The 7 Keys to Creating a Powerful Brand Name

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Branding Insights #4 – The 7 Keys to Creating a Powerful Brand Name

Whether you’re creating a new brand name for a new business and you have a clean slate to start with, or if it’s time to rebrand your existing business with a more powerful brand name, you’ll find what you need here.

Before we dive into the 7 keys, it is fundamental that you have done the foundation work, which is defining exactly who you customers are, what you sell them (and what you don’t), why they buy from you, and what your key difference is to your competitors.

The outcome of these fundamentals is your brand story. We strongly recommend that you have the essence of your story defined before you work on your name. It will help you create something relevant and uniquely yours.

The 7 Keys to Creating a Powerful Brand Name

Let’s dive in. The 7 keys to creating a powerful brand name:

  1. Stickiness – For your brand to be memorable you will want to create an instant, concrete image in the mind of the prospect by the sound of your name. For instance what comes to mind when you hear the brand name: Bluefox? For a more well known example, how about Apple?
  2. Keep it Short – The best names are only 1 or 2 syllables long. If you cannot do this, and there are instances where it simply isn’t possible, look to the next point. The benefits of keeping it short are that it is easier to remember, less room for error when searching and easier to create a simpler and more powerful brand identity (Your logo or brand mark).
  3. Control the nickname – People are inherently lazy and they tend to shorten long names. Think Coke vs Coca cola. 1 syllable vs 4. If you consider the nick name at the outset then you can create a powerful brand name from the nickname.
  4. Avoid acronyms – Even though your brand may have years of meaning prior to the acronym, they are meaningless to your new customers as they will not likely be exposed to them.
  5. Spelling – Spell it correctly, and as it sounds, without any clever letter swaps. You will not want to have your staff continually spelling it out for emails and web address, nor will you want to miss any business for the same confusion.
  6. Hidden meanings – Check that the brand name doesn’t mean, or is associated with, anything embarrassing or insulting elsewhere on the planet. This is all the more important for international businesses.
  7. Finally, it has to be a freehold name for you to legally own it – Thorough checking of all the relevant databases is recommended. These include trademarks, business registration, domains etc.

Further to the last two points. It is always best to develop a list of names and do your due diligence on each before committing to one. Try not to get too attached to any particular name until you know it is freehold and you can secure all the assets you need, in particular the all important domain names, or you will likely be disappointed.

If you have any questions, comments or stories to share, I invite you to do so here. Make sure to subscribe so you get all the Branding Insights as we release them.

Branding Insights #3 – Content Marketing

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You want to stay in the mind of your market. How does your marketing do that?

Let’s start with what you are doing to communicate right now. If you’re not already aligned with educating and informing (and sometimes entertaining) vs the hard sell, then I suggest you think about this: What are you likely to find more valuable: interesting and helpful information; or a sales promotion message?

I am not discounting the latter for a minute, there is however a time and a place. In fact there is a simple rule you can embrace for social media (which I have re-stolen through Joe Pulizzi) of 4-1-1, which is for every 6 content pieces on any given channel:

  • Four should be pieces of content that are relevant for your audience, sourced from and linking back to your influencer (this is makes you a valued peer).
  • One should be content you’ve created – useful and relevant.
  • The final One piece should be sales-related — like a coupon, product notice, press release, or some other piece of content that no one will likely pay attention to.

Like Joe says, the numbers don’t have to be exact, it’s the philosophy that makes this work.

So what should you be doing?

There are many types of content marketing tactics you could be using (see the chart below for B2B tactics). If you don’t yet have a handle on it, there are quite a lot and it could seem daunting. The trick is to pick one and nail it first, then move on to your next one.

The Sponge - Content Marketing Tactics


Once you’ve selected your content type, you will need to create an editorial calendar – some suggestions on this are further in this article. Decide on the frequency of your pieces. Do not over-commit, it is best to be consistent and on time.

Take the time to define who it is you are speaking to. My last email about creating buyer persona profiles is the perfect first step. You can read the post here. I implore you to do this step first.

If nothing more define these items for your key buyer:

  • The 3-5 top priorities they spend time and money on
  • What success means to them
  • How you fulfil these success factors
  • Their buying process
  • And the decision criteria they will use to evaluate you.

With that defined you can set about identifying your goal for your content and a mission statement to critique each item against. This is important to get right up front, especially when you have a team of contributors, so that everything is aligned to the same story and objective.

It is much easier said than done! You will need to put a great deal of thought into it. Here is an example to get you thinking.

Inc. magazine has its mission statement in the first line of its About Us page.

“Welcome to, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.”

Breaking it down their statement includes:

  1. The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
  2. What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration
  3. The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses

More on content mission statements here


Once you have created your content mission statement you can begin your search for influencers in your niche that you can connect with and share content, remember that you need 4 out of 6 to come from other valuable sources. Look for those who are already successfully creating content for your audience. Get involved in their channels with comments and questions as well as sharing their content.

Creating your own content

Your communications for both prospective customers and existing customers needs consideration and planning, keeping in mind that after sales communications are even more important than pre-sales. Remember that oldy-but-goody that it’s significantly cheaper and easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one? Keep them happy, turn them into raving fans, and give them content to share! A winning combination!


When writing your content consider these tips:

  • Be relevant
  • Be human, be yourself
  • Don’t be salesy or use gobbledygook in your content.
  • Provide value!

Creating an Editorial Calendar

It can be as simple as buying a wall planner from your favourite office supplies and using Post it notes on key dates with the key information for your organisation, here are some suggestions:

  • Author
  • Suggested Title
  • Channel
  • Call to Action
  • Proofreader
  • Due Date
  • Status

You’ll notice the inclusion of proof reader in that list. I cannot stress this enough, proofreading and fact checking. Make sure you are bang on, every time.

Alternatively you can do this online using free tools such as an editorial calendar plugin within your WordPress blog, this way all your blog contributors can know where everything is at from anywhere. Combine this with a spreadsheet to hold the details, I recommend using Google Drive because of the sharing capacity and live collaboration on each document for your team (seriously, try it if you have not). Create specific tabs for all the info for each item similar to the suggestions above.

Make sure you enter key dates into your calendar such as holidays and significant events that impact your audience and what you want to share.

More on Content Marketing

If I have you buzzing about content marketing now, there is a book you must read by Joe Pulizzi called Epic Content Marketing – Get it, read it and get started today.

I’d love to hear your challenges, your successes and thoughts via the comments area below.

Warmly, LF

Buyer Personas. Are you Irrelevant?

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 Have you ever missed out on a sale because your cost was higher than the competitors, even when you know your offering was far superior, but the customer couldn’t see past the price?

If you are like me, you want to be able to stand clear from those decisions made solely on price. You want to happily be paid the premium price your product or service deserves.

The key is making your value relevant to your buyer, starting with your introductory marketing and sales material. If you’re not strategic in your value messaging within this initial contact, your generalised marketing messaging will be shuffled in with the same from your competitors and you become a price compared commodity.

The generalised marketing messaging falls into two categories. The first is anything that can be easily rebranded by your competitor as their own. Second is messaging that doesn’t speak directly to addressing the value gaps for the buyer whose eyes are on it.

The latter point leads into the many levels and types of buyers, even within the one sale. It is quite rare that a product or service would have one single buyer. This means value is subjective and your marketing message of value needs to be relevant to the different types or levels of buyer who it is presented to. This is true for both for B2B and B2C categories.

Take for instance a single market type for a B2B service. The end user at the buying company may see significant improvement in speed, safety, reliability, quality control etc, as valuable propositions. However, using these propositions with their CEO, whose interests are in higher level areas, results in being lumped in with the competitors to be decided purely on cost.

For B2C a brand’s value proposition and messaging needs to consider multiple buyers too. A brand will have multiple buyers, from stockists, to investors, through to individual product range consumers. Then different types of consumers with geographical differences like language, customs, pricing and more.

An example is a car company. They will have a variety of models for a variety of buyers, with levels of models within these that appeal to even more buyer groups. In each individual model there can also be multiple buyers, like a small hatchback being an ideal first car for a 17 year old girl. It needs to speak to her in messaging that appeals to her wants. Considering the value proposition for the parent who would likely be buying the vehicle may be wise too.

Naturally this means that your value proposition messaging has to be relevant to the person who is being marketed to at each and every encounter. Think of each as selling it to each decision maker on each step of the sale. It does not mean your brand’s core purpose and positioning needs to differ though, so long as it too is relevant in an overarching, meaningful and authentic way.


How do you get your message right for each group?

Simple. Define each and every buyer type and create a buyer persona for each one. A buyer persona is your ideal, stereotypical Jane or John that buys your offering. Remember, there can be multiple buyers for a single sale, like the example of front line user and CEO, or the father and daughter for the hatchback. You define her (or him) by working through a series of questions (our buyer persona template is available on request) to define their buying criteria and character.

Once you have created your buyer personas, you use them to guide your messaging for that category, always referring back to “Is this relevant to Jane?”

Action Step.

Choose one buyer persona to develop during each month, or quarter depending on your businesses capacity. During that period, refine and roll out your marketing for that persona. Start by testing smaller segments to get the value proposition message right, and then roll it out. Accompany that with training of your sales staff to engrain the new value proposition for that persona. Take your time and do it right and start with the most profitable and frequent buyers for your offerings.

As with any marketing, the key is to test and measure, then evolve your branding and messaging with that new knowledge. Business today is won by those who understand all the value gaps they fill, and knowing how to communicate that value with relevance for all their different buyers.

If you have any questions about this piece or if you’d like a copy of our buyer persona template, or if you’d like our help with implementation, simply comment below.

Warmly, LF

Tracking your Marketing for Success – Part 1

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With 2015 in gear, there’s no better time than now to take action on your marketing. Let’s start by delving into the art of tracking everything!

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” ~ John Wanamaker

You have got to think like an investor. For every dollar invested, what multiple must it return? For marketing it means tracking every campaign, sub campaign and medium, so that each conversion can be attributed to a source. This data allows you to refine campaigns to improve results, drop the duds, and turn up the highly profitable campaigns for as long as they continue to be.

So how do you track everything?

Start by defining the units of measurement that equate to a profitable conversion for each of your campaigns. It varies between businesses and for you it could be one of the following:

  • Online Sales
  • Email List Subscribers
  • Trial Sign Ups
  • Appointment Bookings
  • Contact Form Completions
  • Stockist Location Webpage Impressions
  • Completed Phone Orders
  • Proposals Sent

What can you track?

You are limited only by know how, or the systems you can put in place to track and measure. We will discuss offline, manual tracking and measurement in a future post, but for now here are some of the common things that you can track online via URLs with relative ease.

Social Media

  • Facebook Advertising Campaign Ideas and variations
  • Different Content types
  • Different Messaging to target groups

Landing Pages

  • Different Layouts
  • Different Messaging and Call To Actions
  • Different Pricing
  • Campaign Specific landing pages are a good idea for more than just tracking!
  • Track landing pages through to successful conversions or bounces.

Email Marketing

  • A/B Split testing content in your campaigns
  • Your different subscriber segment response

Google Adwords

  • Campaign ideas
  • Marketing messages
  • Target Markets
  • Keywords

Every piece of marketing you do should be tracked, measured and tested, so you know what to keep doing, stop doing or start doing more of. We will cover how to track URLs in the next post, so keep checking back.

This post was part of a Branding Insight email that we produce monthly. If you’d like to join the list and receive valuable branding and marketing insights in your inbox each month, then you can do so here: The Sponge Branding Insights

The Sponge Turns 13 – You Get The Gifts!

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The Sponge Sydney Turns 13

The Sponge has turned 13 this month and we’re celebrating by giving the gifts. We’re giving away proven, actionable branding and marketing strategies that you can use in your own business. A tidy snapshot of the latest techniques and technologies, bursting with usable insights all wrapped up and delivered to your inbox each month. To enjoy the birthday festivities by joining the list today. Here’s the link:

Over the past 13 years we’ve had the privilege of working many awesome people and creating many cool brands! We are thankful for all the opportunities and the trust we’ve been given and we’re excited about what the next 13 will hold, both with technological developments and creative innovations.

Of course we look forward to growing with many more cool new branding and rebranding projects, so let me know if you have any branding, rebranding or marketing projects coming up! As I shared in my recent post, now is the best time to brief your design team.

P.S. We are putting together this month’s insights now so join the list now to catch it. Here’s the link again:

11 Reasons NOT to Put Off Your Marketing Until Next Year

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The Sponge Branding Sydney - Get Ready for 2015

So you’re probably thinking that there is no sense in starting any marketing or branding discussions with your branding agency this side of the new year, right?

Given the change in the business landscape I challenge you that this is absolutely the right time to do so for the following 11 reasons:

  1. The gaps in your marketing that you and your team have identified over the past year are still fresh and waiting to be solved.
  2. You may have a product or service to either launch, or run a promotion for Australia Day, Valentine’s Day, or school going back. Working backwards, now is the right time to get started.
  3. Go into the new year knowing you are set for a bigger year because your marketing and branding is sorted and you can hit the ground running.
  4. Due to it being traditionally a quieter period, your branding agency will have time to harness the full potential of focused creative time
  5. Turn your usual quiet period into a proactive time to rearm your sales team by developing fresh new, relevant marketing and sales tools to motivate and inspire them when they return.
  6. Technical projects like websites and apps can be developed, tested and debugged, and even safely launched while web traffic is lower.
  7. If there is any content or homework for your team, often the break provides quiet time for that to be managed. With brainstorming and strategy sorted prior, execution is much easier.
  8. Some businesses simply do not close for the holidays, so now is the best time to get your branding and marketing right, by virtue of there being no time like the present.
  9. By bucking the trend you’ll be armed, tested and ready before 2015 gets into full swing. There is a great energy that comes with being proactive and ready.
  10. Reflect on the resolutions you made for your brand in 2014 that were not met. Use the time now to make these things and more happen for your brand in 2015.
  11. Your smart competitors will be readying their new marketing to strike first thing in the new year. If you wait and are reactive, rather than proactive, you will be forced to do something that will be rushed and likely too late. Or you could do nothing at all, and neither are what your business needs. Standing still is really falling behind.

What other reasons can you think of to lock in a session with your branding agency in the coming days?

If you haven’t got a branding agency, or feeling you have outgrown your last one, I would love to discuss any ideas you are thinking for 2015 and how my team at The Sponge can get you set. Call 02 8586 0000, or contact through and we can book a time.

Brand Identity Crisis?

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Brand ID Crisis

There are common faults that often occur within a brand’s identity as it grows or changes over time. These faults can form a sort of identity crisis and if not identified and addressed can begin to have a detrimental effect on how a brand is perceived. But what am I talking about exactly?

Many brands and particularly young brands trying to establish themselves in their market may initially have a good or catchy name, or story behind their brand. But usually they have a fairly small or specific offering. As they begin to do well and grow they look to expand or branch out their products or services and this is where the trouble can start.

One of the things that often occurs is the name of brand may contain words that directly relate to a specific product or service type and once the brand goes beyond the point of only this offering, then the name isn’t a complete fit for what the brand has now become. Most often the flagship product or service is what the brand has built their reputation on, but if they’re looking to become renowned for more than that one thing, having it feature in the brands name makes it difficult to do so. It limits the brand and how it is perceived in the market. This is why a name ideally should be just that and not a descriptor of an offering.

The meaning and story behind a name can be very important too, it gives your brand a solid foundation that helps serve as a basis for marketing and messaging to your market. If your audience can identify with your story and likes what you are about then it not only will grab their attention, but is the first step in creating brand loyalty. Reinforcing your core story, attitude or values that define your brand in your messaging and across all your touchpoints is key to engaging your market in the right way.

Another area to keep an eye on is consistency, in particular with your brand’s logo/mark. We’ve often seen brands, mainly in the retail or product based markets, use altered or differing versions of their brand mark or logotype. This is generally a bad idea, especially if the style of the different versions conflict with the main position or story of the brand. Some of the reasons this occurs are: a brand has newly introduced a line of products for the opposite sex to their primary one, as part of their growth strategy; Or theming their mark for a specific event; or style relating to a certain demographic; or even range of product.

Although theming for such things can be good to do, it is not something that should be done to the primary logo/mark itself. Graphic additions or elements which accompany, or have the primary mark integrated in them is a better way to go. That way you don’t lose your core identity and muddy the waters in your consumers eyes.

For main points of contact and across all major channels of your brand, you should be completely consistent. Using your brand in it’s primary form will create the stable and strong presence you want which helps build consumer confidence. You have to remember any touchpoint of your brand, be it print material, website, email, product or anything else could very well be the first time someone sees your brand, and if you are not consistent across the board then it can cause confusion if a new prospect sees one brand mark in one place then a different looking one in another.

Common faults of brand consistency can often be, using a handful of different fonts for the brand name on different items, using the mark with type on some items but just the type on others and using a completely different logo graphic to suit a certain style for an event or specific product. Are you guilty of any of these?

If now is the time to revisit your brand strategy, or it’s time for a complete overhaul, get in touch and we will set you up properly so you can grow with confidence.

Yahoo Serious?

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 Yahoo Rebrand Fail

Yahoo Old Logo

Yahoo have just revealed their brand new logo, designed by Yahoo’s in house design and in-house brand design group and product designers. And to be perfectly honest it lacks a lot of the character their old identity had.

 Of course there always comes a time when a company’s image needs to progress and a re-brand is in order. But in this instance it seems like a pretty big fail. Not only is Yahoo’s new identity bland, void of character and safe, I cannot understand why they would create something that leans far too closely to their main competitor Google. Even to the extent of adding a stock standard bevel.

Are they trying to set themselves apart or play copycat? All this came out of 30 days of work, perhaps it needed another 30 days. What do you think?

Contact us about your brand now. Contact Us