It means defining its name, visual identity and a tone of voice. Basically, giving it the characteristics of a person by which the surroundings obtain impressions, feelings and opinions on that same person. And that’s called having an image. But the process doesn’t end there – it continues by keeping the brand’s consistency and presence and thus obtaining trust.
Before you start creating your product’s personality, to make it a part of the gang you will need to know the characteristics of that gang, how it communicates and what it wants. But also who you will have to compete with to enter. So, market research and target definition are your starting points, otherwise your new created personality may not be accepted.
The product name needs to be simple, powerful and memorable, that’s for sure. There are also different directions to decide from when creating it. It can be literal, and simply describe the purpose and use of the product. It can be a wordplay that, put together, create a non-existent word which describes the use of your product. Or it can be made of phrases or non-words that have absolutely no link with the product. The options are many.
The crucial aspect to understand when naming is that the name itself will not decide on its own on the failure or success of your product although it needs to follow some rules. It is “only” a part of the branding process that has to be accompanied by other as important branding elements, and then followed by well-planned and consistent activities and communication strategy.A lot of start-ups get stuck at the beginning trying to find THE perfect name. Even though it’s important to choose the right one, how you treat and communicate it later on will be more important.
You should also know that the naming process can be especially challenging because of the fact that the market can be very saturated and it’s sometimes not so easy to find an option that suites all the demands and is not already taken.
As for product branding, the visual system has to be defined also because most of the time there are more products in one line, for example more flavours, more kinds of packaging etc. The developed system has to be consistent, recognisable and applicable to any kind of packaging, flavour or line variation, making it immediately clear that all the different variations are part of the same umbrella brand. When designing various labels, graphic elements, shapes, colours, headlines have to have a clear mapping, defined sizes, positions and uses. So, the logo is the foundation, but there’s a whole house that needs to be built afterwards.
Tone of voice is not only verbal, but also visual, and it is logical that the visual identity also needs to be in line with the chosen behaviour. For example, if you choose to launch a high-end product, it is obvious that the visual and verbal communication need to be minimal, classy and smart, rather than playful, funny and colourful. You will probably apply the latter to a product with a different purpose or meant for a different target.
In that tone of voice, you will choose a slogan or a mission statement, define headlines for campaigns and write copy and communication elements for different channels.
We could go on for days discussing about the topic, but let’s contemplate on the basics for now and resume: (product) branding is a long-term process that starts with fundamental and well defined visual and communication elements based on research and strategy, continues with consistent presence and planned activity and hopefully ends with a satisfying and stable relationship with the user.