Does Your Brand Name Transfer Successfully to the Global Export Markets?

Local versus Global. If you are considering launching your product or service on the international market you’ve probably invested significant amounts of time, effort and resources to date in developing your offering or solution.


Have you invested comparable effort in the foundations, planning and development strategy for your brand or even the name for your brand?


When it comes to brands or sub-brands, the name is one of the most important elements in its proposition. A name is often the first act of public branding and helps establish the tone for your product or service which is even more important if you plan trading on an international market. Being a distinctive, different, memorable yet familiar name takes you miles closer to the sale.


You might think naming your brand is very easy and in some instances there are “happy accidents” that work brilliantly, but they are largely in the minority. In the commercial world your brand’s name can have a very strategic impact on your business, particularly if its use is for a global market and this often stretches far beyond casual observation or the aurally pleasing.


Typically brand names fall into the following categories:

• Evocative: Names that evoke a relevant vivid image

• Personification: Many brands take their names from real or myth

• Descriptive: Names that describe a product benefit or function

• Neologisms or Madeup Names: Completely made-up words

• Founders’ Names: Using the names of real people

• Geography: Many brands are named after regions and landmarks

• Alliteration & Rhyme: Names that are fun to say and are memorable

• Foreign Word: Adoption of a word from another language

• Acronym & Initialism: A name made of initials


The Irish market is becoming increasingly multicultural and leveraging your growth through the internet can effectively make your market borderless, depending on what you sell. These factors cumulatively demand considerably more strategic thinking if you want successful target market penetration on a larger scale, rather then just your local catchment area.


Global giant Kraft Foods, who arguably have the marketing budget to make any brand name well known, recently invested considerable effort behind the naming of their new global snacking division.




The name selected, ‘Mondeléz’ (pronounced mohn-dah-LEEZ), is the result of suggestions garnered from thousands of Kraft employees around the world. It was created from two separate submissions, one from North America and the other from a European employee. Kraft executives explain that the Mondelēz name is a portmanteau that communicates the idea of a “delicious world” through the Latin word for “world” (Monde) and “delēz,” which is a “fanciful expression of “delicious.”


According to CEO Irene Rosenfeld “for the new global snacks company, they wanted to find a new name that could serve as an umbrella for our iconic brands, reinforce the truly global nature of this business and build on our higher purpose – to ‘make today delicious.’ Mondelēz perfectly captures the idea of a ‘delicious world’ and will serve as a solid foundation for the strong relationships we want to create with our consumers, customers, employees and shareholders”.


On the other hand large Chinese brands are finding it increasingly difficult to break into western markets because of the lack of understanding, by western consumers, to the meanings and pronunciation of ethnic brand names.


Li Ning Logo


Referred to as ‘silent dragons’, companies, such as Li-Ning, a sporting clothing company, have huge brand value in their home markets but are failing to impact globally. Li-Ning even re-named its brand after the towering Chinese basketball player who made headlines at the Beijing Olympics but to no avail. Western audiences have simply not responded to a name that carries little meaning in their own market.


Equally Irish names might have resonance to Irish consumers but how would some of them fare in international markets? Could global consumers pronounce them easily or understand what they mean? Can they transcend cultural barriers? These factors can have a very significant bearing on your brand even being noticed, not to mention recall amongst your target audience.


Connemara Logo


Connemara SeafoodsIreland’s premier seafood cultivator, processor and exporter have been exporting very successfully to the global markets for decades now. The brand name, Connemara, now has a high recognition value amongst its target market but they have consistently invested in their brand over the years to achieve these results. Their brand is very firmly rooted in their Irish geographic location with is Class A Waters off the West Coast of Ireland, the consistent premium quality of their product ranges, their multi-award winning reputation, highly regarded leadging edge expertise and the value of the family provenance with decades of specialist knowledge.


Certain types of Irish products and services have very successfully developed powerful and highly recognized brand names on the global markets particularly in the areas of food, beverages, alcohol, glass wear, foot wear and fashion. Indeed some of our best known brands are leaders in their categories e.g. Guinness, Jameson, Dubarry, Kerry Group, Baileys and Waterford Crystal to name a few.


If you are re-branding or considering a new name for your product or service for a global, or even local market, then please don’t treat it as an after thought. Give it the strategic input it deserves at the beginning to avoid the biggest pitfalls and you’ll reap the rewards into the future.


Key name selection criteria for a global market include:

• Fit with the brand proposition

• Be relevant for all target audiences

• Be distinctive, different and memorable

• Future-proofed for the life of the brand

• Linguistically and culturally acceptable and appropriate

• Appropriate if translated into other languages or cultures

• Easy to spell, pronounce and refer

• Registerable and protectable as a trademark and URL

• Approvable by the requisite regulatory authorities


Set clear and consistent objectives and criteria for your name selection and be unwavering in benchmarking potential name against those criteria. Don’t be tempted to choose your brand name subjectively!


• Consider, who is the target audience for your product or service and exactly who are you trying to appeal to?


• What meaning will your brand name convey to your ideal customer and will it help shape the desired identity of your brand?


• How does the brand name fit with positioning strategy of your product or service?


• What is the role of your brand name within your company’s overall brand strategy?


• Is your current brand conveying the desired meaning to your customers or do you need a re-branding strategy?      

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