What a great name!

Does your credit union’s name pass the SMILE & SCRATCH test?

According to brand expert Alexandra Watkins, “Good names make you SMILE. A great name is Suggestive, evoking a positive brand experience.” A name is Meaningful when your audience “gets it.” “Effective names include Imagery that’s visually evocative to aid in memory. And the best names,” she says, “have Legs, lending themselves to extended mileage, and are Emotional, moving people to action.”

“On the other hand, ineffective names make you SCRATCH your head.” Examples:

  • “spelling-challenged” names, that look like a typo or with a strange phonetic spelling that is impossible to remember;
  • “copycat” names that are too similar to competitors;
  • restrictive names that limit future growth;
  • annoying names that frustrate customers;
  • tame names that are flat and uninspired;
  • “curse of knowledge” monikers that make the names “foreign to everyone but insiders”; and
  • “hard-to-pronounce names that make it difficult for people to ask for or talk about your brand.”

How important is a brand name? Critically so, says Watkins, owner of Eat My Words, a San Francisco naming firm. A bad name can weaken your brand. “Every time you have to help people spell, pronounce, and understand your name, you are essentially apologizing for it, which devalues your brand.”

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