naming a brand
What’s in a name? Rather a lot, actually. Regardless of the size of the outfit, it’s one of the most critical parts of the branding process. Get it right and it’s a positive and effective extension of your brand, get it wrong and it’s back to square one.
Given the importance placed on naming a brand, it may sound daunting. We’re not going to pretend that it’s not, but follow our tried and tested tips for an easier process.
a name is for life
To reiterate the importance of getting that moniker right in the first place, let’s think about longevity. Your name is the brand’s key identifier, how your customers know you and any trust, recognition and awareness that’s built up is done so around that name. Brands do of course rebrand and change names, but usually only once they’re highly established with an accessible and engaged customer base to communicate to.
where to start?
There are (loosely) three ways to choose a brand name.
1. Using founders’ names or someone or something close to them, such as:
Arlo & Jacob, the sofa company named after the founder’s children.
Any fashion house - Chanel, Balmain, Prada and Mui Mui (derivations of founder Miuccia Prada’s name).
Ben & Jerry’s, from founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
2. What it says on the tin. What does the brand do? Say it in the name!
Carpetright - they sell carpets, right?
Yankee Candle - does this brand make candles, in the USA? Yes! In Massachusetts to be precise.
Innocent - smoothies and juice, with no shady character ingredients.
3. A name that’s completely unrelated to your product. There’s more creativity required here, and perhaps a little more caution too - it’s not the ‘safe’ option. But done well and that name, over the years, can morph into our linguistic structures to become a generic term or even a verb, and that’s got to be the lofty pinnacle of success for any brand.
Tupperware. There’s probably a generic term out there for never having the lids too.
Google. As in ‘google it’, where a name becomes a verb. Clever. Just ask Jeeves…
Hoover. Strictly speaking, the brand name for vacuum cleaners made by The Hoover Company but more commonly that thing you do quickly before someone comes round to visit.
What’s in a name? Rather a lot, actually.
Once you’ve chosen your name, or shortlisted a few, it’s time to do your due diligence. Make sure that nobody else is trading under the name by checking it on Gov.UK’s Companies House website - it’ll give you a quick and definitive answer as to whether the name is free. It’ll also tell you what sectors the company is registered under. It’s a good idea to check website domains too. If they’re taken, is there a variation on the name that would work for you?
lost in translation
If using a word from another language, check its meaning to make sure it’s portraying the message you want it to. It might sound great, but it could mean something completely different. We’d recommend taking a look on Urban Dictionary too. Your lovely, wholesome name could have a whole other meaning. Those crazy kids.
How is your proposed name going to work as a branded hashtag? Is it unique, can you ‘own’ it? How does it read as one word? If the now-legendary tweet to publicise singer Susan Boyle’s new album via a listening party #susanalbumparty taught us anything, it was to check the hashtag. And then check it again.
Need some help with naming your brand or products? We love nothing more than a naming research session. Get in touch to talk about our approach, our past work and how we can help YOU.
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