The name of your company does more than give you something to put on your business cards and letterhead. Your company name is a centerpiece of your branding; it should communicate what your company is and what it does, and the name should differentiate your business from all of its competitors. Choosing a brand name should not be easy — but there are ways to make it simpler and more straightforward. Here are a few tips and tricks for finding brand names that make sense for your new business.
Know What a Name Does
The first step to developing a brand name that makes an impact is recognizing and respecting the impact a good brand name can have. Before you start brainstorming company names, you should be aware of what a name is capable of doing for your business, to include:
Providing distinction. In a saturated market, a company needs to distinguish itself clearly from its competition, and a good name can do this effectively.
Offering meaning. A good name communicates to new customers what products or services a company provides as well as its brand values, corporate culture and more.
Improving accessibility. Your customers will use your company name to communicate with and about your business. The better the name, the more likely they are to reach out.
Creating visuals. A good name is easy to translate into icons and logos, which give your brand more flexibility in identifying branded materials.
Surviving beyond. If you build a strong company to go along with your strong name, the name of your organization could persist longer than your association with it.
Define Your Brand
Before you can impart meaning into your brand name, you need to know what that meaning must be. If you have not already cogitated on the heart of your brand, you should do so now to illuminate for yourself and the rest of your company the most important components of your business. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
Why does your business exist? What is its purpose?
What are you hoping to accomplish through your business? What do you hope the future to look like, and how are you going to create that future with your company?
What are the values at the core of your brand? Which principles guide your business’s behavior?
In addition to your purpose, mission, values and other components at the heart of your brand, you should consider what differentiates your company from others in your market. You might consider completing a competitive analysis if you are struggling to identify reasons your business stands out from the competition.
Consider Common Name Formats
Many entrepreneurs find it easier to start brainstorming brand names by reviewing patterns found amongst the most successful companies. Some of the most common patterns are found in the following four brand name formats:
Generic names tend to utilize the generic name for a product, like cars or hotels, in the company name. This can be incredibly effective, as customers will know for certain what your company offers, but it can be bland and dull depending on the industry. Plus, costs for generic domains tend to be incredibly high.
Descriptive names attempt to explain the goal of a company’s products or services with their name. For example, Burger King endeavors to provide its customers with the best possible burgers. This is excellent for communicating with your customers, but again, it only works if your goal is simple to reduce to a word or two.
Suggestive names allude to their products or services through words that convey imagery and emotion. Amazon began as a website selling books, and its name suggests an entire rainforest of tomes to choose from. This is one of the most creative ways to name your company, so if you excel at metaphor and wordplay, you will likely be successful with this name format.
Abstract names are only barely related to the products or services they provide. Words like Hulu, Uber, Pepsi and Kodak inherently mean nothing but have come to have significant cultural impact thanks to the businesses they represent. Abstract names can be the most difficult at the start, but they might be among the most rewarding once a business comes to dominate a market.
Once you settle on a company identity, you need to know how to trademark a name to protect your brand from jealous and cutthroat competition. What’s more, you should not be afraid of experimenting with different names in your brand’s infancy. Then, you can be certain that you have the perfect name as your business begins to grow and thrive.
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