A good brand name should identify what you’re offering, differentiate you from your competitors, evoke positive emotions and associations, pique curiosity and interest and boost brand recall. Therefore the name you choose for your brand is extremely important. Whatever you end up choosing needs to leave an impression in the customer’s mind even before they learn what you actually do or sell.
So here’s a quick guide to picking a good brand name.
1. Check out your competition
Once you’ve identified your competitive space, assemble a list of your competitors and the names they’re using, and be thorough. Often you’ll be able to discern naming patterns, which will allow you to spot opportunities for differentiation. It will help you develop a name that really strikes out from the masses.
You can come up with very original names by thinking about the market you’re in, unique elements of your business’ story and the synonyms of your favorite keywords.
2. Think about your audience
You want your brand name to be memorable and stand out from the crowd. So use what you know about your target audience to measure the relevancy of any name you come up with. Tease out the different strengths and attitudes that define your brand, because lots of authors get so involved touting all of the things that their brand embodies that they wind up standing for nothing in particular.
A good brief will highlight the things you do well, that are important to the people you want to reach. Once you’ve done this, decide which of those are the most fundamental to your brand.
3. Embrace your creativity
Your brand name is the verbal trigger that conjures up your brand in people’s minds. The association and reactions it sparks when seen or heard for the first time will start to define your brand, for better or worse.
So while you want your brand name to be easy to pronounce and remember, don’t skip over the value of creating a brand that is completely unique. Not only can this make your business more memorable, but it can also provide you with an opportunity to reflect its back story, giving the name a special meaning.
4. Look at it from multiple angles
Really think about how the name will fit into the everyday operations of your business, and what it will make others think and feel.
Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used? Will most customers be able to spell the brand name after hearing it spoken or seeing it written? You don’t want your brand’s name to feel like a spelling test, or make people feel uneducated or ignorant.
Make sure it conveys a clear message and that you are aware of all the possible connotations that may influence how it is perceived.
5. Don’t limit yourself
If you choose a name that identifies exactly what you do, such as “Joe’s Logo Design”, you might be limiting the future growth of your business. Sometimes it makes sense to be a little more general, such as “Joe’s Graphic Design”, so you don’t have to revisit – and possibly revamp – your brand down the line. If you can’t find a word that perfectly captures the essence of your brand, invent your own. Words are ever-changing and follow evolutionary cycles. There are new words – slang and formal – entering the vernacular all the time.
6. Get input
Once you have a few possibilities, bounce them off of friends, family, colleagues and potential clients if possible. Ask for their initial impressions and suggestions they have, take in their feedback and head back into the process with a fresh pair of eyes.
Avoid being overly literal and rejecting a name because of an inconsequential or slightly negative meaning or association – as long as its other meanings work with your brand, consider it. Trust that your audience will figure it out.
7. Visualize your brand
Your brand name is more than just a name, it’s a big part of your company’s identity. Think in terms of your domain name, your marketing materials and how that name will essentially be translated into all aspects of this new identity you’re creating.
Visualizing is now more important than ever, because every piece of content you create will reflect your brand and influences your brand perception.
8. Use some tools
During your brainstorming phase, use some of the tools that are available to get inspired. A thesaurus is a must-have, and here are a few online tools to try out:
- Dot-o-mator: http://www.dotomator.com/
- RhymeZone: http://www.rhymezone.com/
- WriteExpress: http://www.rhymer.com/naming.html
9. Keep things short
Your brand name won’t necessarily be more effective if it’s short, but it may be easier to remember. It’s okay to want a name that’s short, easy to prnounce, original, totally cool-sounding, relevant in meaning, absent negative associations. Prioritize your wish list, and be prepared to go with a name that only meets your top criteria. Because no name has it all.
You can also consider using an acronym, but be careful – unless there is an obvious and memorable tie-in, using an acronym can make your name too generic to be relatable to your target.
10. Get some rest
Put your shortlist of names aside for a day or two and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You may feel differently about a name you loved before, or your working list may help you develop a new and perfect name when you review it again.
And that’s pretty much it! Hopefully following these 10 steps will lead you to the brand name you desire :)