In the 1970s, three teenage brothers from Detroit, David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney, formed a rock ‘n roll band called, wait for it… Death.
There was a lot of buzz about them at the time. They rocked hard, had great songs and were excellent musicians.
But there was also a problem. A big problem.
They were a band named Death.
And that was a huge turnoff to record executives, producers, and, um, pretty much everyone else.
Arista Records offered them a deal, but only if they changed the name. David (who had named the band and wrote the songs) steadfastly refused.
Not surprisingly, there would be no record deal for Death.
What’s In a Name? Everything!
Your brand name is your calling card. It’s the title of your story. And getting titles right is super important.
Shakespeare understood this. He knew that an audience had to be “positioned” before they arrived at the theatre.
The bard didn’t want his audience coming in cold and not knowing what to expect.
Shakespeare didn’t call his play Hamlet; he called it The Tragedy of Hamlet. Prince of Denmark. Yup, he knew the value of a good brand name.
“He gave comedies titles such as Much Ado About Nothing and All’s Well That Ends Well, so that each afternoon at the Globe Theater his Elizabethan audience was psychologically set to laugh or cry.” (From “Story” by Robert McKee.)
Make Sure Your Brand Name Isn’t Death
Your brand name is your identity. And it should excite people and make them curious to know more.
It should be fresh, catchy and create both a strong emotional connection and instant brand affinity. It should bring your brand to life. Not to death.
Alexandra Watkins know this.
Eat My Words
A former award-winning advertising copywriter, Ms. Watkins is the author of “Hello, My Name is Awesome… How to Create Brand Names That Stick,” an essential read for anyone who is in the market for a rebrand.
So why is she giving away her invaluable secrets? She was inspired by the Picasso quote, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Insightful, inspiring, fast, clear and fun, Ms. Watkins book provides readers with all the information they’ll need on how to create memorable and buzz-worthy words for their business name, brand name and domain name.
Ms. Watkins walks us through her entire process of creating the perfect brand name. This includes putting together a complete creative brief; brainstorming with your computer and a thesaurus; reviewing the names; picking your top ones and trademarking.
She also shares her SMILE and SCRATCH Test—a pair of acronyms for what makes or breaks a name.
It’s an important reminder that finding the fewest best words to describe and define your brand identity is a long and creative journey. To quote Blaise Pascal, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”