You thought the hardest part of building a business was going to be coming up with the concept, finding suppliers, and bringing in customers. As you sit there going over a dozen potential names – none of which really capture the essence of your brand – it’s starting to feel like deciding what to call your company is causing more headaches than anything else. The good news? What you’re feeling is nothing new among business owners.
In this article, I’ll go over 6 things to consider when trying to come up with the perfect name for your brand.
1. Focus On What You Do Well
You want potential customers to know what your business is all about. When brainstorming ideas for a name, the most common fear is that people just aren’t going to “get it” right away. This sense of trepidation is not unreasonable. With that being said, your main concern shouldn’t be whether or not people will know exactly what your company does just by glancing at your name.
Instead of simply trying to fit “what you do” in your brand name, ask the question, “what are the company’s strengths?” For example, if your business incorporates a delivery service that is quicker than others in your industry, that might be what you want to focus on when building your brand’s identity.
If your only goal is to describe what your business does, you’re not separating yourself from others in your industry. If your brand your business by incorporating your competitive advantage into the name, customers will more easily recognize the value you bring to the table.
2. Think of a Tagline First
The name of your business and the accompanying tagline work as a team. If you’re having trouble coming up with the star of the show (the name), try working out the supporting actor (your tagline) and see if the latter can provide inspiration for the former.
The best part about your business’s tagline is that you have quite a bit more freedom when it comes to the number of words you can use. You wouldn’t want your business’s name to be 5 words, but a witty tagline has no official limit (just don’t go overboard).
Reverse engineering your name by starting with the tagline is effective because it lays out the “ingredients” that make up your business. Once you know what your advantages are, you can determine what it should be called.
3. Start With A Few, Then Narrow It Down
It’s rare that the first version of anything is the best one possible. Compiling a list of “contenders” is an important step in developing your brand’s name.
Once you have your list of options ready to go, bounce them off trusted colleagues or even friends and family members. You don’t need to have deep pockets to utilize an informal focus group to help you settle on the best option. Ask for honest feedback and most importantly, listen. It might be disheartening to hear others tell you that they don’t love the options you’ve laid out, but this is valuable information that you should use to build upon. You might think you’ve landed on the perfect brand name, but if your customers don’t agree you aren’t going to get the results you want.
4. Be Evocative
When sitting down to create the name that will eventually become your brand’s identity, it’s most people’s natural instinct to think of a “descriptive” way to explain what the business is all about. Try leveraging curiosity and emotion instead.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s not hard to see how a name like “Apple,” which is a complete contrast to what you’d expect from a technology company, would get the public’s attention. When it was first introduced as a brand, Apple stood out from others in the industry with overly tech-y sounding names like Microsoft and IBM (which stands for International Business Machines).
Throughout the process of developing not just a company, but a brand, don’t get too caught up in thinking people will never understand what your business is about. Don’t be afraid to focus on being unique. If you’re company is good at what it does, customers will find you. A name that makes people think, or inspires some sense of emotion, is going stand out from your competitors and will much more memorable to your clientele.
5. Consider Branding Potential
Creating a brand identity is about much more than just the name. You have to consider things like logos, colors, brand voice – all of which can help you come up with the perfect “umbrella” that is your brand’s name.
Similar to the idea of focusing on your tagline and then using that as inspiration for the name, put together a collection of branding materials and see if that inspires you to think in a different way than before. It may seem counterintuitive to start building your brand before you even have a name, but if you’re struggling to come up with the a name you love, this can be an effective way to get your creative juices flowing.
6. Think Local
Local businesses should embrace the fact that they’re serving the community. If you want to really drive home the “local angle,” try incorporating this into your business’s name.
Locally-owned businesses have always been a critical part of the economy, but following the pandemic, there’s been an increased focus on support entrepreneurs who live in our own neighborhoods and surrounding areas. There’s no better way to instill a sense of trust in potential customers than by reminding them that you’re from the same area and thus have similar values.
If your city has a nickname (i.e. the Queen City, Emerald City, Mile High City, etc.), incorporate that into your brand identity starting with your business’s name.
Naming your company is like naming your child…only more difficult. Remember that what you start out with doesn’t necessarily have to be your company’s name forever, so play around with different options if you’re not in love with your current brand identity.
Get in touch today if your business needs help putting together a brand strategy, and we’ll work with you to find solutions that fit your goals.