When we started our company in 2012, we wanted a catchy, easy-to-remember name. Inspired by MailChimp and SurveyMonkey’s success, and limited by the availability of domain names with animals, we settled for VoiceBunny. As we were planning on launching more services, we named our company Bunny Inc.
While the name was memorable, soon after selecting it we got the hunch that the cuteness and animality of the brand could affect our expansion. And indeed, as we started planning the release of a few new products, we realized that the Bunny name wasn’t a good fit.
As such, in February of 2016, we decided to look for a new company name.
We set out to learn about the topic by reading multiple articles and books about branding (at the bottom of this article there is a list of the best reads we came across). We also sought professional advice. We had multiple mentoring sessions with branding experts and talked to several branding agencies. We engaged the help of Catchword, a branding agency that has helped hundreds of companies select new brand names.
Brand vs. Branding
We discovered that the brand name of a company is just part of the larger brand system, and, in turn, the brand system is one of the components of the branding strategy. And guess what: we didn’t have a brand strategy! Quite surprisingly, we ended up finding out that a brand strategy includes many moving parts aside from the brand system: a belief system, differentiators, an audience, demarcators, enemies, myths, brand attributes, a design system, language guidelines, viral cycles, communities, and advertising. While we could write plenty about the work that we have done for each component, we’ll focus on the one that will take us to the holy grail of this article: the brand system.
Brand systems are especially helpful for companies that manage multiple products, just like us. A brand system includes names, designs, and usage manuals.
Requirements of our brand system
We wrote a list of the requirements of our brand system. The list ended up being quite long. Here it is:
- In order to build a powerful group brand, our brand system needs to have one company brand and multiple unit brands, one for each business unit. Each unit brand should be a phrase where the company brand is the first word of the phrase. Examples of company brands include Google and Adobe while examples of unit brands include Google Maps and Adobe Photoshop.