Branding, ideas, and planning

Brand development includes design of a logo/wordmark, a globally consistent color scheme, and letterhead and business cards. A logo is your company’s first impression to the consumer, and consumers are quick to make judgment about the company based on the quality of the logo. We aim to create logos that are simple to read, very memorable, and logos that display quality and professionalism.

We develop a short, memorable name that consumers will use rather than a long name that will be turned into an acronym. Then we develop a corporate identity package that signals “quality” to business, medical referral sources, and especially consumers.

Brand Name Guidelines

  • The ideal name is one that cuts through clutter and is remembered.
  • A usable name is one that is short, easy to pronounce and has few syllables.
  • A good name will consciously or subconsciously create positive images or perceptions in the mind of the user.
  • Having a descriptive name is helpful in a NEW industry without competition. If you are in a mature industry, facing a lot of competition, descriptiveness is not that helpful. It’s better to have a memorable name.
  • Names with three or more words will NOT be used and will typically be turned into acronyms in common everyday usage, as people will not repeat three words and will find a way to truncate the name into either two words or initials (IBM, FBI, CIA, et al). Also, anticipate what may emerge (all real world examples); National Medical Enterprises begets NME, pronounced “enemy.” Physicians & Surgeons Hospital begets P&S Hospital pronounced “penis hospital.”
  • Descriptive names (e.g. Urology Partners) are impossible to protect or secure with a trademark and are almost always headed for name conflicts and legal costs down the road with others who may already own the name via first usage or others who pick up the name after you.
  • Geographic limiters help make a name easier to protect, but it makes geographic expansion impossible. Better—have a brand name with a geographic limiter as subtext or a line extension. This also enables you to personalize a clinic to every local market or franchise out of state.
  • Exit strategy: Naming a company after a principal is disastrous for future exit strategy after the company becomes successful. Who wants to buy Suarez Associates when Suarez wants to retire?
  • The ideal name for protection and quick trademarking is to create a NEW word not found in the dictionary, usually involving letters not commonly used like x, q, or z. (e.g. Xerox, Fina, Exxon, Oryx, Zima, etc.) or a word derivative (e.g. Integra, Promina). Other techniques that also work include taking two words and eliminating the space between them (e.g. MedIngenuity).
  • Exclude rather than include people in the name development process.

Naming Process

To develop a name that works, you need to EXCLUDE participants, rather than INCLUDE participants in the process.

The tendency is to include everybody, which is absolutely the wrong approach. Involving everybody in the process only serves to dilute and water down solid, creative ideas into a vanilla-sounding name that pleases everyone and ultimately says nothing. In name development, less people is more. Remember, name committees produce some of the worst ideas for names.

The same idea should be applied to test-flying a name on family members, employees and customers for their creative input and rubber stamp of approval. If they were experts in name development, they’d be earning a living doing it. Remember that their core training as plumbers, lawyers and CPAs does not include brand name development.

Still want to wrap yourself with mass opinion and research? Consider this fact: “New Coke” was the most market-tested product in marketing history, based on customer taste tests comparing it favorably to Pepsi … along with name studies and market research on the promotional brand name campaign. Everyone involved in the name and concept affirmed that it was a winner. Yet, “New Coke” goes down in marketing history as the most expensive new product bomb of all time.

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