Thinking Globally, Naming Locally: Brand Names with International Appeal


How to Come Up with a Brand Name? 9 Helpful Tips


In today’s interconnected world, many businesses dream of expanding their reach beyond borders. But a brand name that resonates in your home country might turn into a tongue twister or worse, something offensive, overseas. So, how do you craft a brand name that translates well and holds global appeal?


This blog dives into the world of international branding, offering tips to create a name that transcends languages and cultures.


The Pitfalls of a Poorly Translated Name


How strong is your brand name? – The Results


History is littered with brand names that lost their meaning in translation. Here are a few cautionary tales:


  • “Puffs” tissues became “Fart” tissues in Germany. (Think about the onomatopoeia!)
  • “Coors” beer became “Horse’s Urine” in China. (Ouch! Not exactly an appetizing image.)
  • “Schneck” (meaning “snail” in German) shower enclosures became a suggestive term in French. (Double entendre alert!)


These examples highlight the importance of checking translations across your target markets.


Crafting a Globally Appealing Name


Here are some key strategies to consider:


  • Short and Sweet: Keep it concise and easy to pronounce across languages. Think “Kodak” or “Lego.”
  • Meaningful, Not Descriptive: Opt for evocative names that hint at your brand’s essence rather than directly describing it. “Nike” (Greek goddess of victory) is a great example.
  • Culturally Neutral: Avoid references or puns that might not translate well. Steer clear of slang or colloquialisms.
  • Check Availability: Before you get too attached, make sure the name and domain name are available in your target markets. Trademarking is crucial!
  • Test and Refine: Get feedback from native speakers in your target markets. This can help identify any potential pronunciation or cultural issues.


Beyond Translation: Considering the Bigger Picture


A globally appealing name goes beyond just avoiding bad translations. Here are some additional points to ponder:


  • Visual Appeal: Consider how the name will look when written. Is it easy to remember and spell?
  • Brand Identity: Does the name align with your company’s values and target audience?
  • Future-Proofing: Choose a name that can grow with your brand and isn’t limited by product or service.


Taking the Next Step


Creating a brand name with global appeal is an investment in your company’s future. Consider involving a branding agency with expertise in international markets. They can help you brainstorm creative options, navigate trademark issues, and ensure your name resonates across cultures.


By following these tips and conducting thorough research, you can craft a brand name that sets you up for success on the global stage. Remember, a well-chosen name is a powerful tool for building brand recognition and trust, no matter where your customers are located.


By: Nica Layug


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