Brands Gone Wild – Why Animals, Bugs & Beasts Make for Great Brand Names

Phil Davis

Branding & Naming Expert President of Tungsten Branding

Let’s face it: when it comes to developing creative company names or product brand names, it’s a real jungle out there. With thousands of new businesses starting each day, stand out creative company names can seem like a vanishing species.  A number of successful firms have turned to animal names to give their brands a more human touch.

Here’s why.

Critter names are memorable and “sticky”

In a world littered with literal and descriptive business names, a beastly identity can make all the difference for getting your new product or service noticed. Monster.com made a splash early on with their fun and irreverent approach to branding. Even old-school brands such as Caterpillar make for great brain candy. While it may have been advisable a hundred years ago to name your company General Motors or International Business Machines, today’s compressed and cluttered marketplace requires a more unique and creative expression of brand identity.

Animal brands are iconic and lend to great logos

While attribute based brands such as Priceline and Quality Inn may point to a key benefit, they are hard to picture in one’s mind. What does “price” or “quality” look like? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a creature can create say a lot about your brand in the bat of an eye. Jaguar provides not only a great name but an excellent and classic hood ornament. Grey Goose created a flock of followers with its high flying brand name. The WWF features its iconic Panda.

Animal metaphors convey key company attributes

In choosing an animal as a mascot, you benefit from all of its associations. In the case of FireFox, it’s about speed, agility & responsiveness. With Hootsuite, the all-knowing owl stands watchful and ready, night and day. Gamefly helps to convey the “buzz” associated with all things video gaming. (Okay, it’s an insect, but you get the idea…) Even companies without animal names can leverage the wild kingdom in their logos. Examples include the MSN butterfly, the Lacoste alligator, the Energizer bunny, the Taco Bell chihuahua, the AFLAC duck & the affable Geico gecko. Most famous of all, Twitter’s little blue bird lead to a global chorus of “tweets.”

Animal brand names allow for brand expansion

The name RedBull, a high energy drink, helped to fuel the brand’s expansion into games, music and sports marketing.  (It would be hard to imagine doing the same with 5-hour Energy.) As metaphors, animal brand names allow companies to expand outside an original niche market. By aligning and identifying with a species, you allow for more growth opportunities as the company finds new revenue channels.

So if you are struggling to come up with creative company names, consider using your furry and feathery friends for inspiration. Consider a brand identity that can help your business adapt and thrive. It may seem a bit crazy, but the voice of reason may just be the call of the wild.


Additional Animal and Critter Brand Names

Greyhound – Bus service (they might have been overreaching on this one)
Puma – Athletic shoes and apparel (speed and aggressiveness)
Dove – Personal care products (soft, gentle, cooing little creatures)
Gazelle – Refurbished electronics (graceful, speedy and “internet-y”)
Grasshopper – Entrepreneurial phone system (have an issue? They’ll “jump” right to it!)
D.A.W.G.S. – Door And Window Guard Systems (one of ours… a shameless plug)

Do you have an animal name for your company, product or service? If so, has it helped or hindered you? Share your thoughts and post a link. Your comments are welcomed!

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