9 min read
Open up a venture and make a name for yourself. So are the aspirations of every business owner out there. As much as a good reputation is earned, some success stories are not coincidental. And they usually start by getting one thing right: the brand name.
Indeed, having a compelling brand name can make or break a business. It’s the element that comprises the whole story of your business into one or two words. Get them right and you become a household name. Get them wrong and you wreak havoc on your reputation.
With the stakes so high, it’s only natural that choosing the brand name is an important factor in the branding process. It identifies the brand in the mind of the consumer and reveals part of the promise that it makes to the world. Let’s see what you need to get started.
Find a Brand Name that Speaks Volumes
A 5-Step Strategy to Success
Before you rush to start putting pen to paper and bounce around several brand name ideas with your team, stop for a second. Follow this 5-step strategy that will surely land you the name that is likely to speak volumes for your brand.
- Step 1: Determine Your Ideal CustomerOr your customer avatar. This implies zooming in on your ideal customer, not the average buyer, and detailing everything about them. Once you know who you’re targeting, you will know if the name will appeal to them or not.To get started with your customer avatar, you can check out your competitors’ social presence. Or use online tools that can reveal the demographic profile of the people that visit your competitors’ websites. This will give you the hard data you need to determine your ideal customer.
- Step 2: Choose Your Brand ArchetypeThere are 12 brand archetype options out there, so you have plenty to choose from —
including the explorer, the outlaw, or the innocent. What are these, you ask? Brand archetypes help you understand what your brand will represent.To get you started, you should consider how do you intend to create an emotional resonance with your prospects. What values will you put out there? Will you include jokes or puns in your brand image? Or will you project a more serious one? The answers to these questions should be reflected back into your brand name, so you’d better think wisely
Example: These are brands that belong to the creator archetype or also known as the innovator and the inventor.
- Step 3: List Your Brand Name OptionsNow it’s time to put pen to paper and jot down all the possible options that could make up as your brand name. You have some possible options here.You could go for something descriptive (General Motors, Bank of America), evocative (Apple, Amazon), invented (Adidas, Pixar), lexical (Dunkin’ Donuts, Tumblr), or geographical (American Airlines, Kentucky Fried Chicken). If all else fails, you could rely on acronyms (IBM, BP) or your name as founder (Kellogg’s, Ford).
No matter the strategy, there are some common rules to consider as you narrow down your list:
• Keep it short and sweet
• Make sure it’s memorable
• Don’t be too descriptive
• Prevent mispronunciations
To accelerate this process, you could also rely on online tools that will generate brand name ideas to help you have a larger and more robust list of options.
- Step 4: Confirm the Availability of Your OptionsOnce you’ve settled on a couple of brand name options, check if they coincide with other brand names out there. Some companies hold a brand name trademark to protect it from misuse. At this point, you also want to confirm that a domain name is available for your top options. All your efforts will go down the drain if your brand name is already taken.To do so, you can start by searching your proposed name on multiple search engines and see if anything else comes up. You can run the same process on all social media platforms. Moreover, there are plenty of tools online that allow you to do a domain name search and check for potential brand name overlaps. And last but not least, you can check at the local Intellectual Property Office to see if there are any registered trademarks under the same name.
Since this one step you cannot overlook, it’s important to try out all the strategies out there for the best results.
- Step 5: Test, Test, TestBefore you make any decision, it’s important to gather as much feedback as possible to determine if the brand name would appeal to your target audience. Is it memorable? Is it attractive? Does it inspire trust? These are important questions that you need to get answers to.If your business is brand new, you could start from surveying your close ones — friends, family, or employees. This process is slightly easier if your business is already up and running. You could send out an online survey to existing customers via social media or email.
At this point, all you have to do is listen to what they have to say. Any feedback is valuable and could take you back to step 1. But it’s better to start from scratch before you put your name out there. Once it’s in front of your prospects, the stakes are higher and you could lose ROI.
Maximizing the Value of Your Brand Name
Here are some important aspects to consider as you settle on your brand name:
- Don’t neglect SEO: Having a catchy brand name is important, but you can’t rely on this alone to grow your business. Upping your SEO efforts and making sure that your business comes up when people search for your product offering is equally important.
- Don’t be too descriptive: Your brand name does not need to describe your product offering. Sticking to a literal name means that you are not going beyond your product or service. After all, branding means going beyond features and aiming for a broader sense of identity.
- Always put value first: Admittedly, there is a lot of effort that gets put into the brand name — it should be memorable, it should be cool, it should be bold, and all that. But don’t put hype over quality. If all you generate is hype, people will eventually notice and all your branding efforts will backfire.
You Got Your Brand Name - Now What?
Your brand name creation is only the start of your branding journey. Now you can think about all the other aspects that will accompany it: the brand name with logo, font, letter case, spelling, and so on.
Once you have all these elements figured out, you can establish an online presence and slowly but surely build an actual name for yourself in the market.
Whether you want to grasp the basics of branding for your new business, want to work on your brand strategy, are stuck with your brand visuals or want to find branding tips on how to grow your business, check out:
- Foundations — Learn the basics of branding
- Strategy — Plan your brand strategy
- Build Story — Build a brand 1: Your brand story
- Build Visuals — Build a brand 2: Your brand visuals
- Management — Control your brand: Brand management
- Growth — Grow your brand: Brand marketing
- Improvement — Improve your brand: The rebrand
- Measurement — Measure your brand: Brand analytics and KPIs