Emerging COVID-19 Vaccines – Unique Branding Considerations

Since the initial spread of COVID-19 in 2019, we’ve seen a drastic change in the world where working from home and wearing masks to the grocery have become second nature. There is a desperate need to quickly and safely develop a vaccine in order to prevent further spread of the virus and hopefully return us all to something akin to our former comfort. Furthermore, some changes may not be going anywhere. Just as we visit the pharmacy or the doctor’s office during flu season to get vaccinated, we may be freshening up on the COVID vaccine regularly in the future.

As of now, there are more than 70 organizations worldwide working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19—many of which are already in clinical trials. As a result, many of these vaccines will be entering the market around the same time and will compete to establish their efficacy. So, what does this mean from a branding perspective – how will sponsors successfully and quickly get a top-notch name into the market?

About Naming Vaccinations

Firstly, we must consider that naming vaccines is different than naming other pharmaceuticals. Vaccine names are typically more direct, functional, and descriptive and often have a clearer correlation with the virus or disease.

If you’re keeping up with the increasing list of candidates in development, you will start to see patterns emerge that reveal the various naming strategies. For example, though these vaccinations aren’t officially available on the market, we can see that many of them are already using word parts or identifiers related to “COIVD” in their marketing such as the Swiss biotech’s candidate – COVIDAX.

What Does This Mean for Your Naming Strategy? 

  1. It’s imperative that your name stands against the crowd as it emerges alongside other options – work to select names that are short, distinct from competitors, and highly memorable.
  2. You have to think about the COVID word part – should you use this in your name? As shown above, this seems to be a common strategy for emerging products. However, this means that the market will become increasingly saturated with the covid, cov, covi ovi, vid, etc. word parts. This is something to keep in mind while you’re exploring name options. If you do decide to move forward with this direction, you may want to keep distinct back-up name options in your arsenal that don’t utilize these letter strings as well.
  3. You have to think about the future – how will this name evolve? As we’ve previously mentioned, COVID is here to stay. It’s important to ensure you’re employing a naming strategy with future growth potential. How will future vaccine names/iterations differ from this one – perhaps there’s a common prefix, infix, or suffix you can use throughout your future naming architecture. Make sure you’re having these kinds of conversations upfront before any naming begins so that you can be confident in any future strategy.

If you are in the process of developing a product or vaccine name and need help and guidance with naming and brand development, submit a direct question to the experts at Brandsymbol here.