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How to Create a Brand Name That Lasts

How to Create a Brand Name That Lasts

How to choose a business name? A great name is like rocket fuel for a brand. A bad name is like a lead weight. According to branding legend, Marty Neumeier. The right name can be a brand's most valuable asset driving differentiation and speeding acceptance, but the wrong name can cost millions of workarounds and lost income over the lifetime of a brand.

Let's face it. Coming up with a great name can be pretty difficult. And in a world where countless businesses are started each day, the pool of names to draw from is getting smaller and smaller. Thankfully, there are some proven techniques that can help you come up with a name that aligns your brand with your mission.

In this article, you're going to learn how to create the best name for your business by following a simple step-by-step framework and learning naming tactics used by some of the biggest brands in the world.

➤ Understand your target market

Before naming your business, it's vital that you understand the problems needs, and desires of your target audience.

What types of language do they use? What are their values? Start by creating a customer avatar. Well, you might be tempted to open up a dictionary right away. Understanding your target market will make naming your company exponentially easier, as it will give you a more focused approach to name generation and an ideal customer profile by which you can measure the effectiveness of your name ideas.

Not only that but great names can be inspired by the niche you aim to serve.

➤ Decide on your type of name

When it comes to naming a business, there were several different types of naming conventions employed by scores of household brands. I'm going to take you through them one by one so that you can understand what options you have available. So you can make an educated choice about the direction that's right for your brand.

1. Let's start with one of the easiest ways to name a brand, naming it after a person

Some companies are named to embody the vision of their founders, like Ferrari and Ford. A pro of this is that it can help consumers feel a personal connection to the brand. However, one thing to be aware of with this strategy is that if the founder ever decides to leave the company, the name will stay, which can get complicated.

Other companies like Tesla have chosen to name themselves after an iconic person who embodies the company's beliefs and values.

2. Meaning a different culture

Sometimes when naming a company, it can help to turn to other cultures and languages. The name Sony comes from the Latin word Sonus for sound. The name Nike was inspired by the ancient Greek goddess of victory.

There are tons of beautiful and powerful words in other languages that could become phenomenal brand names. However, if you're going to go this route, make sure you do it respectfully.

3. Solution-focused names

These types of names. Describe your company's benefit, right in the name, helping separate you from competitors. While some people may find these names on the drier side, a major pro is that you don't have to spend as much money on educating consumers on what your brain does. 5 Hour Energy and SlimFast are examples of product-based businesses. Using this strategy search and be found is a great example of a service-based business.

4. Descriptive 

Descriptive names are great because they let consumers know exactly what you do by simply hearing the name. These types of names are simple, efficient, and effective Measured Results Marketing and Home Hardware are examples of companies that use this naming convention. 

5. Using a real word

Companies like Drip and Amazon have opted to use a single word. These words are often used to tell a story through association. For example, the Amazon is the largest rainforest on the planet. By association, Amazon is the largest online retailer on the planet. The word needs to allude to an image or a feeling that aligns with the brand's message and mission.

6. Combining two words into one

The reality is countless businesses are started each year. So finding one lone word that represents your business is getting increasingly difficult. Many companies have gotten around this by combining two words. With the right combination of words, these names can be easy to spell, say, and remember.

LinkedIn Salesforce, Facebook, and TripAdvisor are all examples of companies that use this naming style.
Combine part of a word with a full word is another option that you can use. Group and coupon became Groupon, Costco, and Herbalife are examples of other companies that also did this.

7. Unique name

If you feel like your brand is bold enough that it needs a completely unique name, then a great option can be creating your own work companies that have done this include Beboe, Kodak, IkeaEtsy, and Lexus.

Some important things to consider when making up a word. Is there a real word that rhymes with your mate upward?
If so, it's more likely that the name will be adopted as it will seem more familiar to the human ear. Furthermore, the name should definitely be spelled the way it sounds to avoid confusion when searching.

8. Word modification
Some companies opt to intentionally misspell words to display their originality. They may add vowels, remove vowels, or even spell the word phonetically. Fiverr, Flickr, Google, and Digg are all examples of companies that have used this naming tactic. One thing to be aware of with word modification is that the word needs to be short enough and have a simple enough variant that the name is easy to remember and spell.

9. Using an acronym

Some companies like HSBC, AIG, CBS, and AT&T use abbreviated names in the form of acronyms. These names can have a rhythmic quality that makes them easy to remember and be shorthand for descriptive names. CVS, for example, stands for consumer value stores. However, one thing to note is that many consumers will never have any idea of what they stand for and won't put in much effort to find out.

10. Adding a suffix to a root word

Some businesses use a root word that embodies their mission or brand personality and then adds on a suffix. One thing that's really great about this strategy is that these names are often incredibly fun to say, which makes them really easy to recall. Bitly, Thrillist, and Shopify,  all use this tactic.

11. Alliteration

Alliteration is a rhetorical device that repeats the same sound, which is usually a continent. It has been used by writers and poets for centuries to direct an audience's attention and create a mood and rhythm. Plain and simple, alliteration can really impact how a person experiences, words. Brands like Coca-Cola, Dunkin' Donuts, PayPal, and Bed Bath & Beyond have all found success with this naming style.

➤ Decide what you want your name to say

Once you have a solid idea about the style of your name, but before you go start searching for specific words, you want a strong grasp on what it is you want your name to mean. See, brand names are more than just words. Rather they are vehicles by which you consciously or subconsciously communicate to consumers.

A good brand name will communicate who you are. The best brand names, communicate a big idea and elicit an emotional response. The name Nike inspires us to pursue greatness. The name Tesla embodies the relentless pursuit of innovation. The name Patagonia inspires visions of adventure and nature worth protecting. You get the idea. 

➤  How to brainstorm

Once you have an idea about the message you're trying to get across, now it's time to start coming up with a list of potential names. In the beginning, it's important to reserve judgment and try and come up with as many names as possible. Now, the reason for this is twofold.

1. The most original names are going to emerge when you allow your mind to run free.

2. You will also likely need to come up with a lot of names to find one that is available.

Here are some simple ways to find inspiration

1. Explore keywords related to your company's products and services.
2. Skim through the dictionary.
3. Use a thesaurus to unearth synonyms.
4. Have a brainstorming session with your co-founder's friends and family.
5. You can even try crowdsourcing the name. It takes time and effort to Come up with a great name. So don't get frustrated, just get to work.

➤  Name availability

Once you have the list of names, you'll need to make a shortlist of your favorites.
Then you'll need to evaluate each name for its viability. 
Having a custom domain name for your store is essential. Once you have a list of options for your brand, find out if the domain name you chose, preferably a .com, is available.

The reason for this is that everyone is familiar with the .com country code Domains like .io and .co are becoming so popular that they're starting to take on characteristics of generic top-level domains. Also, domains like .store are becoming increasingly popular.

Make sure you're legally allowed to use the business name that you've come up with.

For business owners in the US, you can check the United States Patent and Trademark office.
For Canada, you can check the Canadian Intellectual Property office. While you can search these websites yourself, they can be pretty confusing. So hiring a lawyer to conduct these searches for you will likely be your most effective option.

Check for social handle availability

It's really important to check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tic Tok, or any other social media sites you'll want to use for name availability. Ensuring that your handles are consistent is really important so that your customers have an easier time finding your brand on their favorite platforms.

Make sure the name doesn't have any bad connotation or mean anything negative in other countries.
You want to make sure your name is future-proof. So, stay away from anything that could be seen as insensitive. Furthermore, if you ever want to expand into new markets, you don't want to have any embarrassing name fails.

➤ Last words

Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of how to name your brand. The reality is, naming your company is a big decision that can ultimately have an impact on your growth. However, like most things in business, it's important to remember that a name can be subject to change. Don't let finding the perfect name, stop you from making your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Let me know your suggestions in the comment section below.

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