Recently one of our amazing clients approached us to assist in the development of a new brand and identity targeting children between the ages of 4-11. In the brainstorming process, the client had come up with several great ideas and we thought it would be great to share the thought process behind choosing a brand name and some of the many factors that need to be considered.
The following a five examples of names that came up:
While the names are cute, as history would dictate these types of names are very hard for children to remember. To associate the name with an actual character they will need to be developed quite literally. For example, SoxandShoes would need to be a pair of socks and shoes rather than say a bunny named SoxandShoes. Preadolescent minds work by developing associations between words actual images. In short, they are more inclined to remember if both the character and the characters name is representative of something in their developing world (either the real world around them or their world of knowledge such as other books, fairly tales, shows etc).
Some of the most successful characters abide by this associative child psychology and combine a name with an image. This helps the child understand that Jim is an Earthworm and Sonic is in fact a Hedgehog. Puff the magic Dragon is another good example of this.
Another popular way of approaching this is to combine the literal object a character is formed around and an adjective. Mr.HappyClam is a good example of a noun + substantive adjective approach. Further examples are:
In some popular fiction and games outlandish names are given without an associated noun but this is often only effective with teen+ audiences. JK Rowling uses whimsical names such as Hagrat and Dumbeldor but it will take children more than a few times to recall that Hagrat is an Ogre and Dumbeldor is a wizard for the simple reason of absent associative logic. Without this correlation you risk losing some of your repeat audience members in the target demographic.
If you are faced with such a branding situation, we would suggest nailing down what you want the characters to be (fox, clam, toad etc) then tying in a name and or adjective as outlined above.