Contributed by Nanda Sibol, Director, Brand Strategy of Anthem

Nanda Sibol

Consumers today are literally bombarded with brand messages on multiple media platforms and devices at home, on the go, in stores and on the shelf. It is overwhelming for consumers to make sense of it all and sift through the clutter and noise to get to what is important to them. Consumers today have little time to read printed copy or listen to and watch an ad; instead they are scanning the surface or skimming to get a quick read on what a brand or product is about.

New brands are acknowledging this shift in consumer behavior, and, in order to build quick awareness, they are encapsulating their key message—either the functional product benefit, point of difference, or positioning—into their brand name. Take for instance the brand “Eat Well Enjoy Life” that conveys the functional and emotional benefit in its name. In these instances, the brand name becomes the brand sound bite. We’ve seen several examples in food and pharmaceuticals where brands are developing their distinct sound bites to build affinity and awareness in seconds.

Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame has created a new 100% gluten-free flour. Leveraging the standard cooking instruction, “cup for cup”, and distilling it further by using the abbreviation, the brand C4C is a new product that can be used to replace regular cooking flour. C4C telegraphs the key benefit that this product can be easily used with current recipes in the same proportions to create favorite baked goods, now just gluten-free.

The pharmaceutical brand, Help, purposely chose its name to minimize consumer confusion. Each product starts with Help followed by a consumer problem, such as Help I’m tired. With such communication, consumers clearly understand the product benefit, leaving nothing to doubt. A brilliant example of naming that gets to the point and stands out against the industry norm of fanciful, scientific sounding nomenclature.

Being direct about its product promise is the brand Good Food Made Simple. While the brand name is a bit lengthy, it is so straightforward that it effectively builds affinity. The brand then backs up the promise and gives its name meaning with these statements on its website: “Our commitment is in our name: we make good food, simple. Simple to make. Simple to trust.
Simple to enjoy.”

As a marketer, what can you do to pique the interest of your over-messaged, skimming consumer? Imagine yourself in a brand speed-dating situation. You have five seconds to tell your target shopper your story and what you can bring to the relationship. Try taking your positioning statement, key brand benefit, or elevator pitch and put it into plain English to create a brand name. For existing brands, apply this clarity and simplicity of messaging to all forms of communication from packaging to digital. Consumers are pleading: skip the marketing jargon and just get to the point!

Nanda Sibol is Director, Brand Strategy in the San Francisco office of Anthem, a global creative agency that actively connects brands with people by amplifying desirability—creating an insatiable thirst for brands from package design to brand campaign to drive brand performance.

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