“What’s in a name?,” Shakespeare once asked.
Tons, actually. Recognition, recall, identity, and reputation are on top of the list.
Your brand name is an extension of your brand. Think of it as a tattoo - lasting and pervasive and whose influence affects brand perception for life. It doesn't wash off.
It's more than just a name, it’s a personality, an answer, a promise. In fact, a 2008 consumer survey by Ad-ology tells that 80 percent of online consumers base their purchasing decisions on brand name alone.
As a company that eats client branding conundrums for breakfast, we deal with countless brand name suggestions from clients every day: from utterly brilliant to downright naughty or unimaginable.
To get you started, we round up five crucial considerations for naming your brand.
1. Does it stick?
When you think of huge brands like Apple, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Nike, you’ll notice a trend: the names stick.
There’s a secret to making brand names catchy and memorable, and they’re a combination of an elaborate name-picking process to ensure names are:
You want a name that your target market can easily key in on search pages. Complex and confusing names are prone to spelling errors and make it difficult for people to find your business on the web. Worse, they land on your competitor’s page.
Pretend you’re a sales rep answering a call for your company. Read your name list out loud. Do the names sound great during a call? If you’re getting tongue-tied pronouncing one, scrap it out of the list. Mispronunciations defeat the very purpose of naming.
Short enough to remember
Fact: people remember shorter names than long ones. Don’t turn your brand name into a struggle for your audience. If it’s long, make sure an abbreviation is available (e.g. P&G for Procter & Gamble, AA for American Airlines, Mitsubishi for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation). Spread the word. Don’t leave the decision to truncate to consumers.
2. How does it translate to visuals?
Research shows that consumers can better identify brands with unique visual logos and images. In fact, one marketing study reveals that as much as 62 to 90 percent of people judge brands based on the product color alone.
Visuals create emotional triggers. As a brand, your task is to come up with a logo that stands out while fostering a pleasant emotional connection.
Consider these key points about your consumers when drafting a logo.
Gender preferences: Blue is most preferred by consumers of both sexes, with 57% of males and 35% of females considering it their favorite color, followed by green (14%) and purple (35%) respectively.
The power of red: In many A/B tests, marketers find a 50 to 60 percent increase in conversions for hyperlinks or click buttons in red compared to other colors like green.
General effect of colors on emotions: Based on numerous studies, the following color-emotion associations are true for most consumers:
Red: boldness, youth, vitality, vigor
Gray: neutrality, balance
Yellow: Optimism, warmth
Green: Vitality, peace, growth
Blue: Trustworthiness, strength, reliability
Orange: Friendliness, optimism, esteem
Purple: Imagination, wisdom
3. Is it something you can claim and protect?
Imagine building your name for years only to receive lawsuits later on by a company who has the same name then starting again from scratch.
Taking steps to protect your brand name prevents legal issues in the long term. Choose one that’s unique and isn’t trademarked or used by another brand. That way, you not only declare it as proprietary, but that you are not infringing on another’s intellectual property. It also prevents other businesses from gaining ownership of the name in the future, and that alone could save you heaps of money and headache.
4. Can you get an exclusive URL under it?
Consider how your brand name will affect your digital marketing efforts. If you are going to build a website for it (and you should), make sure that the domain name doesn’t exist yet. Acquiring a domain name that matches your business name is critical for keeping your branding strategy uniform across all platforms. Use free sites like NameChk to determine the availability of a URL.
Additionally, studies show that users remember domain names that are only seven syllables or less, so make sure to incorporate that in your strategy too.
5. Does it accomplish your objectives as a brand?
What do you intend to accomplish? Is the name aligned with the company’s core values, mission-vision statement, and goals? Brand names should stand for what your product or service is and should clearly define what you want to convey.
You want people to identify with the name in a positive light regardless of what region, culture, or language they belong to, especially if global expansion is on the table.
Often, brand names represent the following:
Company founder e.g. Walt Disney
Company activity or industry e.g. British Airlines
A concrete experience e.g. Greenpeace
Word association e.g. Google
When choosing a name that will forever represent your brand, choose one that will bring you close to your target audience; one that they can find, remember, and share with others easily and without errors. Greater success happens when you do.