What’s in a name?
Everything when it comes to business and branding. Picking the perfect company name can sometimes be the most difficult, time-consuming step in the process of business development. But the fact is, if you do not have a name that you can brand, you cannot build your brand to its utmost potential.
Picking a ‘Brandable’ Business Name
Here are seven tips to help you pick the perfect, brandable business name for your startup or small business.
1. Keep It Short and Sweet
Across the board, it is far better to have a short brand name than a long one. If anyone has to pause or stumble when they try to spit out your brand, go back to the drawing board.
There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Serendipity3 seems to break a number of them, but in the end, it is still a very popular foodie location in Manhattan, a place where brands rise and fall in the blink of an eye. Be willing to throw out a rule or two if you stumble on something truly amazing and catchy.
2. Use Fanciful Words
Some great brands seem to come out of thin air, and through word association, they have nearly replaced the common noun that they represent. One example of this type of brand is Kleenex, where it is very common for someone to ask for a Kleenex even when they want a generic tissue.
Imaginative names are tricky, but they can be rewarding if you find the right one. Put together a list of creative business names that you like for your brand, and run each one through a search engine. You want to eliminate any names that have definitions that you are not familiar with.
Then run your list of business names you like by everyone that you know. A different perspective will give you the right criticism you need to successfully move forward.
3. Ask Yourself What Your Brand Conveys
Many people think that their company name needs to make them stand out. The truth is that standing out may not necessarily be the best approach. For example, think about a law firm with the brand, “Law on the Go.” It is cute, catchy and memorable, but would you trust your divorce or your last will and testament to it?
Firms that deal with the law cannot afford to stand out in reference to their speed because they are in a very conservative field. Make sure that you decide whether your brand needs to stand out from the crowd or whether it needs to be part of a grand tradition.
4. Avoid Copying Other Brands
[pullquote align=”right”]”Copying a more successful brand name marks you as an amateur, and more importantly, you will never be seen as anything more than the brand from which you have copied.”[/pullquote]As soon as someone comes up with a great brand name, other people are going to jump on it. A great idea spawns many imitators, and as any branding expert will tell you, it is far more important to be a leader than a follower.
Copying a more successful brand name marks you as an amateur, and more importantly, you will never be seen as anything more than the brand from which you have copied.
A great example of a copying movement came about with the success of Apple’s “iNames.” Not long after the success of the iPod and iMac devices, many companies, even companies unrelated to computers, were using the lowercase “i” next to their product names.
It doesn’t matter if you provide a better product, or that you have a better, faster service. If you copy another brand name, you will find yourself perpetually in that brand’s shadow.
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