Any Great Brand Name Remaining?

indexWhat is the most challenging activity in branding? I’d say name selection for sure. Before engaging your team and organization resources in an expensive and long branding project, make sure you prioritize a proper time for the brand name selection. Many branding agencies and consultants will not go the extra mile to help you create a great new brand name. This is simply because it will consume a lot of paid time;  because you know your business better;  and also because you have a whole team who is more eager and excited about the new brand than any external partner.

Selecting a brand name is not just about fancy and coached brainstorming workshops, sticky notes, and flip charts. It is about thinking till your brain hurts. It is about a small group of highly creative and passionate people doing individual and group brainstorming, over and over again, generating long lists, research, play with vocabularies, and challenge their minds.

There are few key facts you need to consider before starting a new brand name selection process. The process demands time and dedication. It is not an action item to be squeezed in one or two working days. A name stays with your brand across its entire life cycle in most cases deserves a proper time allocation.  You have no choice but to be creative and out-of-the-box thinker simply because almost all simple and straight forward brand names are already taken. There is always a great brand name yet to be discovered. You just have to work harder to find it. Do not settle for mediocre or weak brand names. The brand name selection process is iterative in nature. Ideas usually start weak and limited and then mature gradually. So don’t panic if you don’t find your great name in the first few days of trials. Let people sleep on it, dream about it, and think about it for a period of two weeks if necessary. The more you think about it the higher quality you will get.

A recommended approach to start a brand name selection process is:

  1. Assemble two separate teams: a Core Team and a Focus Group Team. The Core Team consists of two to four highly creative individuals and it must include the product or brand manager. This team is the one responsible for the idea generation and final decision. The Focus Group Team is a wider team (10 or more) of internal and external individuals who may or may not know about the product or brand. Their job is just to review short listed brand names and provide immediate and instinctual feedback. They will be your pilot group of audience hearing the brand name for the first time.
  2. Identify few broad and basic boundaries for brainstorming. Educate your Core Team on the product nature, positioning, value, and target audience. Do not put too much details and limitations even if it results in ideas far from what you imagined. Keep the natural subconscious creativity flow.
  3. Put the Core Team into action. Start by individual brainstorming sessions. Ask all members to think over an initial list of names within a period of 3-4 days and come to the first group workshop with a list of five names per each participant.
  4. Review the first batch of names. Found a good one? Don’t stop there will be better ones.
  5. In the group work shop, assign the Core Team individuals specific tasks. One person should be online all the time searching for vocabularies and different meanings of words, picking floating thoughts and patterns and completing them. Another person should be responsible for research certain broader topics.
  6. Review your key product functions and what is does exactly for its customers. List one to three of these functions.
  7. Ask the research person to generate five to ten words from each key product function. These words can be related to product users, experience, geography, market, history, or physical characteristics.
  8. Ask another researcher to look for those words’ translation in other languages, singular, plural, and other vocabularies.
  9. Collect all ideas in a spread sheet. Not impressed? Start the process again. Change research strategy. Search further meanings and values for your product key functions. You can even look at other known brand names for inspiration. Continue the next day if you find the team drained and out of ideas. While they leave a little frustrated, you will find them coming the very next morning with fresh and interesting ideas.
  10. Provoke yourself and your team subconsciousness. Interrupt them with short questions about the product and collect instinctual answers. Ask them to write down ideas whenever it comes to them in any place at any time.
  11. Prepare your pre-final list, distribute to the Focus Group Team and get feedback and votes. This list should be at least 15-20 brand names that are at least memorable and relevant.
  12. It now comes to the final step, filtering. Your filtering strategy should be through exclusion. Get rid of weakest names and short list to strongest ones.

Do not start filtering until you are comfortable with your final list. By reaching this step, you should already have one or two names that you really like. If you are not comfortable, go back to step six.

Be careful when you short list to keep your branding strategy in mind. Are you building a new standalone product that you don’t wish to relate to your organization or other product line brands? Is it a new product to join an existing brand family or umbrella? is is an extension to an existing product? Your final chosen brand name should be:

  • Unique. The new brand name should have a clear and strong personality. It should not be close to other brands and it should not be too broad and generic.
  • At least among the top three catchy and memorable names in your pre-final list. The name should be short, easy to say, and easy to recall.
  • Tested for different cultures, nationalities, races, and native languages. You have to know exactly what your brand name means in other cultures and how it sounds to their ears and perception.
  • Not have special or native characters that are difficult to be pronounced or read in other languages.
  • Chosen after a comprehensive and proper research on trade marks, domain name availability and similar businesses or products with similar names. This is tricky, because you can always differentiate your new brand by playing with letters, words, or a mix of two words. In all cases, you have to be careful not violate copyrights. Ask your legal department if necessary.
  • Tested on Google search. This is important because if you Google your new brand name and found many similar results, even if not relevant, you have to know that they will be competing with your brand in online search.
  • Appealing to most of your Core Team and Focus Group Team. Do not get married to a single name that you only find great. If majority of your teams don’t like it, then you are wrong.

Lengthy process? It is worth every minute!

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This paper aims to understand the basic principles of case studies and case study as a research method. The paper studies history and different types of case studies and their different applications. Using case study as a research method is also analyzed in terms or its unique characteristics and similarity to traditional research methods. The analysis studies case study research design and analysis processes with examples from different industries and studies key distinguished characteristics of case study research method. The paper finds flexibility of research and usefulness in learning and evaluation as two main strengths of case study research, while limited generalization and over-generalization as two main weaknesses. The paper supports the argument of the limited use of case studies in business and finance due to their main weakness point of low generalization characteristics. The paper recommends a more scientific and systematic approach in analyzing and interpreting case studies to ensure their applicability to other applications. Through the consideration of case study time period, researcher profiles, size of the research object, sample, country and industry, more generalization abilities can emerge for case study applications. The paper also suggests having case studies and case study researches as ways of improvement rather than being just problem-solving approaches.

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The Digital Guanxi: Opportunities in China’s New Collaborative Digital Business in Light of the Recent Economic and Political Transformation

Abstract:

The paper aims to discover the most promising digital business opportunities in the new China today, and how those new opportunities can be related to the collaborative social networking culture which goes deeply in Chinese consumers. The paper analyzes the enormous digital business environment in China in terms of e-commerce, digital marketing, consumers, IT outsourcing, and software development and innovation in order to determine the most digital business opportunities that can be leveraged by collaboration and cooperation norms existing in Chinese culture. The paper also sheds the light on the recent economic and political transformation held by the Chinese government in order to establish a solid open economy and encourage private investments from global and domestic markets. The analysis discovers huge opportunities in China’s digital business that can be leveraged by the collaboration culture for both consumer and business audience. Classification to China’s digital audience and current key global and domestic players in the digital market is provided. The market is still far from maturity with enormous growth rate. While local key players dominate the market, new market entry depends primarily on new digital product features that can leverage social interactions and networking. Current key players copy Western style social networking business model without taking advantage of the Chinese cultural collectivity. The market size is huge, however, concentrated in urban areas and specific income levels. The research finds most opportunities in consumer digital social shopping, mobile social shopping and business professional digital networking. The paper provides many implications and recommendations for international and domestic investors that include ideas for new digital products and market penetration strategi

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Introduction to Research Science and Methodologies

Abstract:

The paper aims to provide an introduction to research science and to offer readers familiarity of its key methods and practices. The paper addresses broad definitions of research science, and its major types of methodologies and their nature. Quantitative and qualitative methods are defined in terms of key characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. The use of more than one data collection or research method is also discussed and analyzed highlighting various integration approaches along. The paper analyzes key characteristics of quantitative and qualitative methods as well as different approaches of integrating both methods. The paper concludes with simple statements to define key motives and principals behind qualitative and quantitative research methods, why integration is needed and when it is useful. Implications and recommendations for the future of research are displayed for discussion. The research advises more focus on information and telecommunications future role in quantitative and qualitative methods. The research claims many untapped potentials that have to be leveraged in that area. The paper also claims great importance to method integration to the extent of supporting the creation of a new Integration Strategy function is the typical research processes where it has its own professionals or specialists. Traditional method integration should be developed into more dynamic ways that allows the integration even on the operational level by combining quantitative and qualitative questions in a more pre-determined and structured way in order to obtain more accurate results. Paper finally advises for integration strategy to be derived by research objectives that range from higher data quality, quantity to phenomena analysis.

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Factors and Motives Affect Patient Satisfaction Interacting with Medical Service Providers

Abstract:

This paper aims to determine the right factors and motives that affect patient satisfaction when interacting with medical service providers. From a starting point, the paper focuses on emergency room public medical unit in a developing country arguing that some factors affect patient satisfaction differ depending on location, type of service and culture. While some factors differ, the paper argues that emotional factors not only found to be common across all locations and cultures, they are also the most important factors that affect patient satisfaction. Research begins by reviewing previous literature in patient satisfaction topic and analyzing them from factors chosen, methodology, and instruments. The paper suggests a tri-based research design to conduct a proper satisfaction survey based on integrating three methods; questionnaire, in-depth interviews, and observation. The paper argues that questionnaire alone is not enough to determine true motives and perceptions that drive patient satisfaction. The research concludes by recommendations on designing proper survey and supporting it by the right tools that help the improvement of such future researchers.

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ITWorx: Shifting from Transformational Internationalization to Globalization

Abstract:

ITWorx, a privately-held software company headquartered in Cairo, Egypt has been a true Egyptian success story in the IT and software industry. The company enjoyed a huge growth since its inception in 1994 to become the largest software company in Egypt and the Middle East operating in six countries. With its perceived savvy and young management, friendly working environment, and innovation, the company was acquired in 2008 by a group of international investors. Synchronized with the global financial crises in late 2008, the company experienced operating losses for the very first time, high employee turnover, increasing loss of market share, and internal performance issues. The paper analysis the software industry, critical success factors, competitive environment, and ITWorx’s management and strategies. The paper spots root causes for the declining performance that are due to the lack of a clear strategic vision from ITWorx top management. Transferring the company to a software products company from its service-oriented mindset ads to the difficulty of the situation. The paper concludes by providing strategic alternatives for ITWorx management and possible implications to take the company to its next step in becoming a true global organization. Recommendations for ITWorx management are summarized into putting more focus on globalization, minimizing unnecessary localization, build a new product division and innovation functions, and penetrating key focus markets.

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Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) Case Analysis: The No. 2 world player is challenging the No. 1 – Kellogg

Abstract:

The paper analyzes the case study developed in 2007 of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW): The No. 2 world player is challenging the No. 1 – Kellogg. Nearly 17 years after its foundation in the year 1990, Cereal Partner Worldwide or CPW is looking at its current position as the world number two breakfast cereal producer after Kellogg. Aiming to leverage both parent companies’ capabilities; General Mills and Nestlé, CPW plans to take further steps towards stronger global sales and integrated global marketing. In a saturated consumer product industry, the company aims to develop a blue ocean strategy through developing strategic core competencies and an international competitiveness in order to outperform its competitors and achieve further growth. Taking the US and Canadian markets out of the equation, the paper aims to find effective global marketing strategies that empower CPW brands performance in Europe, the Middle and Far East, Africa and Latin America. Through analyzing the macro environment conditions, market and competitive benchmarking and value chain, the paper illustrates two critical success factors for CPW; first its product R&D, innovation and diversification strategies. Second its emerging local markets responsiveness and localization of products and after sales services. In light of this analysis, the paper highlights the potentials and recommendations for CPW to unify efforts into creating core competitiveness and create a blue ocean strategy creating new demand and market space in the global arena.

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