What’s in a brand name?

What’s in a brand name and how to ensure your name resonates with your target market?

Choosing a brand name for your business can be a really difficult task. After all, it is the first impression of your business and sets the tone for the rest of your brand.

So how do you go about choosing a brand name for your business?

You could go down the route of using a random name generator (after a quick Google search – there tonnes of ones online, including this one: https://namelix.com/). Or – you could think deeply and strategically create a brand name that resonates with your clientele and creates memorable, meaningful experience that sticks with your company for the long term.

Choosing your brand name is the probably THE most important branding concern for a business. With thousands of businesses registering new business names every year, it’s even more imperative to ensure that your brand name conveys the right impression and engages with your ideal client on a meaningful level.

You’ll first need to figure out what you want your name to communicate. There are a couple of categories that your brand name might align with dependent on the route you choose to take.

It could be based on a founder’s name, descriptive, experiential names (based on the experience that customers have when they come into contact with your business), made-up words and then those that are just random. Each of these categories tend to evoke their own unique set of feelings.

When you see companies named after their founders such as companies like Johnson & Johnson – it correlates to a feeling of trust, stability and confidence. Compare that to names that you would consider experiential – like Twitter – and you are presented with an entirely different set of values.

Your name should reinforce the key elements of your business and reflect the foundational tone you’d like to establish with your customers.

Once a name is out in the world, the meaning of the word itself and the connotations attached to it will evolve based on how people experience the brand. The way you choose to express the visual identity, the brand story and the way your marketing affects how people engage with it.

Look at Apple. If you told someone today that you were considering naming your brand after a fruit they’d look at you in complete disbelief in the ludicrously of it all. There will always be exceptions to the rules as all brand names, as most things in life, are subjective.

Here are some things to consider before embarking on the naming process for your business:

1. Is it thought-provoking?

Your name should set the tone for your business, think about your brand positioning – will it be disruptive, intellectual, or reserved? The company name should be culturally on cue and appropriate for your values and positioning. Try avoiding trends and puns that only you understand – in most cases people won’t understand or find them as amusing as you.

2. Is it memorable?

Successful names have the memorable factor enabling people to quickly bring your brand to mind when talking with friends. Names that are straight forward but also create curiosity encourages your customer to seek out further information. Great names are often short and sweet. Studies have shown that being concise lends itself to memorability.

3. Is it unique?

Before you start brainstorming or putting pen to paper, the first step is to map out the competitive landscape for your brand. When brainstorming your business name, think outside the box – customers appreciate brave, risk-taking brands that forfeit the safe option to stand out from the competition.

4. Is it easy to spell?

Potential customers need to be able to find you easily in a quick Google search. Not everyone was the record-holding spelling bee champion, so choosing a business name that is really difficult to spell might not be the way to go. You want your customers to be able to find you during their quick search online, so coming up with something unique is great, but difficult spellings can often be a roadblock.

5. Have you kept it simple?

Don’t pick a name that is long-winded or confusing. If you need to justify your business name, you’ve failed to make an impact. Many people think you need to go descriptive with their titles which often leads to using multiple words like which in the end, lose their impact and meaning. You want a short and sweet name that doesn’t leave you tongue-tied.

6. Is it fun to say?

Will people enjoy pronouncing it? Names that have a good phonic like Google, Oreo, Yahoo and Kleenex, have a head start on those that don’t. Invented or abstract names come with no preconceived ideas and are therefore a great blank canvas upon which you are able to paint a unique brand image.

7. Does it sound like it is?

Research shows that words hold acoustic representations of their meaning by making our mouths feel a particular way. Brand names often take into consideration what is known as the “Bouba- Kiki Effect” – the non-arbitrary mapping between speech sounds and visual shape. From these studies we can see there is a direct correlation between sound, shape and meaning was obviously apparent.

8. Does it look good?

As a branding experts, of course we have to include the aesthetics! The letters that comprise your brand name must look distinctive. Some characters are round and full; others are narrow and slim. When thinking about the name in the context of a logo, it’s important that you marry the appropriate looking letters with your brand image and positioning.

If you’re stuck and don’t know where to start, we have a team of creatives who are ready to help you out. The result? A brand name that sets represents your business and values perfectly. Your brand will last longer than almost any other investment you make in your business, so choose wisely. The team at D and Co Studio are here for you every step of the way.