Shakespeare was right to question – what’s in a name?
As it turns out, a name can represent a lot about an entity. Some would say, everything. Choosing the right name for your company or product or service is an important step for business development. Your brand name imprints itself into the minds of your public audience, as well as other partners and suppliers, and it’s all about what your brand ultimately stands for.
Pick the wrong name and you could shut out potential business before you even have the chance to explain who you are and what you do.
Your brand name will have an impact on the success of your business. When working on your naming strategy, make sure that you cover every possible base to boost your odds of success.
Your First Choice
Between experience, market placement and an understanding of the importance of a name, you need to navigate this often-murky step. The first thing people will see is your name, and that name (coupled with a great branding usage), needs to convey as much as possible about what you do, how you want to be perceived by your customers and be done nicely in as few words as possible.
A good name needs to be timeless. While it’s true that your name isn’t the be all and end all of your business’ success, a good name can definitely ramp up your brands perceived value, especially when you’re a start-up.
Make your brand name positive, memorable and visually appealing.
Today, it’s critical to ensure that a domain name exists that will align with your brand. Don’t make audiences work too hard to figure out what your brand is all about.
If you want your business to flourish, it’s a must to bring it to the Internet. You have to ensure that the brand name you come up with is web-friendly, in the sense that the name can be put on the web, having few issues finding and accessing it to gain information about the business.
It would be great to get it right first time, and not have to relaunch it later on. Several historical examples exist where, for various reasons, changes were made, yet nobody remembers the former name of these companies anymore although these companies had invested money and resources behind their original names.
Something you want to avoid doing twice.
Brands and their former names
- Sony (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering)
- Yahoo (Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web)
- Nintendo (Marafuku Company)
- IBM (Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation)
- Pepsi (Brad’s Drink)
- Snickers (Marathon)
There are many ways to brand, and to develop a brand name, and you should consider how to best express what you want to convey to customers.
Here are some options to consider, but many more strategic approaches also exist.
Many luxury, upmarket brands use their “designer’s name” to underpin the hallmark of their origin, as well as immediately signal a personality through this type of borrowed equity. Funnily enough, they often garner a following without anybody considering the origin of the name. Think Prada, Giorgio Armani, Sass & Bide, and Bentley (founded by W. O Bentley).
Recently, it’s been interesting to see Missoni enter into a specific range relationship with Target… people have mixed feelings about the brand “trading down”, others think it’s a clever distribution strategy. What do you think?
Other brands use their founder’s names – Ben & Jerry’s, Wendy’s, Barney’s, Harris Farm.
Similarly some brands just take their positioning and use that. It’s simple, direct and extremely clear – Nudie Juice, Boost, Chicken Tonight, Just Jeans.
Others use their provenance, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Bega Cheese and King Island Dairy.
At other times, the brand can underline your quality and act as a “stamp” of authority or expertise. Brand names that utilise the concept that credentials matter are Kellogg, Sara Lee & Cadbury. This option really only comes with time and customer reinforcement that the brand delivers and earns the respect of it’s users.
In the end, if all else fails, just trust your gut and remember that simplicity, clarity, personality and relevance are the four pillars of a solid name. Don’t get caught up in tapping Greek mythology or random initials in an effort to sound hip or erudite.