Lexicon® Blog

Sonos Releases Trueplay Software; ABC Family to Become Freeform

In Brand Name Development on October 30, 2015 at 10:18 am

Behind the Names

“We have to start thinking of speakers in a different way. They’re no longer static objects, they are like wine, they’ll improve with age. The time your Sonos speaker will sound its ‘worst’ is the day you buy it – that’s an exciting prospect.” Michael Papish, Director of Platform Strategy at Sonos.

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That runway-for-growth mentality at the Hi-Fi headquarters of the audio powerhouse – this idea of embracing change over time – also applies to branding. Developing a strategic name for the marketplace is not strictly an exercise in who you are, but also, in what you might become. That’s how Lexicon helped Sonos land on Trueplay for its new room-tuning technology, and the same principle was used for ABC Family’s rebrand to Freeform.

The first iteration of Sonos’s revolutionary software will automatically calibrate your speaker and optimize it for its surroundings. However, over time, the platform might involve other technologies and features that ladder up to that original-sound quality – and the name supports those evolutions and changes. In the end, it’s all about delivering the true playing experience, as the artist intended it.

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When ABC Family approached Lexicon, they were feeling a fundamental disconnect between their programming and audience and their identity in the media world. Their core demographic, according to President of ABC Family Tom Ascheim, is made up of millennials asking themselves, ‘Who am I becoming?’ and the network was wondering the same. Their roadmap for content and evolution in personality was all about exploring, embracing the unknown, and realizing what you want to be – not just household shows for all. And the name Freeform – which literally means “created or done in any way you choose” – will certainly allow them to become what they’re supposed to become, in a way the Family moniker wouldn’t permit.

Next Issue Rebrands as Texture, a Name Created by Lexicon Branding

In Brand Naming on October 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

At its inception, Next Issue – a joint venture from Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., and Time Inc. – enabled customers to access all of their favorite publications in one place. While the name fit the offering at the time, the company wanted to extend beyond the concept of just being an electronic newsstand and jettison the often-used moniker “the Netflix of magazines.”

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In need of a strategic name that would signal a new experience for its users, Next Issue looked to Lexicon Branding to develop a new name that fit the company’s expanded services and the company’s pivot toward providing rich and relevant content curated for customers. Eight weeks later, Lexicon had created the name Texture, conducted consumer research, and carried out linguistic and cultural evaluations – all to ensure that the name would support the new brand going forward.

Texture defines this service.

Texture, a word defined as “something composed of closely interwoven elements,” supports a carefully designed, well-thought-out collection of content. It also communicates the idea that the service adds layers to your life by bringing you substantive, engaging, pertinent information based on your interests. And most importantly, though the name cleverly contains the word “text,” there is no overt link to magazines, keeping the company agile and relevant as content consumption continues to evolve.

Myths Of Branding Pt. 3: Strong Corporate Names Don’t Need Other Brands

In Brand Naming on August 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Over the last 30 years, we’ve developed brand names that innovate and inspire for products ranging from cars to corporations. For the next two months, we’ll be releasing weekly posts dealing with branding myths we’ve frequently heard, in an effort to debunk and demystify much of the mystery that surrounds both the process and the strategies of branding.

Myth # 3: If a company has a strong corporate name, it doesn’t need any other brands.

        

Two weeks ago, Google announced its new umbrella company. This unexpected move – placing Google inside the cocoon of the freshly minted Alphabet – says a lot about the power of strategically creating distinct brands.

Google was originally founded for a fairly specific purpose, but within the past few years, the fiercely innovative tech behemoth has expanded its interests with a range of endeavors. With the creation of this holding company, Google can continue to pursue its core competencies, while new Alphabet sub-brands can explore the other territories into which Google had begun to tiptoe. This allows individual brands to develop focus and create memorable identities, and having the Alphabet backing gives these nascent projects the Google credibility endorsement without diluting the Google brand. There’s also the practical consideration of creating separate brands, from an investor standpoint; it allows stakeholders to see where money is going and to see who is under-performing and who is exceeding expectations.

This synergy of powerful master brands working in conjunction with powerful sub-brands is not a novel concept. Even well-established corporations have allowed themselves to be defined by their products, using their name to bolster brands and then allowing those brands, in return, to support the corporate promise.

The prolific 3M is a great example of a company that leverages its corporate identity to enforce new brands, while using the strength of long-established brands, such as Scotchgard and Scotch Tape, to reinforce the 3M corporate promise.

“I know that other companies have tried to consolidate and have one corporate brand,” says Dean Adams, Director of Corporate Branding at 3M, “but we have a different view. The corporate brand takes on the role of authority and credibility, but consumers want to look underneath the brand,” explains Adams.

For example, Scotchgard makes a special promise about making things look new longer, and the brand’s strength works as tangible evidence, proving 3M brand’s corporate promise. Conversely, one of the company’s newer brands, Command (a removable adhesive strip used to attach items to walls) doesn’t have the same credibility as some of their more established brands.

“We really leverage the 3M brand, using its strength to build the brand Command,” says Adams.


Interestingly, one of 3M’s most recognized and successful brands, Post-it notes, began life much like Command, with a number of names plastered on its packaging. When the product was launched 25 years ago, it carried trademarks for Scotch, 3M, Post-it, Plaid and a few others. But according to Adams, once 3M saw what it had, the other brands were dropped pretty quickly, and the ubiquitous Post-it was born.

It’s natural to strive for one, strong corporate identity. Brand stacking can be tiring for a consumer and branding is often a calculated risk. Branding, however, can empower the corporate identity. Allowing products to stand on their own with unique brand identities can be more digestible for consumers, and their success will inevitably climb back up to the company level, reinforcing a corporate promise and potentially carrying the company to new heights.

Fact: Companies miss many opportunities to create strong corporate assets when they rely on a narrow corporate brand policy.

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