The perfect brand name is not just something that sounds great on your business card, it’s something that helps you communicate a message to your clients.
Why do you need an original brand name? Businesses need one because clients tend to identify, remember, discuss and compare companies that offer similar services, and the name is one of the factors that can make a difference.
You may also notice that all the names you find right for your brand are taken. It’s difficult to come up with something original considering that more than 50 million new companies are launched every year. A common mistake is to inspire from the name famous companies have and to choose something similar. It’s crucial the name to support your brand’s values and to help clients identify your products and services easier.
Decide what tone is suitable for your brand
Before selecting the name, you have to determine how your public will perceive your business. When it comes to the tone brand names suggest, there are five main ones.
- Emotional – you choose a name that appeals to your clients’ emotions, you include words like peace, love, happiness, joy in the name
- Playful – you opt for something that makes your business look approachable and fun, diminutives are perfect for this tone
- Pragmatic – a name that describes the services or products you offer, or one of the founders’ names can fit this category
- Classic – if you are starting a law firm or another high-end business, you want to use a name that will help you stand out in your industry.
- Modern – a simple name like the name of a fruit works great for a start-up that wants to transmit a fresh message.
The tone of the name can help you set your company in relation to competitors. Let’s take Apple for example, they opted for a fruit name, something unique on the tech market.
Features every good brand name should have
The University of Alberta has conducted a study in 2010 to find out what features make a good brand name. The conclusion was that clients have a positive response to the companies that have a repetitive structured name like Coca Cola, Pay Pal, Range Rover, Burberry, Chuckee Cheese, Dunkin Donuts and LuluLemon.
But there’s no magic formula you can use to get the right name, you have to base your decision on certain features that will make it more accessible and easy-to-remember by your clients. The ideal choice would have features like:
- It’s visual, you have no issues in translating it into a logo
- It can grow with your business because it’s future-proof. It’s essential to be relevant even if you add new products and services to your range
- It’s handy, your clients have no issues in spelling it, saying it and even searching it on the internet.
- It’s one-of-a-kind, it’s easy-to-remember, and it helps your firm stand out from your competitors
- It’s meaningful and it shares your company’s image, culture and values
These criteria will help you cut down the list of names you may have in mind. When selecting one you have to ask yourself if it will resonate with your audience.
But what does it really take to find the perfect name?
You may have the best business idea, but finding a name for your company is an exhausting and even infuriating process. Most of the companies spend around 6 months to choose one, and they consider more than 1000 options.
If you follow a step-by-step guide you will find easier to find it.
Articulate who you are
Before considering options you have to understand what your company stands for, what you want to achieve, and how you want your audience to describe your brand. Finding your core identity will help you put together a list of possible names.
You should start with:
– identifying your vision: Why have you decided to start up this business?
– determining your mission: What does your company offer to the public?
– establishing your values: What path do you choose to deliver your services?
The above three elements are all part of choosing a good brand name, are encapsulating your goal, and affecting everything related to your business. When you know who you are, you can identify the aspects that differentiate you from your competitors and you can highlight them.
Brainstorming sessions are fun, but when people have different opinions, they can also be brutal. You should establish a meeting with the stakeholders and business partners, and brainstorm ideas you may have. You shouldn’t let them go wild, they should come up with ideas that respect certain constraints and guidelines. You should inform them what the tone of the brand name should be, what features should include, and what message you want to transmit. Another great idea is to decide the category of brand names you prefer. Alina Wheeler in Designing Brand Identity has established the following categories:
- An Acronym – you select a longer name that includes the name of the founder and a few adjectives, and then you use the initials to create the brand name.
- The name of the founder – many famous companies use the name of the founder, or even a fictional name
- Metaphor – if you are passionate about history, imagery, mythical or other similar things you can choose a metaphor
- Descriptive – a great idea is to tell the public what your company does thorough the name you choose
- Magic spell – a made-up word or spelling is also a unique idea, you can put together a real word and a made-up one
- Fabricated – sometimes an invented name that doesn’t even exist is the perfect choice, It’s unique and your clients will have no issues to remember it.
You should ask people to come up with suggestions for all categories, this way you will have plenty of options from which to choose.