💡 Branding advice from a master

And how he saved me from a meltdown

A couple of weeks ago, I was a little stressed. One of my businesses is a sort of holding company with a bunch of health brands in it. I'm not really associated with the different brands too much; I'm mostly just the owner who chimes in on formulas.

All was well until caffeinated-motivated-Travis decided to launch a new brand inside of it, a brand that makes the type of quality supplements that I think should exist in the world, but thus-far don't. A brand that I could put my Travis-stamp-of-approval on and call my own.

Everything was going well. The first few products were already being manufactured, I was super happy with our logo, Tony (the CEO) hadn't yelled at me yet for being my usual slow self, etc. Life was good.

I'd spent weeks of frustration searching for a brand name I liked, and had finally decided on Noble Labs. We searched for anyone else using the branding and it came up clear. The weight was lifted off my shoulders. Tap dancing ensued.

Then... we hit a snag. Our always lovely attorneys (mean it) got back to us with the official trademark search. The risk was high that we'd have problems and they couldn't give us the go-ahead.

Crushed 💀

I also knew that Tony might finally yell at me now as the manufacturers were getting cranky about having the labels.

Double crushed 💀💀

Panic ensued. I was throwing out every random name I could think of. It was ugly.

I asked the investing.io group for help. There were some solid responses (much better than I had done), but I couldn't quite find the right thing.

Then my buddy Bill D'Alessandro text me. He'd read the thread and came to help. Bill is uber-successful and has an oversized brain, so when he talks, I listen.

The Chat

How to Find Customer Archetype when choosing brand name
Brainstorming character names for choosing a brand name
Using Midjourney to brainstorm product packaging for new brand
Midjourney example of brainstorming brand

And just for reference, here was his post in investing.io about using Midjourney for packaging:

Using midjourney for customer packaging design

Outside the box

I think you can probably see the 2nd level thinking going on in this branding exercise.

It's not just finding something that sounds neat.

> "You have to start with a customer archetype before the name."

What are some good terms to describe your ideal customer?

What real or fictional hero of yours would be the perfect embodiment of someone using your brand?

> Pick your hero archetype. Even better if it’s a character from literature, history, or fiction. If they launched a supplement brand, what would they call it?

> “What are some of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous quotes about courage”

> “Give me a list of characters from Norse mythology who are courageous” Tell me stories about those characters.

Try and find the essence of your character or archetype. Not descriptions of them, but the essence.

It's about finding a name that will evoke the desired emotion. A name that represents the qualities and principles that your company represents, but doing it in a sort of non-direct roundabout way.

> I used to do all this with google search, which was super time-consuming. ChatGPT’s summarization and ability to quote stuff makes it way faster.

And, of course, using ChatGPT and Midjourney to make the process easier.

(what newsletter in 2023 would be complete without mentioning ChatGPT at least once?)

The Result

I did indeed end up finding my new brand. The name came directly from Bill's good tips, so I most certainly owe him a steak dinner at our next meeting (steak dinners are the currency of business).

The name?

Well, I'm going to be super cruel and make you wait until I actually launch it. I'm ridiculously annoying, I know, just ask Tony (mostly kidding).

P.S. If you like Bill's insights here, he's also the man at optimizing "real" finance within a company. Take a look at this counterintuitive example.

The Bonus Round

The SEC is (rightfully) suing Genesis and Gemini for engaging in an unregistered offer and sale of securities to retail investors via the "Gemini Earn" product (Why did the SEC wait until investors lost money??). Alameda liquidators got themselves liquidated on AAVE. And then they got liquidated again 🤦. ChatGPT is piloting a pro version. Su Zhu and Kyle Davies (from the blown-up 3AC fund) are raising $25m for a new crypto claims marketplace for liquidating blown-up exchanges 🤡. Konstantine Kisin's viral speech on the only (logical) way to defeat climate change hits hard. The god-tier marketer Ryan Reynolds uses ChatGPT to write an ad in his voice (spoiler: it did a good job).

Talk to you next week,-Travis

Huge Disclaimer in Smaller Font

This content is being provided for information and discussion purposes only and should not be seen as a recommendation to do anything at all, especially not to buy or sell a security. Opinions expressed are that of the author, who is NOT a registered investment adviser, or a financial professional, or can barely even tie his shoes half the time. Do not try and copy the author, or you’ll probably lose all of your money and have a rather bad day. There may also be affiliate links in here because he likes money.