Some confusion over the use of Apostrophes in the Brand Name or logo (Nilon’s V/s Nilon’s) while discussing with the agency inspired me to write this post. It’s always interesting to explore more about brands and the history behind their visual identity. Whether to use that additional [‘s] in logos still remains a matter of debate.
When we look at McDonald’s, Levi’s, Macy’s, etc., each of these logos connotes “the business belonging to some person, place, a fictional character or something”.
However, brands like Starbucks, Papa John’s, TGI Fridays, and Barclays have dropped the famous apostrophe long back to mesh better with the digital age and please search engines.
Let’s check The Reasons Why Brands Choose to use Apostrophes in the Brand Name?
There are a few reasons why brands choose to avoid adding an apostrophe to their names.
1Internet is now playing a significant role in marketing. You cannot have an apostrophe in your domain name. So even though you tell people your company is called McDonald’s when they go on the web they will find you at McDonalds.com.
2Be easily discoverable organically. search engines often generate different results for terms with apostrophes than ones without them. Hence brands have dropped apostrophes in a quest to be SEO friendly.
3Most graphic designers believe that a presence of a special character in a brand name potentially hampers the composite look in terms of placements and symmetry. In other words, no special character essentially means a cleaner and smarter look. Papa John’s was rebranded as Papa John’s precisely for a cleaner visual brand identity.
In other words, no special character essentially means a cleaner and smarter look. Papa John’s was rebranded as Papa John’s precisely for a cleaner visual brand identity.
4It’s always safe to avoid any sort of potential confusion in consumers’ minds from advertising arising out of apostrophes or not.
What is the harm of using an apostrophe in a brand name?
Having an apostrophe shows how correct (grammatically and meaning) a brand wants to be. However, brands are not known by their meaning, but by how they solve the problems of consumers. And in such an environment having apostrophes or no apostrophes doesn’t matter. As correctly pointed out, in the digital era, it is best to avoid apostrophes and make.
Apostrophes in business names and place names
Here’s another way to look at the issue. In almost all the cases where an apostrophe gets used in a brand, it points to an individual in the past who started his/her business and in absence of a coined name did the simplest task of just adding an apostrophe and an ‘s’.
Over a period, these brands acquired stature, and an identity of their own, less dependent on the owner’s identity. Whereas, for an unknown brand, it helped to leverage the goodwill and equity of the owner, in the current form has acquired a stature, the need for an apostrophe itself doesn’t exist.
So, treating it as just a proper noun, with an ‘s’ to end with and without an apostrophe to precede it is an absolutely fine choice to make given the digital limitations that come with an apostrophe.
What do you think about the apostrophe used in the brand name? Leave your thoughts here.
I have published this article only for educational purposes. If you want to read more content, follow Kiran Giradkar on Linkedin.
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