Branding is the key differentiator that separates the good companies from the great.
Your brand is the sum perception that your customers have of your business, whether it comes from intentional or unintentional actions. While far from all-encompassing, your company’s name is the first touch point that customers have with your business.
A great name can’t save a bad company. However, an appropriately chosen name reinforces every element of your brand identity. Here are some of our favorite tips on how to create the perfect name for your company.
01 Identify Necessary Emotions
Your company name should evoke a specific set of emotions when seen by your consumers. For example, an insurance company needs to incorporate feelings of security and trust with their brand name. On the other hand, a balloon company would benefit more from associating their company with a carefree feeling.
Consider which emotions are most important for your customers to feel when they think of your company. For example, the motorcycle company, Harley Davidson, has long been associated with freedom, fun and adventure. From there, create a name that helps you to harness these emotions, as this will help to generate a sense of bonding over time. This can lead to fierce brand advocates and lifelong customers.
02 Keep it Simple
Having a unique name is a double-edged sword. Your customized name will effortlessly reach the top of Google search results. However, a unique brand name may be quickly forgotten by your most likely customers.
Another unwanted side effect of a unique company name is pronunciation. If consumers have trouble saying a business’ name, it will hinder their ability to share your product and services with others. If potential customers cannot say or spell your brand name, you are dead in the water.
Hot tip: To prevent this from happening, try the phone test. Call someone and tell them the name of the company. They should be able to write down the brand name without misspelling it. Or at least be able to repeat the brand name back to you.
Company titles that pass the phone test will be much easier for your customers to share with their friends and family, and thus, much more likely to generate referral business.
03 Generate a Lengthy List
Identifying the perfect brand name typically does not happen on demand. Fortunately, there is a way to circumvent this issue. Sit down with your team.
- Write every word that comes to mind when thinking about your company’s brand.
- Limit the writing period to two minutes.
- Consider words that convey your company’s product or service.
- Consider industry-specific terminology or feelings you associate with the business.
Next, try breaking apart and combining the words your team generates to create your company’s name. Did you know the Spotify, for example, was created by combining the words “spot” and “identify”.
Another viable option to pursue is to translate your team’s list of words into another language. Lego, for instance, drew its name from the Danish words “leg got” which translate to “play well”.
Once you and your team have compiled a list, take turns sharing the words out loud. Discuss which names are most appealing and eliminate the others.
Repeat this brainstorming exercise two days later until you have found 5-6 names that your team likes.
04 Leverage Symbolism and Sound
Certain sounds have the ability to evoke feelings. Names that start with soft consonants, such as “m” and “n”, tend to convey positive feelings. Utilize this to help build a positive first impression of your brand.
If the brand names on your lengthy list start with hard consonants, such as “k”, consider using other sound effects to your advantage. For example, choose words that rhyme, repeat consonants, or sound similar.
05 Test for Common Roadblocks
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential brand names to two or three, research each one. Look for troublesome issues that may arise from using any of the remaining names.
A major topic to review is hosting company domain names. If you are unable to obtain a website that aptly matches the name you want to choose for your company, reconsider using it.
Most five letter domain names are difficult to obtain or very expensive. Due to this, your domain name may need to be longer than your company name. If this is the case and your domain name is too long, consider using a different top-level domain (TLD) such as “www.mycompany.digital”.
A TLD is the tail end of a domain name. The most popular TLD is “.com”, however, there are other options available. Many of these domains are untapped and unspoken for as-of-date.
Run a basic trademark search for your potential company name. You do not want to spend time, effort, and money on a name that is already protected by trademark. The established company could find out about it. If they do, you could receive a cease and desist letter.
If your name is available, make sure that it can work well everywhere. Confirm that your brand name is aesthetically pleasing when viewed on a business card, letterhead, and website navigation bar.
Utilize social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, to triple check that no one else is using the brand name. While you are there, check to see if your brand name is available. If so, claim it.
06 Validating Your Potential Brand Names
Once you have confirmed that no one else is using the company names on your list, test them in the market.
Ask customers and other people in your industry how they feel about each name. Group names together based on similarities before presenting your list to customers and colleagues. This will make it easier to identify which name stands out amongst the rest. To swiftly collect feedback, reach out to customers via email or newsletter and people in your industry via Slack or Facebook.
The name you choose for your business is paramount. Potential customers will make a snap judgement about your company based on brand name alone. Don’t settle for a mediocre brand name. Make that first impression count and create the perfect name for your business.