Was there a time when your brand name fitted you like a glove?  Has your business moved on? Do you wonder if your name is helping or hindering? 

Or perhaps you’ve tried coming up with a name for a new business, product or service. You have a long list of passé ideas and nothing stands out.

If you are thinking of changing your name, or you need a new name, it can be overwhelming without a plan and structured approach.

Why your brand name matters

Your name is one of the most important branding elements. A great brand is the ambassador of your company.  It is the shortest way your company or product may be represented and is the main way of identifying and differentiating you from others.

A bad, boring or indistinctive name won’t necessarily kill a brand’s chances of success, but it dramatically dilutes the brand equity and potency.

To change or not to change

Many businesses are faced with the challenge of whether to change a misfitting, outdated or less than optimal name. Perhaps your business has changed, or you inherited the name – but it has some established recognition. Should you change it?  

This requires careful evaluation, but often the risks of changing your name may be outweighed by the benefits, if managed carefully. Changing your name is a great opportunity to attract attention and create renewed momentum. Create a communication plan for your name change that explains the change, so customers and employees accept it.  

Remember a bad name doesn’t get any better and it will become more difficult to change as time moves on.

Staff ideas?

Getting naming ideas from a staff brainstorm generates involvement, but unless the process is carefully managed you may end up with a mishmash of names with no rhyme or reason to them, little or no group consensus, potential trademark issues and a looming deadline.

Staff often don’t take into account the many things that must be considered when developing a brand name. Creative and lateral thinking is critical, but the process also needs structure and objectivity to come up with a great name.

Strong names reflect strategy

Great naming requires careful planning to ensure the name aligns with your long term strategy. The most important aspect of naming is the strategic positioning behind the brand. Good names help to differentiate and attract.  

Great brand names are emotional, have personality and depth, and they arouse curiosity. Great names reflect who you are, based on your most compelling attributes. Instead of describing products you sell, great brands capture the essence of who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Create naming criteria

Before you start, set up defined criteria against which you can objectively evaluate the naming options. This helps avoid biased personal judgments.  

Following are key criteria for a strong brand name:

  • Positions and differentiates the company/ product
  • Articulates the brand’s attributes or suggests benefits
  • Conveys the brand essence and identity
  • Evokes positive verbal associations and connotations
  • Is distinctive or unique, not like competitors
  • Easy to pronounce and spell
  • Memorable
  • Short – not likely to be reduced to letters
  • Long term relevance
  • Protectable

Tips for creating names

  • Create a list of words of your positive features, attributes and benefits.
  • Use a dictionary or thesaurus to explore variations of words.
  • Think about other ways the ideas could be expressed.
  • Names don’t have to be normal English words – change the spelling slightly, combine words or parts of words.
  • Generate lots of options – many are already taken.

Coming up with a great name involves challenges, but the benefits can be long lasting.

Don’t forget that the brand name is just the beginning. Brands require development both internally and externally to maximise their impact.

For assistance on branding and marketing your business contact BrandFruition.

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