There’s Power in Using Place Names in Product and Business Branding

Business Branding

Business Branding

Selecting the name and logo of a business, company, or individual product remains a vital aspect of appealing to the right customers or even as many customers as possible. Those are the elements that will not only need to catch the eye of potential customers, but also stick in their minds to develop brand loyalty, as well as convey the right messages of quality and appeal.

While not entirely unheard of, it’s certainly not common practice for businesses to use a place name – such as a city, county, state, or country – for the brand or a product name. Still, some that have used this method have gone on to be somewhat iconic. Cheddar cheese hails from a town in the UK, KFC is headquartered in the state of Kentucky, and computer software company Adobe drew its name from the type of clay found in California’s Adobe Creek.

With many of those examples above, the long-lasting quality of the brand or product was mostly responsible for the power of the name, but the name itself can provide immediate advantages in regards to perceived prestige and localization efforts, and can even prove to be cost-saving.

Automatic prestige and scale by association

Drawing from a very well-known city on the international stage naturally adds appeal, especially if that city is reputable within the same niche. Las Vegas, as you’ll know, is Sin City: the home of the world’s most extravagant and classy casino establishments. By piggybacking on that well-enforced persona, the likes of Vegas Single Deck Blackjack, and Vegas Downtown Blackjack have become the top online blackjack games, even topping the celebrity and real brand live blackjack games available on the same platform.

While some cities and towns don’t always carry the same prestige as Las Vegas, they can instead evoke a more down-to-earth but distinct image nonetheless. In fashion, cities like Milan and Paris are seen as opulent centers of the finest luxury pieces. Brooklyn, on the other hand, has much more of an urban depiction, which Brooklyn Cloth banks on. The brand built up on its joggers and expanded to cover more men’s clothing items, like shorts, hoodies, and sweatshirts.

Sometimes, being named after a known town, city, or country offers immediate prestige and credibility simply by association. For instance, when you look at the collaboration announcement between Travelxp and Slovak Telekom, you may automatically assume that the latter is the main or biggest telecom company in Slovakia. On the flip side, donning the name of a smaller city or town can also lend a brand some local charm and prestige.

A good example of this can be seen in the UK brand Yorkshire Tea. As soon as you read the name, you may infer that tea from Yorkshire must be of high quality as there aren’t many other tea brands in the UK banking their products on the prestige of a place name. In reality, the company started by making a blend of tea suited to the water supply in Yorkshire before managing to expand from that local niche into a national brand.

Appealing to the local drive of customers

While massive international companies like Amazon (another example of using a place name as the brand) have the authority, reach, and influence to lower prices and become as convenient as possible to customers in just about any country, most prefer and trust local businesses more. Research points to eight in ten consumers using their local businesses regularly and that the slight majority patronize local over national chains.

Zooming out a bit further to the broader national landscape, home-country bias has been found to play a significant role in purchasing decisions in several locations. Domestic products are usually more positively regarded than the same products from foreign brands. The degree of consumer ethnocentrism, however, does vary from nation to nation, often depending on the perceived quality of locally-made products.

Still, having a local area in the name of the brand can instantly lend a business the localized appeal that people tend to gravitate towards. Take the Bombay Baking Company, for example. Customers know that their breakfasts are catered to an Indian audience or, specifically, the taste preferences of Mumbai. Using “Bombay” in this instance also lends some historical credibility to the brand as well.

Along with localization efforts and gaining a distinct prestige or persona, brands that use place names can also become more globally accessible and avoid prolonged efforts to win trademark battles, as anyone can use a geographical term as a brand. It’s a sound approach if your products and business suit the place that you seek to draw the name from.

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