Why The Naming Of Brand Stretch NPD Should Be Taken More Seriously

In the majority of cases, naming of a brand extension just does not receive the emphasis it should.  We have even had cases where clients have attempted to use the internal project name as the new product name – “Brownie” for childrens’ bottom wipes anyone? And of course there is the list of names already registered by the company. Often we are asked to try and shoehorn in an ineffectual pre-registered name just to save time and money.

So what can a good name do to aid the potential success of your idea? Why is worth investing?

A good brand extension name can be so powerful as to instantly communicate the product idea – a beautiful shorthand so customers just get the whole concept in a flash. This is worth its weight in gold in today’s fast pace and attention short shopping modes

Here is a great example – Innocent first launched its fruit water under the Innocent juice stable with the name ‘Juicy Water’. The name created higher expectations around the fruitiness of the drink than was the reality. This resulted in confusion and disappointment. By totally re-branding the range with the name ‘this water’ it completely changed the concept in peoples’ minds, resulting in understanding and success. Tropicana had the same issue. The brand is highly associated with pure fruit juice. Unfortunately, Tropicana did not realise quickly enough that the name ‘Spirit’ failed to communicate the concept of a sparkling water flavoured with fruit juice. In fact, it lasted 9 months and was given considerable support before disappearing from our shelves.

It is strange then that clients seem to understand the time and resources required to develop a name for a new brand but don’t apply the same thinking to brand stretch ideas. Why would it be any different? In fact, it is sometimes harder, as the mother brand brings with it a lot of strong associations that often don’t hold true or need to be challenged when the brand stretches into new territories.

It would be nice to see the back of the ‘help us out of a hole’ naming briefs for brand extensions. You know, the type of brief that goes “the name failed in quant; we only have this to spend and a day to come up with some alternatives; can you help?”

Of course we can, but it is likely to be a quick fix. In an ideal world, the name should be at the very heart of the product proposition and should be created as such, not just be an afterthought. It is the ultimate expression of everything literally clicking into place for the customer. So can you afford to risk failing at the first hurdle?

Published 26th March 2013 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery