You might have had plans that you’ve been working on for a number of years through college. You might be looking at launching a new company as a side hustle with a view to eventually leaving your full-time job to make your living from it. You might be financially independent and not need to work, and have decided now is the time to do something you always wanted to do.
Whatever the circumstances, what doesn’t change is the building blocks of what makes a great business, and a great brand.
Think about trust and reputation on a personal level. These are things you can spend years earning and building, but can lose in a couple of minutes, especially in today’s world where a careless social media post, or a video of you saying something you shouldn’t have, can spread like wildfire.
For a brand in the business world, it’s exactly the same.
The first building block of any new company and brand is the name. Depending on how successful your business becomes, your brand name could one day become synonymous with the product or service you provide.
How many people say “use a search engine”? How many say “Google it”?
Remember the brand concept.
Google is admittedly an extreme example, but you’re starting your business and building your brand with ambition, right? Why not aim for the top?
Once you’ve got a brand name, you can start to build things like your brand identity, brand values and decide what your business really stands for beyond the simple objective of selling or providing something to generate revenue and profit.
Let’s take a look at how you can ensure you choose an amazing brand name and start your new business on a positive pathway to success.
Choosing a Brand Name Isn’t Easy!
A brand or company name isn’t just a cool catchy name that you like the sound of.
This can be one element of it, sure, but there has to be something beyond this.
Can your brand name communicate something to your customers, either directly or subconsciously?
Can your brand name tell your story in one or two words?
Coming up with a business name as an individual process can be easy. However, in today’s world you’re probably also going to be thinking about how it will look online, both from a website and social media perspective, not to mention whether anyone else has already got a brand with the same name.
Communicating your brand name in the market.
On day one, the only person who knows your brand from head to toe is you. Let’s take a look at how you can get to where you want to be.
The Potential Complexities of Designing and Choosing a Brand Name
The reality of business is that many people will get started and not actually understand what they’re trying to achieve themselves. This is a certain path to things not going as you want them to.
Before you get started, take the time to know yourself, the business and the brand you want to build!
Understand your business for your brand name.
You have to make sure of how you can connect with customers. Can your brand name also highlight what makes you unique and help you to stand out in a crowded global marketplace?
What Makes an Amazing Brand Name?
According to Source,
“91% of consumers would rather buy from an authentic brand,” while, “48% of consumers say their first purchase or interaction is the best time to earn their loyalty.”
Designing and choosing an amazing brand name could be the crucial step that makes you feel authentic, and give you that opportunity to wow customers with a first purchase or interaction and earn priceless brand loyalty from day one.
While it’s easy to go on a site like Fiverr to ask someone to come up with a business name for you at a very low cost, you should question whether this is a worthwhile path to authenticity. If you browse the site names at Brandnic, we’ve provided a short backstory around how we’ve come up with the name, and we allow you to revise the logo however you wish. Not only does this allow you to fall in love with your brand name, but you can add your own twist via the logo design, too.
Naming your brand or business might be a journey in itself.
Remember, if your brand goes where you want it to, it will be something that has a significant impact on everything you do, become a household name, and one day become synonymous with incredible quality and service in your industry.
With your long-term vision in mind, it pays to be as involved in the naming process as possible. Yes, seek constructive criticism, feedback, and advice, but you have to drive this.
What should you take into account when picking and designing a brand name?
Qualities of brand names: distinctive, accessible, protectable and futureproof.
1. Your Brand Name Has to Mean Something
It has to make sense, be cohesive with the brand essence and image you want to build, and to have a powerful impact on your customers.
2. Your Brand Name Has to Be Distinctive
While you might be planning for your brand to compete in a small niche, in the wider global context you will be competing with millions of other companies for attention.
How can you make your brand name unique, distinctive, memorable, and meaningful?
3. Your Brand Name Has to Be Accessible
Is your brand name easy to comprehend, spell, say, and search for? A brand that’s easy to misspell or no-one knows how to pronounce could give you an avoidable obstacle to deal with.
If you settle on a longer name, think about how you can abbreviate it.
GSK is almost universally recognized as GlaxoSmithKline, for example.
4. Ideally, Your Brand Name Will Be Protectable
Look to choose a company name that you can trademark, read details on How to Trademark your Company?
Part of the brand naming process should also be checking that a suitable website domain name is available, that you can buy and lock down into your possession for as long as you need to.
5. Can You Make Your Brand Name “Futureproof”?
No-one knows what the future will hold. With that said, how is it even possible to futureproof a brand name?
The trick here is to try and avoid anything that may stop you from diversifying.
The essence of a brand name: attractive, easy to remember, clear and natural.
Had Bezos come up with a name for his brand that involved the word “Books”, for example, what impact might that have had in the future when the business diversified into selling other products?
When Designing and Choosing a Brand Name, start to Think About Your Brand’s Visual Identity
You don’t need to be designing a full set of brand guidelines at this stage, but you should be definitely thinking about what your brand and company name will look like on your website, on a business card, and even on the side of a van or an airplane!
By choosing one of our brand names and logos here at Brandnic, you’ll get ahead as you’ll already have some idea of your brand’s visual identity.
Choosing one of our ideas can also be ideal if you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to a company name and brand identity.
Preserving Your Core Identify Within Your Brand Name
Who are you?
If someone asks you that question, what is the answer?
We’re not just talking about your name, your background, how old you are and where you’re from.
WHO are you?
Knowing your brand: mission, vision, and values.
What beliefs drive who you are, the way you act, and what your objectives are.
Now, answer these questions about your brand.
Giving this some thought will help you travel further down the path of creating a memorable brand name. At the same time, if you are unsure as to the answers to those questions, you might need to stop thinking of a brand name right now and simply think about why you’re bringing this new business into existence.
In establishing and preserving your core identity, you should be thinking about:
1. Your Brand’s Mission
What does your company do? What makes it unique?
2. Your Brand’s Vision
Why does your company exist? What is the bigger picture beyond your mission of what you’re trying to achieve for your customers?
3. Your Brand’s Values
What are the specific beliefs and behaviors that underpin your mission and values? How do you go about your business and delivering outstanding products or services to your customers? What makes your brand remarkable in this respect?
Being able to address each of these three areas will help you to understand your purpose and both help you to select an amazing name now as well as underpinning how you operate in the long-term.
Knowing Your Audience
Many brands make the mistake of launching and then thinking about their audience and how they can effectively target them.
If you want to be successful, and come up with an appealing brand name, it pays to know exactly who you’re trying to appeal to from day one. How can you be as specific as possible and tie this into your brand name design and choice?
If you can design a brand name and launch with strong branding to appeal to your main target demographic, you could enjoy strong growth from day one.
Knowing your brand audience: age, gender, location, income, and influences.
Take the below factors into consideration when determining who your ideal audience is.
- Education Level
- Goals & Motivations
- Existing Brand Affinities
- What Influences Them?
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, or even come up with a handful of different customer profiles, you could even test these out via online research or do your own local research to see what resonates with people.
Time to Brainstorm!
Sometimes, you’re just going to need to sit down in a room, either by yourself or with others, lock the doors, and see what you can come up within a couple of hours.
If you’re totally stuck for ideas, a great thing to do is to apply the “so what?” principle.
Applying business principles and strategy.
You have a business. So what?
It provides this specific service. So what?
It does it better because of X, Y, and Z. So what?
You can do this yourself or get someone to “so what?” you. What you’re trying to tease out of this is why your business is unique and stands out.
You can also apply this principle to some of the steps earlier, but it’s a great one to help you unlock your thinking or if you feel like you’ve hit a wall creatively.
Different Types of Brand Names
There are several different types of brand names. None are particularly better than the others, all that matters is that yours feels authentic, both to you and to your customers. Let’s take a look at some of the different concepts of brand name types.
1. Founder Brand Names
Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood – we could go through a whole range of brands that are named for their founders. The advantage of picking this category is that it is a pretty straightforward process. You just use your name and add what you do.
2. Fabricated Brand Names
It’s totally acceptable to make up a new word or a brand name. What can you creatively come up with?
Think about companies like Xerox, Kodak, Tivo, and Verizon. All four of these brands were just pulled out of someone’s creative thoughts, and today are all synonymous with the product or service they provide. Making up something out of the blue might be the best approach to take, as you stand a greater chance of a web domain being available and being able to copyright protect it down the line.
All you need to make sure you do is come up with a catchy, simple name if you go down this path. Remember the examples we gave just now!
3. Metaphors as Brand Names
Choosing a brand name that can be a metaphor can help give meaning and reflect specific imagery onto your brand. You could choose a place, a person, or an animal, for example.
Think about the example we gave right at the start of the article. Why did Bezos settle on Amazon again?
Metaphors and acronyms names.
4. Acronyms as Brand Names
An acronym will often become your brand name by default.
For example, most people will know HBO as HBO and not as “Home Box Office”.
You can use an acronym as your brand name if you wish, but it’s best to ensure it’s catchy and the actual name makes sense when you have to answer what the letters in the acronym stand for. These can be highly strategic brand names but might cause you issues when trying to grow, as in the short term at least you’ll always find yourself explaining what our acronym means.
Checking If Your Brand or Company Name is “Available”
This can be the toughest part of the whole process if you go it alone. You come up with a great business name, have a stunning brand concept in mind, then discover there’s already a company, website, or trademarked product or service with the same name.
It’s important to search for a trademark name online
Depending on your location, there will be a wealth of tools available to check company names and trademarks, and whether these are local or global trademarks. If you’re unsure, then look to speak with an attorney for guidance.
Check the Trademark within the jurisdiction of your business.
It is also worth checking that your name doesn’t say something negative or suggestive when translated into other languages if you plan on going global with your brand. For example, the popular Brazilian beer Brahma is called “Brahva” in some Central American countries, as “brahma” can mean “horny” in this region!
Testing Out Your Brand or Business Name
If your brand name is good and available, it’s time to take it out and test it with the public before you go all out and launch it.
There are a number of ways you can do this.
You can keep it as simple as asking people whether they like the name, and what they think of when they hear the name. Alternatively, you could create a mock website, packaging, or other assets and ask people what they think.
Communicate your brand name message in the right way.
You could even set up a live landing page and run some Facebook advertising to see how people react to the name and your branding. Add a survey to the landing page, A/B test different designs and names, and do anything else that will help you get a clear idea of whether people like your brand.
Summarising the Top Tips for Choosing an Amazing Brand Name
1. Know What You’re Trying to Achieve
What is the business you are naming? What does it want to achieve?
Remember, think about WHO you are.
Clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and this whole process will become much easier. It might take you longer to get to the final idea, but you can cross unsuitable ideas and names out of your thought process far quicker.
2. Know Your Target Audience
A business that doesn’t take the time to understand its target audience isn’t really a business at all and will be lucky if it enjoys even moderate success.
3. Know What You Want Your Brand Name and Message to Communicate
We’ve only looked at the brand name as a specific matter in this article, but you also need to be thinking about your wider brand message.
What is your brand name and message going to communicate? You should be focused on communicating an image of excellence, trustworthiness, and authenticity.
If your brand name does nothing else but conveys these three attributes, you’ll already be a long way towards success.
Choosing a name for your brand is like choosing a name for your child. It isn’t something that you can take lightly, and it’s something that they will carry around for years. Your brand name will hopefully become much more than an identifier of who you are. It will come to represent your brand, become synonymous with what you do, and be shared positively across the world.
While you might have a wealth of business ideas ready to unleash on the world, it’s definitely worth taking the time to fully invest in creating a powerful name that is going to stand the test of time.
Perhaps most importantly, you should recognize that this is just the first step in the longer-term process of building your brand. The name is simply the first, but crucial, foundation from which you will look to build in the coming years.
Remember that if you need assistance in choosing a brand or company name, Brandnic can help you.
Choosing the right name.
We offer a wealth of naming options for your business, ensure that you have a domain to go with the name, and can help you to get started with your wider brand and visual identity too while allowing you to take ownership and add authenticity via your own ideas through a revised logo design.