A great business name clearly tells people who you are, what youdo, and what you are all about. It evokes a feeling that connects and is memorable. A fantastic name is an excellent start to building yourbrand, while a horrible name can cripple you at the starting gate. Sowhat are some important things to consider when creating that name orbrand for your business?
1. Keep it simple
Your brand name should be short, easy to pronounce, spell andunderstand. Too often, business owners feel the need to have an overlydescriptive title to their company. A name such as “Srivasnanamians’ GTA Business to Business Advertising Services” breaks several rules at thesame time. Ideally you want one word and minimal syllables. If you wantto add another word, do it only if you absolutely have to.Alternatively, you can try to think if there is another single word that works better. The world’s most powerful brands such Nike, Google,Apple, and Facebook, have a simplicity that is elegant and powerful.
2. Make it relevant and memorable
Your brand name is more relevant if it lets customers know what you do, if it stands for something, or has a call to action. But even moreimportant is to make your name memorable. This can be done in severalways. Try to come up with something catchy or distinctive. If your namecan creatively stick in people’s minds or is one of those words that are repeatable, that sizzle can spread. If you’re business has a completely new offering or has limited competitors, you can be a bit more boldwith selecting a name. Something entirely unique or weird can also work. You can use a dictionary and thesaurus, but sometimes a made up namecan set you apart from your competitors. Just make sure you follow mostof the other rules, as it is impossible to follow all of them.
3. Think long-term
You may be starting out locally, but any forward thinkingentrepreneur should set a growth goal that goes much further. Namesbased on location (e.g. Yorkville Cleaners) or geographic area (e.g.Ontario Paper) severely limits you if you start to have major success.Having to re-brand a name or image costs money and time. The otheraspect is your product/service offering. Perhaps you may plan to extendyour offerings and your brand name limits you (e.g. Just Lamps!). Thestronger a brand name becomes, the better it can offer a broader rangeof products (e.g. Virgin)
4. Use pro-active language
Language is a tricky thing. Certain words generate an emotion orperception that is either good, bad, or neutral. Whatever branding youpick, the language has to be carefully thought out. Choose words thatare positive, pro-active, forward-thinking, inspirational, and engaging. Be also cognizant of current cultural trends that are hot and avoid the ones that are blasé (e.g. Synergy).
5. Research & Brainstorm names
There is nothing like solid research to determine what you like and what you don’t like about both names in market and what yourcompetitors choose for names. Don’t try to pick something similar toyour competitors or else you will confuse your customers. When you find a name you love, figure out the root of that name, how the company cameup with it or what is so appealing about it. When you brainstorm names,do it first without judgement and then try to springboard off ideas youlike. It’s better to have a nice exhaustive list to start before youclose in on the names are true winners. This also helps you to avoidnames that are so similar that end up with a lawsuit (e.g. McDowell’svs. McDonald’s)
6. Focus on Customers and not yourself
I’m sure your name sound lovely or it sounds pretty cool to you. But do your customers care? Unless your name IS the brand (e.g. Martha Stewart), try to avoid brand names that use your name, or something relevant/funny only to you and a few others. Similarly initials can be quite appealing, but the bestinitialled brands in the market have been around forever. If you becomeas big as RIM or IBM, (and I hope you do!) feel free to change yourbranding then. Lastly, to avoid your bias, be sure to get tons offeedback from family, friends, potential clients and suppliers.
7. Think Visually
When someone hears your brand, what do they envision? Hopefully the same thing you do! A name that creates a visual image in someone’s mind can be a great connector and incentive. At the same time, how does your name look on paper or in a logo? It needs to be clean, clear, andvisually appealing. If you want to come up with a logo too, then theimage needs to work well with the brand name. (e.g. Nokia: ConnectingPeople) The visuals must conjure up positive and relevant associations.
Whatever brand name you choose, make it sure it boldly deliverswhat you want for your business. Ideally your brand will engage yourcustomers and everyone else and you’ll have them begging for more.