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Brand appraisal

24th August 2022

It’s all in the name?… Discuss

To an extent, indeed, a name will initially give you a country of origin or industry. It should be the best encapsulation of the brand.

Sometimes the name is old and it has become synonymous with a product. So let’s take the word, Bass. What might it mean?

Is it a low note in an orchestra, a fish or a beer? It is Bass Brewery, one of the oldest trademarks in the UK, if not the world.

Some of the oldest names come from food or food supplements because their products might have changed but there is still a need for the product. Oxo cubes are still sold although other formats of the product might be marketed for greater convenience in the instant gravy market.

Jumping to the tech side of naming, we have ‘Tesla’ which leans on the heritage of ‘Nikola Tesla ’one of the giants of understanding of electricity. You imbue the electric car with some heritage from a man who died in 1943.

Just as Ferdinand Porsche or Pinnoferini gave their design talent to a German and Italian brands of motorcars.

The difference is that Porsche designed the look of the car….and Pinoferini the same. Tesla was dead over 60 years when his name was attached to one of the biggest corporations in the world.

As we go into space exploration there are two sides to a branding coin.

The James Webb space telescope commemorates a famous NASA administrator. The mars rover ‘Curiosity’ gives a descriptor that might suggest the mission of the lander to be curious in its exploration of the martian landscape.

Last we get the name that is so long it can only be put down as an acronym – UNESCO and UNICEF. It is just easier most of the time to say WWF or RSPB.

These letters taken from the front end of organizations are in no way inferior to something like ‘Microsoft’.

Making sure the story matches the culture, mission, vision and reputation of the brand is very important.

You can destroy the brand of a country or elevate its status by making the right choices. Even in the world of politics, we see that our thoughts on Russia and Ukraine as brands can come down to the leadership.

History can also be viewed from different perspectives. Statues once venerated are put into storage. Re-appraisal of the ethics of certain leaders, powerful people want them viewed in a different light.

Keeping on top of the brand and making sure it is aligned with basic honesty, respect and owning up to mistakes is half the battle.

So a name is only as good as the custodians who manage it. Decay and misuse will lead to deterioration and none relevance if it is not constantly appraised.