Make Your Brand’s Nickname Work for You

Consumers having been driving Chevys, consuming Cokes, buying at Tarjay, and consuming at MickeyD’s for a long time. But as an increasing number of model engagement strikes on-line, how ought to entrepreneurs method these model nicknames in an more and more digital panorama?
In a latest examine, we investigated how model nicknames can affect each shoppers’ engagement with manufacturers and the way credible they discover a model’s communications. In the primary a part of the examine, we carried out an evaluation of greater than 10,000 consumer-written tweets that referenced three well-known manufacturers, and in contrast share and like charges for posts that used formal title hashtags (e.g., #chevrolet, #buffalowildwings, and #newenglandpatriots) with posts that used nickname hashtags (e.g., #chevy, #bdubs, and #pats). We discovered that nicknames had a transparent optimistic impression on engagement: On common, client tweets that used nickname hashtags had been shared twice as a lot and preferred thrice as a lot as tweets that used the formal title hashtags.
However, issues get a little bit extra difficult whenever you have a look at company-written posts. We carried out six follow-up research with greater than 1,500 U.S. shoppers during which we in contrast how folks reacted to model nicknames in Instagram and Twitter posts coming from shoppers and from official model accounts. We discovered that who makes use of a model nickname could make an enormous distinction: When shoppers used model nicknames, it typically made the data of their posts seem extra credible and genuine to different shoppers — however when a model used its personal nickname, it really had the alternative impact.
Why may that be? Our analysis means that whenever you see a fellow client use a nickname in a web based overview or social media put up, it might probably ship the message that the patron has a real relationship with the model, thus growing your belief in no matter that client says in regards to the model. But when firms use nicknames in their very own official communications, it might probably come throughout as promotional and manipulative, making their posts appear much less credible. For instance, in a single examine, we discovered that when shoppers learn an Instagram put up during which Walmart used its nickname Wally World to advertise a product, they had been 9% much less more likely to agree that the put up appeared honest, and 10% much less probably to purchase the product, than those that learn a put up during which Walmart used its formal title.
Of course, this doesn’t imply that manufacturers shouldn’t have interaction in any respect with their nicknames — nevertheless it’s essential to have interaction in the proper manner. Based on our analysis, there are a number of key Dos and Don’ts that entrepreneurs ought to contemplate in relation to managing model nicknames within the digital world:
What to Do:
1. Stay Abreast of Your Brand Nicknames
The overwhelming majority of shoppers usually encounter model nicknames — in truth, solely 3% of the shoppers in our research indicated that they’d by no means seen a model nickname on-line. It’s essential for entrepreneurs to concentrate on how their clients are speaking about them, and that features retaining tabs on the evolving, casual language that customers use.
To do this, social media groups ought to be certain that they’re monitoring not simply their group’s official title, but in addition any hashtags or account tags that use widespread nicknames for their model. You could consider these unofficial names as secondary, however they could be a lot extra widespread than you may understand. Take Chevrolet, for occasion. Our evaluation confirmed that 41% of Twitter posts that used a hashtag referencing the corporate used the nickname “Chevy” moderately than the official title. The very last thing a marketer would need can be to overlook a buyer grievance or alternative for optimistic client engagement simply because somebody used @nickname as a substitute of @officialname of their put up.
2. Include Nicknames in Your search engine optimization Strategy
If you search for “Chevy” in Google, the primary outcome that reveals up is Chevrolet’s official web site. But search for Mickey D’s or Tarjay, and also you’ll see outcomes from websites like Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary above these model’s personal web sites. It’s essential to maintain widespread model nicknames in thoughts when designing your Search Engine Optimization (search engine optimization) technique, to make sure that your shoppers can discover your model simply it doesn’t matter what title they use.
Importantly, this isn’t nearly Google hits. Has your model partnered with a platform like Alexa to extend discoverability? If so, it’s value making certain that these third-party instruments acknowledge your model’s nicknames, because it’s very potential that these are the phrases your clients will likely be utilizing when looking for your organization. And after all, entrepreneurs ought to be sure you keep in mind {that a} model can have a couple of nickname. For instance, in our analysis we noticed clients referring to their BMWs as beemers, beamers, and bimmers. Ensuring that each one variations of your model’s nickname are included in your search engine optimization technique can assist to maximise your model presence in a crowded digital panorama.
3. Protect Your Brand Nicknames
Brand nicknames could also be created and utilized by shoppers, nevertheless it’s as much as the corporate to verify these nicknames are legally protected. This applies in quite a lot of areas, from securing logos for widespread nicknames to buying URL domains. For occasion, strive going to Despite the truth that the time period beemer has greater than two million search outcomes on Google, the URL isn’t owned by BMW. Proactively defending your nicknames minimizes the danger of the title being hijacked by opponents or unrelated companies.
For instance, many youthful shoppers confer with the retail big Canadian Tire by the irreverent nickname “Crappy Tire,” however the firm was taken abruptly when a client registered the web site “” and used it to put up adverse complaints in regards to the firm. The firm rapidly filed a case with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), however they misplaced the authorized battle. The WIPO discovered that the corporate had “failed to ascertain that the complainant (the corporate) has rights within the trademark or service mark,” and that due to this fact there was no authorized recourse to reclaim the URL for their common nickname. To make issues worse, Canadian Tire then provided to purchase the area, however the proprietor refused to promote.
Similarly, soccer famous person Cristiano Ronaldo bumped into hassle when he tried to advertise his line of underwear within the U.S. utilizing his common nickname CR7. It turned out that one other enterprise had already trademarked the title CR7 in America, sparking a sophisticated authorized battle. While there’s no avoiding authorized danger fully, it’s a good suggestion for manufacturers to make sure their nicknames are as protected as potential, earlier than a difficulty arises.
What Not to Do
1. Don’t Try to Stop Consumers from Using Nicknames
In 1913, Coca-Cola launched a marketing campaign referred to as Coca-Cola: Ask for it by its full title. Yet after 30 years of persistent advertising, shoppers continued to make use of the nickname “Coke.” More not too long ago, Chevrolet skilled main backlash after information broke that the corporate had banned inside use of the title “Chevy” in an try to make sure model consistency.
Especially if a model nickname has a adverse connotation (comparable to “Whole Paycheck” for Whole Foods, or “Fix it once more, Tony!” for Fiat), it may be tempting to attempt to restrict its use. But when you won’t like your model’s nicknames, you’ll be able to’t actually cease your clients from utilizing them — and also you’re solely more likely to alienate them when you strive.
2. Don’t Co-opt Nicknames
The most important cause that model nicknames resonate with shoppers is that they’re created, used, and owned by shoppers, which means they’re a real reflection of how shoppers really feel a couple of model. Eighty-one p.c of the shoppers in our research believed that model nicknames originate from shoppers, not firms, and 88% felt that nicknames ought to be utilized by people, not by firms. When an organization blatantly tries to undertake its clients’ language for advertising functions, it might probably come off as compelled, remodeling the nickname from a consumer-owned time period of endearment into an official, company-owned title. This typically eliminates the authenticity and genuineness that the title conveyed when used completely by shoppers.
Part of what makes this so difficult is that co-opting nicknames can appear useful to the model within the quick time period, however in the long term, it might probably destroy the title’s standing as a real nickname. This doesn’t imply that manufacturers can by no means use nicknames — nevertheless it’s essential to be strategic about how you utilize them. For instance, absolutely rebranding with a consumer-generated nickname in all probability isn’t a good suggestion, however highlighting model nicknames in referral packages, buyer critiques, or different peer-to-peer interactions can assist to make a model’s advertising message appear genuine and real with out threatening shoppers’ possession of the nickname.
3. Don’t Force a Nickname on Consumers
For a nickname to stay, it has to come back naturally. If your model doesn’t have one but, it may be tempting to provide you with a nickname your self and attempt to push it onto your clients — however our analysis suggests that’s unlikely to work. Nicknames convey authenticity as a result of they’re natural, created and owned by shoppers.
That mentioned, you don’t have to simply sit round and wait, hoping {that a} good nickname will come to you. While you’ll be able to’t pressure a nickname wholesale onto shoppers, there are issues you are able to do to nudge shoppers to provide you with a nickname. One method is to encourage clients to decide on a private nickname for their product or account. For instance, in our earlier analysis, we famous how Chase financial institution gives clients the choice to nickname their accounts, and the way Nikon asks shoppers to nickname their merchandise in the course of the on-line registration course of. While these nicknames begin out as non-public names used solely by particular person shoppers, the catchy ones could go viral rapidly if shoppers select to share them.
Another method is to explicitly crowdsource names out of your buyer base. This lets you be proactive about your model nickname technique whereas nonetheless making certain that these nicknames are genuinely created, shared, and owned by shoppers. For instance, the favored “Do us a taste” marketing campaign from Lay’s invited shoppers to provide you with their very own names for new chip flavors, giving them possession over the title with out completely ceding management over the naming course of.
Of course, many of those consumer-generated nicknames won’t ever acquire traction. But encouraging shoppers to provide you with names for your merchandise can plant the seeds of a profitable nickname. Even if 99% of those names are solely ever utilized by a handful of individuals, all you want is one to go viral for these seeds to develop into a real, widely-used nickname.
Brand nicknames are solely rising extra common amongst shoppers in immediately’s digital panorama. When utilized in the proper manner, these nicknames can confer precious “road cred” onto a model, making its messages seem extra genuine and credible to shoppers. As such, entrepreneurs can be sensible to maintain tabs on these nicknames and guarantee they’re legally protected — however it’s equally essential for entrepreneurs to acknowledge that customers are the true homeowners of those precious model property, and never try to manage or co-opt them. A well known nickname is without doubt one of the biggest items that customers may give to a model they love. It’s as much as entrepreneurs to not squander it.

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