A reader asks: When are branded names preferred over descriptive names?

For your naming strategy, you should attempt to brand only one thing. Which will it be? The company, the portfolio, or the product? Or said differently, which are people buying?

Large companies like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft are selling their entire sets of portfolios as a one-stop shop. However, for smaller enterprise players, positioning and naming the portfolio of products is often the best approach, with the “products” really being more like features of the portfolio. Small “utility” companies with only one or two products should focus on branding the individual products.

Related post: Should you change a product name?Here’s a variation on the question: what is your exit strategy? If you’re a large company, you want people to know your company name so they’ll buy your stock. If you’re hoping to sell your portfolio or product to a larger company someday, put all your brand equity into what they will buy: the portfolio or products. After all, they don’t want your company name; they want the customers and the functionality of the products.

Focus your brand efforts on what buyers are buying.

Got a product management or marketing question? Send me a note.

marketing, positioning

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. We often find companies in conflict with themselves. The corporate strategy is to focus on the company brand while product managers want the product/portfolio to be communicated.

    The product managers know that sales will increase with a brand. Corporate knows that they will not be able to maintain multiple brands over time and they can challenge the corporate brand.

    As we were part in generating a brand for portfolio – the sales increase was fantastic. 3-4 times. (High tech electro mechanic, global company). But we also know that we bypassed some of the rules.

    Ii is challenging for a product manager to make the choice. Will the bending of the rules result in a bending of my career? Or will the sales result speak for themselves? In any case – if you focus on the product brand you must generate success! There is no option.

    So into the equation above I want to add the issue of risk. Focusing on the corporate brand in large companies is normally a smaller risk than trying to build a product brand.

    I would also like to add the dimension of technology. In numerous cases we have focused on the patented technology and built brands on that, It can be a “parallell switching technology” (ScandiNova) or “team talk” (Interspiro). This has been very successful and has provided the sales organisation with brands that they can build a story on.


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