Business Branding Strategy: What’s Your Name Again?
Those who study literature have heard the line, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But those who study branding know the real question is: Would the rose still sell?
Branding truth: Monikers matter.
The name of a company is either going to highlight all its best features – or cast a pall.
Some small businesses see naming the firm sort of as an afterthought. But a good name is part of what makes a business memorable.
One of the first things our Cleveland branding agency focuses on with new clients is the core of their identity. We want to know who they are, who others think they are and who they want to be. That starts with the company name.
It’s an element that will touch every aspect of the firm – from your signage to your business cards to your website to the company culture.
Whether you’re starting brand new or are in the market for a swap, our branding experts are here to help.
So what’s the best way to choose a business name? The reality is, there is so much room to be creative – which can be exhilarating, but also overwhelming. Developing a strong branding strategy can make it easier.
Be Relevant, Be Catchy
The most important thing to consider is: Who are you? It’s imperative to seek a name that is going to fit the company’s identity and personality.
The name has to stand out. You want it to be something people will remember. Bear in mind some of the most successful newer companies have quirky names like, “Twitter,” and “Lyft.” But still, it has to match who you are.
- What images does the name evoke?
- Does it have any unintended connotations?
- Does it sound too stuffy? Too silly?
Be Careful With Specifics
Sometimes, being specific can be a good strategy. In some cases, it’s key to quickly convey to people who you are, where you are and what you do. But you have to be cautious.
Although many companies start off hyper-local, our branding experts generally recommend avoiding incorporation of a specific geographical place in the name. The problem is it can stifle growth. Of course there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. For example, the Great Lakes Brewing Company pulls it off nicely, even on a national scale. But imagine if Fitbit was instead known as the Northern California Activity Tracker.
Similarly, names that specifically cite what the company does can cause problems later on. For example, if we had named Go Media, “Go Media Flyer Design” when we first started (because that’s mostly what we did at first), it would have been greatly limiting as to our long-term potential.
Some other things to bear in mind:
- Can you find a website domain name that will work with what you’ve chosen? Websites are a critical aspect to almost every kind of company. People have to be able to find you online. Don’t overlook how that name will play into a type-able domain.
- Avoid using puns. Again, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all. In some cases, a pun could be very effective. But be mindful that it isn’t too cutesy or overused.
- Keep it short and easy to pronounce. The longer or tougher it is to say, the harder time people will have remembering it.
- Make sure it’s descriptive enough to be “brandable.” Unless you are a huge financial institution, you generally need people to be able to figure out what you do fairly easily.
And finally, make sure it’s a name you can use – legally, that is. That means checking to make sure that not only the domain name is available, but that the trademark is too. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the best resource for this.