Who Took 9 Months and 3 Seconds to Think of a Brand Name?

A couple of months ago we attended the Success Summit in London. It was a really inspiring weekend, and definitely one of the highlights was seeing co-founder of Innocent Smoothies Richard Reed speak about how he grew his company to the powerhouse in the drinks market that it is today.


In his talk, he dropped so many inspiring nuggets of information, we aren’t going to cover them all here, but if you don’t know the story of Innocent go look it up. It is 100% a great example of how being ballsy and creative leads to success.

For example… the company managed to secure £200K of funding basically from a spam email! Crazy right!?

But as the title of this post suggests, we wanted to talk about branding, specifically thinking of a brand name, as what he said about it really struck true with us.

To paraphrase Richard, he said it took him “9 months and 3 seconds” to come up with Innocent as a final brand name.

That’s 9 months of deliberation with a 3 second realisation.

Did you know that without that 3 seconds we could all be drinking Fast Tractor or Hungry Aphid or Nude?

Yes, we could all be drinking nude.


How they came up with the name Innocent

Again paraphrasing Richard, he said after months of deliberation, it came down to asking themselves one question…

“What is it that we are actually trying to say?”

That is such a simple, but such a powerful question to be able to answer.

The answer for Innocent is that they wanted to get across purity, unadulterated goodness and nature, and once they answered that, the name Innocent rose up and the others didn’t make sense.

Amazing right?

This all comes down to the brand and your why, which we have talked about previously…

How to gain brand loyalty by knowing what you stand for >
Is your brand sexy and aspirational? >
What do you stand for? An Example >
The Branding Square >
The Branding Square II >

but when it comes down to thinking of a brand name, just this simple question will get you thinking in the right way.

Because coming up with a brand name isn’t easy, and a big mistake we see people make is rushing it and coming up with something really unoriginal like ‘so and so solutions’ or ‘last name media.’ Your brand name isn’t the be all and end all, however it is probably the most used word(s) in your business, so it should have more thought put into it, than say, how long it took you to choose your computer’s desktop wallpaper.  Take 9 months if you need it.

How we came up with Andrew and Pete

What also rang true with us when Richard was speaking was that we went through the same thing.

For those of you that go waaaay back with us, you’ll remember us rebranding to simply ‘Andrew and Pete,’ and although it may seem like it actually did take us 3 seconds to come up with, it was weeks of brainstorming and deliberation.

We knew what we wanted to get across… we wanted it to be a talking point, creative but friendly, and we were coming up with a whole host of wild and wacky names, till one day, Andrew turned to Pete and said…

“you know what, we should just be Andrew and Pete.”

And it worked. It fit that question perfectly even though we hadn’t heard Richard say it at that point…

“What is it that we are actually trying to say?”

Do you have the right brand name and should you change it?

So, the killer question… do you have the right brand name?

If not, believe us, changing it is not the end of the world.

Yes it may seem like a bit of a ball-ache, but look at it as a positive… re-branding could be good PR, especially if you are saying…

‘This is me, this is what I stand for, and for that reason I am going to be called this.”

What a way to attract the right kinds of people to you and put off the ones who aren’t the right customers for you!

Because that’s what a brand name can do… attract the right people, and put off the rest.

Innocent attracts people who don’t mind paying a bit extra to feel healthier, and puts off people who couldn’t give a crap what they put in their bodies.

We have found ‘Andrew and Pete’ attracts friendly clients on our wave-length that we enjoy working with, and puts off boring people!

ACTION: Does your brand name get across what you are actually trying to say. If you feel like you need to change your brand name, check out this article on how to think of a brand name >

A final point… we take the ‘how long did it take you to think of that business name’ jokes on the chin. Like we say, we wanted to create a talking point, but just from writing this post, it has us thinking maybe we should be taking them as a compliment! Should your brand name be so obvious, and so good that even though it took you 9 months to think of, it seems like it took you 3 seconds?



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