Your brand name is an important part of your business. It defines your business, its activities and is the key aspect for customers to remember you by. Choosing a great brand name can propel your business to success. With a poor choice of brand name, your company might just disappear into the void of thousands of other businesses.
Finding the right brand name is therefore something that you want to spend a lot of time on. It will need to reinforce your company’s values, culture and products or services. A brand name should also differentiate your from the rest of the market, without the need of other marketing materials. It will also be used in all interactions between you, your team and others.
Your Options For Developing A Brand Name
When it comes to creating your brand name, there are several options you can choose from. These include:
- The name of the founder(s) – e.g. Hewlett-Packard (HP)
This is a good option if you’ve got a founder who has an established presence in the market already. Or, when there’s a significant contribution from the founders, like those in marketing, recruitment, legal or accounting firms.
- Describing the activities of the business – Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
Often this is used and therefore can be a poor choice in a crowded market. But in a new market, this can be an effective choice.
- Describing an image or experience – Live And Sleep
People buy for the experience, so this is a great option, especially when there is a lot of competition in the market and you sell very similar products/services to other businesses.
- Taking a word out of context – Amazon
A great way to differentiate yourself.
- Making up a word – Google
Can be challenging to make stick, but if you do, it can be highly successful and become a household name (Google, Wikipedia, etc.).
All of the examples show how a good brand name can propel a business to worldwide use.
The Challenges With Coming Up With A Brand Name
There are two specific problems you’re going to have when coming up with a brand name. The first is the law. There are more than 24 million business names in the US that are protected by trademark laws. Other countries will have similar laws that protect company names.
A second problem is your digital marketing footprint. You’ll want to have your brand name usable online as a URL. More than 860 million domain names have been registered worldwide. Some experts think that more than 99.9% of the dictionary has been registered as a domain name.
Therefore, before you stick with a brand, you should complete a domain search, to ensure that the brand name isn’t a registered URL.
Step-By-Step Creating Your Brand Name
So, before you start your business, you need to come up with a usable, marketable and interesting brand name. Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide of how you can do that.
Step 1: Choosing A Brand Strategy
The first thing you need to do, before naming your brand, is develop a strategy. This should include what you want to deliver to customers, how you’re going to do it and what makes you different from your direct (and indirect) competitors.
When you’re writing out this strategy, start to look at what you’re writing and highlight keywords. These will become very important later on.
Step 2: Develop Goals For The Brand Name
There are several factors to consider here. The first, is the ultimate goal of your brand name, what do you want it to accomplish? Do you want it to tell audiences exactly what you do, who you are, who founded the business or do you want to generate some interest from a quirky name?
Then you will need to think how the potential brand name will fit in with your product or service. Will your name be added to the beginning, become part of the product’s name or something else. Or will it just be used as a way to introduce yourself?
You will also need to think about the type of name you want to use (invented, founder’s, descriptive, etc.).
Once you have answered those questions, you need to develop an objective list of how you can evaluate the names you generate in the next step.
Step 3: Generate A List Of Potential Brand Names
The next step is easy. You now need to take the list of keywords that you highlighted earlier and then compile them into a list of potential brand names. This can be a long, exhausting task to do manually. And you might miss out on some of the potential options that could be very good.
You need to have a long list, especially if you want to operate over a wide area, as there is more chance that your chosen name is taken.
For example, if you want to create a national plumbing service in the USA, you might think USA Plumbing is a good option for a brand name. However, two companies already utilize varieties of that name, USA Plumbing and USA Plumbing Services.
Both of these names are quite similar. It could potentially confuse customers when trying to recall which one they’ve used before or who a friend recommended. Adding in a third potential business with a variant on USA plumbing would potentially add to any confusion.
So, develop a long list. To help you out, use a Business Name Generator. Our business name generator is very easy to use. All you need to do is to enter in a keyword that is important to your company. It will then generate a long list of potential brand names for you.
Step 4: Evaluate Each Potential Brand Name
The next stage is to evaluate each potential brand name. The first thing you should do is to look down the list and discard any names that could be misleading, mispronounced or misspelled.
Big names have done this, when Amazon was first incorporated, they wanted to use the name Cadabra. But a lawyer misheard them and thought the name was supposed to be Cadaver. Therefore, the name was changed. Google also changed their name from BackRub to Google.
Next you need to go down the list of names and see if any fit your criteria you’ve created in step 2.
The worst thing you can do is to ask family and friends whether they like a name or not. Most often this group won’t want to hurt your feelings, so will tell you yes. However, you can run surveys online, for a low cost, which can help determine which brand names are feasible.
At this point you want to turn the list of dozens of potential brand names into a few select ones that you want to test out.
Step 5: Test Your Brand Name Potentials
The next stage is to test your brand name in several simulated scenarios. The first is whether the name is easy to pronounce, especially over the phone. The names should also be easy to write in an email or on marketing materials with no mistakes made.
People should also connect what your business does with the brand name. This can be hard with certain brand names, especially if you’ve invented a new word.
Finally, you need to test whether your brand names are available as URLs. You can check domain availability easily and for free with this Check Domain Availability tool.
Don’t be tempted to accept a brand name when the name is taken as a URL but a shortened version is available. For example: don’t take USplumbers.com instead of USAplumbers.com. This can just lead to confusion with audiences and you’re likely to lose out on traffic.
Now you should have your brand name. With this you can start to develop your marketing materials, website and more, on your quest to build a long-running and successful company.