picking-a-brand-name

Brand names are part of brand personality. Any business owner who’s ever had to figure out names for a new product or new company understands how draining the process can be. So today, let’s talk about how to pick a brand name that you’re not going to regret down the road.

When you’re picking out a brand name, the initial excitement can be quickly replaced with despair. And it’s mostly because all the good names are already taken. Just think about how many brands are out there, and how many of them are in the same industry as you’re in.

A quick search on Google reveals plenty of articles that cover the topic of naming strategies. For the most part, they cover a list of requirements that new brand names must fulfill.

They need to be unique, in line with brand strategy, and a name that’s easy to remember. And it’s all true. After all, one of the most important communication tools for brands is a good and memorable name.

How to Pick a Brand Name With No Regrets

So many brands have proved that a good name works wonders. A few examples:

  • Pepsi used to be Brad’s Drink.
  • Dunkin’ was once Open Kettle.
  • Snickers used to be called Marathon in the UK.

Unfortunately, not a lot of publications mention how some naming decisions affect a business in the future, and how it might cause problems later on. 

Brand experts and strategists like Brand Master Academy recommend remembering some aspects of the brand name decision-making process that needs to be analyzed before changing names. You need to take these aspects into account as early as possible, so you save time and money in the future.

Here are three aspects to remember when you’re learning how to pick a brand name without regrets.

#1 Making a brand architecture decision

The first question that needs to be asked is whether you truly need a new name. If you’re launching a product or a new service, check first if it’s possible to use the existing names that your company already owns, especially if any names have already achieved an impressive level of brand recognition.

Building an all new brand from scratch can be a preferred option if business owners want to feel innovative and creative, but in all truth, it should be the last resort. Building brand awareness and cultivating recognition takes years. It’s also quite expensive. 

Instead, why not consider these options:

  • Product variants
  • Sub-brands
  • Endorsed brand

These examples can benefit from a stronger umbrella brand.

And when you’re thinking about naming the convention and the brand architecture for the newest addition to your brand portfolio, think 5-10 years in advance. 

Consider what the next products or offerings in the pipeline would be, where they would sit architecturally, and how they would coexist with the product that you’re launching right now.

#2 Choose between descriptive or abstract

It’s tempting to go for a new name that describes the category your business operates in — to some extent at least. That is very understandable, because a brand name can play a double role.

It identifies the brand, but also describes the category to which it belongs. That saves plenty in both time and money, and it requires less effort to explain to potential buyers what you’re selling. A double-purpose brand name also comes in handy with SEO.

But since nothing ever remains the same, you’ll encounter some problems later one, when you don’t want your brand to be in this particular category anymore. You want to extend the scope of your brand.

One good example of this is MTV (Music Television). Before, it used to feature different top-ten lists and was all about showcasing music videos from the latest pop artists. But nowadays, you see them focusing more on teenaged shows. 

Another good example is Dunkin’. They’ve recently dropped ‘Donuts’ from their name so they can effectively reposition themselves from a doughnut brand to a beverage-focused company.

What’s your alternative solution to a name that is reliant on its category description?

Go for an abstract name. It doesn’t have to mean anything particular and for the most part, it has nothing to do with the category it represents at all. Really popular brands that do this include Costco, Target, Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, J-co, Netflix, etc.

The potential benefits? They’re all significant, especially when you have a budget big enough to support the launch of any new products or services. Keep in mind though that more effort and resources are needed to build brand awareness and to explain to customers what your brand does.

#3 Quality-check the new name

After confirming your list of potential names to see if you can use them legally, it’s rather tempting to throw it all to the wind and proceed with your next plan. But there are two more things that you need to do, and it’s all a part of quality-checking your new brand name.

When you’re learning how to pick a brand name, remember to do this:

  • Potential digital presence: It’s free and doesn’t take that much time. Investigate whether the URL (your new brand name plus the extension you want to use) is available. If the URL is already taken, you can either pick a different name or purchase the domain. Check and make sure your social media handles aren’t taken either. Also see what comes up when you Google Search your new brand name. See if it’s going to be easy to build a meaningful presence in the search results.
  • Offensive language: If you’ve got a global ambition for your brand (but honestly, what business doesn’t?), you need to make sure your new name doesn’t mean anything offensive in other languages. This process is a little daunting, but you can’t ignore it.

The Impact of a Good Brand Name

Building brands take years of planning, money, and strategizing. It’s a fact that lots of big brands in the world can easily confirm. A brand recall afforded by a good name is a compliment for any company. Plus, it demonstrates a personal connection between the business and the customer.

Carefully crafted brand names go a long way to etch a solid identity for new ventures. Keep at your marketing strategies, and it can define your success.

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