drilled into the minds of young professionals all across the global business landscape - and for good reason.
Creating a brand image that resonates positively with consumers is something every company needs to succeed - but it doesn’t come easily. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Nike allot yearly budgets for their marketing teams in the hundreds of millions. Very few businesses are able to compete with that level of advert spending and brand development; however, achieving strong brand resonance in the minds of consumers is still within reach for smaller firms and start-ups.
Companies like Trader Joe’s, Patagonia, and Costco all found great financial success through non-traditional marketing campaigns. Although they may not pour as much money into their branding efforts, individually, each company possesses strong, resonate brand imagery.
To develop a healthy brand image that works for your product line or business, utilizing the same brand development practices utilized by billion-dollar corporations is often the best strategy for success. What practice yields the best, most immediate results for your brand development process? Consumer research and feedback.
To showcase how Helpfull’s surveying methodology can transform the way you develop your brand, we’ll be creating our very own product line from scratch; and we will be utilizing the Helpfull community’s guidance throughout the creation process.
First, let’s take a brief look at:
When developing customer-facing brand designs, it’s important to first have a clear idea of what exactly makes up a “brand”. According to Investopedia, a brand is “an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word, and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others.” To expand on this: a brand encompasses all the various elements that make up a company’s public image. It’s as broad and overt as brand logos and company slogans, and as minute and precise as proprietary fonts, color hex codes, and stationery type.
For this article, we’ll be focusing primarily on how to create a resonate brand name - one that can be applied to a diverse product line, and one that will score positively with our test audiences.
When developing brand names, the best practice is to keep an open mind and develop a large, diverse pool of ideas. The more choices you have on the table, the greater chance you have of developing a brand-name that sticks. Keep the following considerations in mind when drafting your list.
A product name must have:
If you have a clear understanding of what a brand name must entail, the process for developing these ideas becomes much more approachable. For aid in the creative development process, look at the traits shared by successful brands. Strong brands often utilize one or more of these elements in their names:
One last tip to consider when developing your brand name is to develop a list of words that relate to your desired brand image, or your product line. A list of words that pertain to your company can be used to directly develop your brand name (by combining certain words), or at the very least can guide your creative development as you work through the creative process.
When you’re finally satisfied with your list of potential names, cull everything down to about 8-12 of your strongest ideas. With a short-list handy, we can start the process of surveying consumers and narrowing down our contenders.
For the purpose of our experiment, we developed a theoretical start-up company in need of some serious branding help. Once we had our target market in mind and a clear idea of the products we would sell, we propositioned the Helpfull community for aid:
“My company is ready to launch a line of pens made of recycled cardboard & paper by-products; we're hoping to follow it up with a line of other Eco-friendly stationery, and we need to develop a brand name for our products. Which of the following names sound most appealing to you? Please leave any notes or comments you have on the names provided.”
Using a simple text-comparison survey, we asked 100 Helpfull consumers to choose their top brand names from the eight we had developed:
In just 20 minutes, we’ve received our first batch of testing results. Consumers responded most strongly to the names Sustationery, Nature’s Mark, Recyclick, and Eco Savers. We can now disregard the other naming conventions moving forward; but before we continue developing names, we need to consider the new insights and critique we’ve received from our Helpfull pollsters.
In the comment section, pollsters share their considerations on the many brand names we’ve asked them to test for us. They gave us feedback on everything from the "pronounceability" of the name to brand image clarity, and even commented on the effectiveness of the puns in some of our choices.
The ability to garner so many second-opinions in such a short time-frame means that we can readily incorporate consumer feedback into our design process. Learning from what our polling base has given us, we’re ready to move into the second phase of testing.
Getting multiple rounds of feedback on our naming choices is the best way to ensure our brand is going to resonate with the largest number of consumers possible. We do want to develop and narrow down our selections as we move through the development process - so this time, we’ll only be testing four names.
For the second survey, we decided to drop the weakest performing name from our shortlist - Eco Savers - and replace it with something new. We wanted to test how well consumers responded to blunt, professional nomenclature - so we’ve subbed in the name Sustainable Stationery in our testing batch.
Another batch of testing comes and goes, and we’re left with new leaders in our on-going name development process. This time, consumers voted overwhelmingly for Nature’s Mark - a brand name they viewed as: professional, clever, relevant, and memorable. They noted how the “Mark” aspect of the name relates back to our position as a stationery company - much like the name Sustationery does - while being less overt, and therefore more professional.
Although Nature’s Mark performed to a higher degree than the rest of the choices, we’re not ready to disregard them entirely. Dropping Sustainable Stationery from the list, we take our three strongest contenders with us into the final round of surveying.
In order to get the best feedback possible on our brand names, we wanted to develop a survey that would test the associations consumers make between our brand name and the products we’re looking to sell.
The Gestalt Theory asserts that the human brain identifies and categorizes similar visual elements together in order to form a unique and significant mental concept. When the brain recognizes the words “Coca-Cola”, we’re not thinking about just words on a page; we’re conceptualizing the colors of the brand, our past histories with it, and the emotions we’ve associated with their products.
In order to test the associations audiences make between our brand names and our brand imagery/products, we developed a rough example advertisement for each of our three naming concepts. When looking at color choice, we sought to go with primarily greens and light browns - two colors that are strongly correlated to the concepts of growth, nature, friendliness, and optimism.
After a half-hour’s time, our final batch of testing is completed. Given the success of the Nature’s Mark brand name throughout all three of the testing stages, we’re confident in moving forward with our brand development.
The best strategy for developing brand ideas and product concepts will always be rigorous consumer testing. The largest firms in the industry would not spend millions of dollars a year on focus groups and product testing were it not for the strong, immediate results that these tests yield.
The healthy, positive reception both of our final ideas received from our Helpfull audience over the three surveys tells us that we’re moving in the right direction for developing our brand. We were to continue work-shopping these ideas, another round of tests is very likely to leave us with a brand-name that is sure to send us sky-rocketing to the top of the sustainable-stationery industry.
An intuitive user-interface, coupled with the ability to gather hundreds of consumer responses in just minutes, are just a few of the features that make Helpfull the ultimate tool for any artist, designer, or marketer.
Take your branding to the next level with Helpfull feedback - sign up today.
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