How to Name an Unsinkable Business
Naming your brand is a fun activity that yet requires a great deal of thoughtfulness. You want it to sound nice and interesting, but you also need it to serve your particular business. The two key aspects of a brand name are its individual likability and the way it fits your enterprise.
A likable brand name should be:
If you’re used to following others, this approach doesn’t apply well to brand naming. In a niche overcrowded by typical names built by the same principle, it’s a crime not to try and stand out, because when all the companies that offer the same service sound very similar or generic, people are likely to use the coin tossing method to choose their provider.
This point stems from the previous one: you don’t want your brand name to get lost among others. But simply being different from your peer businesses does not guarantee that customers are still going to remember your name. It should appeal to the customer’s needs which your business can satisfy.
For example, brands that offer some cutting-edge services aimed at rapid progress or radical change – like IT companies or sportswear stores – would do well if their names called customers to action. On the other hand, places like cafes and toy stores should have names that create a sense of coziness and joy.
You also might want to see “The Dark art of Narconomics” for a different take on marketing and business.
A matching atmosphere can be created by the use of certain sounds in the brand’s name since people find some words to be more acute and sharp, while others seem to be soft and fuzzy. A nice harmonic effect can also be created by the use of the same vowel in the word, and if the name has two words, there is a certain sense of synchronicity when they both start with the same letter.
Knowing these things, you may as well create a whole new word with those effects.
Words create certain associations in the mind, and it’s useful to get the substantial feedback – especially from people who represent your target audience – about those associations before you make it official.
Do you remember how a paper provider Dunder Mifflin in The Office was confused for a company that sells muffins? Exactly, you don’t want that kind of confusion for yourself.
All these correlations may vary from culture to culture, from generation to generation. This is why, like in any other activity, you must keep your target customer in mind here. And if your brand intends to be global, make sure the name is neutral enough to appeal equally to as many cultures as possible.
Another thing that is highly memorable is using curiously unmatching word-combinations, something like naming a gym “Lazy and Fit”. A bold move, but can be quite beneficial if made properly.
It goes without saying, your brand’s name should be easy enough to pronounce and spell. If your desired name is too long or hard to pronounce, you can always adjust it a little bit. Cher, of course, is not a brand, but she is a good example: Cher is a much more fitting stage name then Cherilyn Sarkisian.
And it’s not only important how your brand’s name sounds but also how it looks. It must be convenient for an Internet domain (and you most probably will need one). The logo design should also be taken into consideration, as the name must be easy to create a logo for and readable in at least a few fonts.
Now we switch to the way the name should fit the business. And the criteria here are:
Clearly, the main criterion here is the purpose your company wills to serve: save lives, provide opportunities, wrap people in care and entertainment, etc. This is what you want to be reflected in your brand’s name. This purpose has two levels: you bear in mind what is important in your field of service in general, and what is important for your company in particular.
Ensure that the style of your name and the style of your business are not discordant. You usually cannot name a hipster coffee shop after a French monarch, making it sound like a fancy restaurant and thus misleading potential customers.
3. Individual products.
If your company provides a range of different products, each with their own name, make sure that the brand’s name matches them well – and vice versa.
On the same note, read “The Ultimate Guide to Brand“.
Keep Your Future in Mind
When naming your brand, think about tomorrow. Tomorrow you may want to expand your business, either to other areas or other types of products. Make sure the name won’t be a limitation for the customers’ awareness of how much you can offer them. They indeed will be surprised to know you’re selling wine and scotch while your company is named “The Beer Keg”.
The Basics of the Naming Process
The only way to come up with a name is to simply use your creativity and analytical skills together: take whatever comes to mind and then evaluate those names by the foregoing characteristics.
You can do this on your own, assign this task to all your employees, pitch to one of those contests where people create names for companies based on their description – but in the end, don’t forget about feedback. You can pick a big bunch of possible names so that you have enough alternatives and a chance to combine ideas behind different names.
Remember About Rights
Last but not the least is something very important that you hopefully shouldn’t even be reminded of: no stealing. Don’t steal or imitate other names neither by intention nor by accident. You have to thoroughly check if nobody else has your brand’s name and domain already. Mind the consequences, and simply follow your own path.