6 Memory Factors to Consider as You Craft Your Brand Name

Naming a business is a lot like laying the cornerstone of a building. Choosing a business name is an important step in the business planning process. Picking a killer name for your business is harder than it might seem. Below are some great practical insights to make it easy. Follow these rules to choose the best name possible for your business.
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6 Memory Factors to Consider as You Craft Your Brand Name

The science of memory breaks down into three parts: encoding, storage and retrieval. We encode through all five of our senses. Two of thesesenses, sight and hearing, are under more control during the namingprocess than the other three. However, taste, smell and touch are partof the experience as a whole for consumers when they interact with abrand.
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Keeping in mind the process of encoding and storing, here are a few memory methods to consider when naming your business:

1. The basics

Find words or pairings with a rhythm or semantic flow, which helpsto avoid leaving someone with a hard stop. This tends to createalliteration, such as Freaky Friday or Sunny Shores.

2. Beautiful sounds

People are most likely to remember how something makes them feel. This means that beautiful-sounding names have a better chance ofencoding into long-term memory. Interesting fact: “Cellar Door” has been rated as the most phonetically beautiful pairing of words.
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3. Scrabble test

Names with letters that have high point values in Scrabble — J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z — tend to be more memorable, likely because theyare less commonly found in western languages. This less commonly foundattribute makes a name more distinct for encoding into memory.

4. Letter-form beauty

Brand names are more often seen in writing than any other form, sohaving a name translated into visual language, such as a logo, is animportant next step. Take OXO and xpedx for example. These brands havenatural letter-form beauty.

5. Contextual meaning

A name should feel like a fit for the category it is going tooccupy. Do this by being relatable through contextual meaning. Forexample, naming a small pillow company Microsoft today would be odd, but 100 years ago it may have worked.

6. Skew physical

Brothers Dan and Chip Heath made this factor famous in their book, Made to Stick. The more physical and tangible a word is, the easier it will be toremember. The reason? It gives someone an image in their mind and helpsto store it as a memory. Take “mossy rock” vs. “soft place” as anexample. One is an object and the other is a concept. Guess which onesomeone would remember tomorrow?

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Not every name is going to encompass all of these factors, butconsidering them gives a better sense of how memorable a name may bewhen it reaches the eyes and ears of a brand’s audiences.

Now to the third component of memory: retrieval. This is the action of recalling something from short- or long-term memory. The marketingand advertising community spends a lot of time and money to try to getpeople to recall a brand name. Think about all the jingles, repetitionand focus on frequency in advertising.

The purpose of this is to recall memories, pull them forward andthen create favorable behaviors for the brand: mentions or purchases.Instead, pay a smaller price by starting off with a memorable name.There will be better recall built into the brand name and alonger-lasting response.
When the naming process is ready to begin, apply the sixmemorability guidelines listed above. Then, pick the top five names that are being considered and show them to five people. After one week, askthem which of the five names they remember. If they remember one, that’s a winner. If a memory was made with just one frequency and very littlecontext, it’s on the right path. If not, keep trying.
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When it gets frustrating, think about how much might be spentwithin five years trying to get people to remember a name. As the saying goes, “Frequency (in advertising) is the price you pay for not beinginteresting.”
Don’t be afraid to seek out a professional or spend extra time toget to a name. Doing that and following the methods above will findsomething truly memorable.

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