Naming and Branding

Meteoric Success with Metaphoric Brand Names

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Is a metaphoric brand name the way to get noticed. And what symbolism lies behind names like Amazon, Apple and Orange?

Modern day marketing is a very different beast from its old school cousin.

Meteoric Success with Metaphoric Brand Names

Years ago it was almost obligatory that a brand name include indicators of either the company or the product or service. Or both. But names based on so much information can be long winded and not at all in the snappy style of things we are accustomed to and expect these days.

In recent years there has been a huge sway toward metaphoric branding or naming - that is using a word that conveys an alternative but concise view of the product or the company and what it offers. A metaphoric brand name is more than just a name; it is used to resonate in a deeper way. And it is usually one which might seem slightly incongruous, at first.

Take Apple, Inc. for instance. An actual apple appears to bear no relation to the products or services offered by the company, but the name works. This is an odd choice because traditionally the apple is associated with sin if one is to take biblical references into consideration. In such instances the apple is representative of forbidden things and temptation. In folklore and fairytales the apple, in its poisoned form, is used to the destruction of good. But for Apple, Inc. the name works wonders. It's hard to see quite where the metaphor comes in with an apple and Apple, Inc. perhaps it is meant to suggest the company is at the core of its particular industry?

Other metaphoric brand names and their possible connotations:

Amazon: The names suggest nothing about books or DVDs or other products, but it does convey a feeling of vastness and a continual stream.

Monster: This massive job site isn't monster related in the horror movie sense; the name does give the impression of size though.

Orange: This phone network company once used the tag 'The future's bright, the future's orange. Cell phones and phone networks would seem to have little to do with citrus fruits but this one's clever as it conveys color as well as the fruit itself. There's a fresh feel to it.

Jaguar: the metaphor here is a pretty obvious one, the jaguar being an impressive, powerful sleek and fast animal - as is this particular brand of car.

Through metaphors we are able to convey ideas with alternative imagery. It's also far easier to impact your audience with a sharp branding rather than launch a business with a long-winded generic name.

To succeed in a dynamic and hugely competitive market, it's important to grasp the intrinsic relationship that exists between names and brands.

Metaphors define the brand and help to distinguish it from other companies, products or service. In the competitive marketplace, brand name attributes and associations create a certain recognition and expectation in the consumers' minds. Hit on a good name, and it will be on everyone's lips. If it's of the fruity variety, like Apple, Orange and Blackberry, then it'll taste good too.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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