This week I’d like to take on board a “naming” exercise. Frankly speaking, I’d like to simply share some thoughts and give you few examples on how to pick a killer name for your brand, business or product – all by yourself.
All communication advance at later stage depend on a right choice of name at the very beginning. An identity for a brand is a symbolic set of meaningful signs, and a name is the most important part of that set. It can be easily said that the power is in the name. This basically gives clients a clue about overall brand’s essence, its services, its strengths and values.
First of all you need to make sure you know what your company stands for — this means you need to define your core target client, because those clients will be the receivers of what you promise them, among others, through a brand name.
Creating a name is definitely a complex part of the brand building process. A name usually needs to meet certain criteria. This needs to represent a leading thought, or be associated with right feelings accordingly to what is necessary to be communicated. Over time great names save millions of pounds in marketing expense. Seems like tough job, isn’t it?
Many companies in this case do things, not necessarily helpful or working in long term goals or they usually choosing poor and non cost-effective solutions:
- they count on CEO or a managing person in the structures to come up with the name (this person often is not trained in the field of branding, design or marketing)
- they do use shortcuts or use first letter of names etc, or use already existing company names with little amendments (what works for your competitor, not necessarily works for you)
- they find really cheap solutions (hiring a design student with no experience, or choosing a free domain by a good chance without any long term marketing goals and strategy preparations)
- they hire very expensive media / marketing giant (usually at the beginning companies do not have funds to pay those kind of bills)
So what’s the right solution?
Well…there is hope! You can start within your company’s structure by working on few essential points to make your brand “alive”.
1. Work on your brand’s “personality”
This means that you need to pick up as many characteristic features your brand represents. Show what your product, brand, company stands for. Is this a quality or luxury? Is your brand classical or modern? Does it represent feminine or masculine character? Great way to pick up on a personality of your brand is to compare it to the right model of a car. Then you know where is your position on the market, and what are the qualities your brand represent. Choose a main brand e.g: “My company is like “Mercedes” – class, quality, long-term promise; or like “Mini Cooper” – class, modern, functional, trendy, young spirit. You can try this exercise also with different scenarios and schemas. You can choose for instance from categories like:
- actor names (e.g. John Travolta, Leo DiCaprio , Bradley Cooper or Jennifer Lawrence)
- colours (black, white, pink, yellow etc.)
- flowers (rose, tulip, marguerites)
- animals (leo, dog, fish)
- another brands or comapnies
- places (Cracov, New York, or The Shard or Sloan Square)
You can help the team with print outs, images, Pinterest boards – the more creative you become the more working solution you find! Each set of images should represent the “overall look” that you would like to pass, as a brand promise, to your clients.
2. Give your customer an “emotion”
Work on customer experience. Come up with a “feeling” that describes your brand. You can use old magazines, posters etc. gather together the team and work together, brain storm together, create “mood boards”. Each team member should pick few images that in their opinion represent the best emotion, feeling, experience affiliated with your brand.
Theses could be:
- winning a football match, or any other competition
- “at home” feeling
- travel around the world
- climb Mount Everest
- special moment
- Formula 1 experience
- Sleeping in a 5star hotel
- Seeing New York from the top of Empire State Building
3. Create a design competition
Create a brief for a whole team, customers, clients or followers, which is actually a design contest. Let the prize be an extra bonus pay, a gym pass, a bottle of champagne, or anything what you think will be an excellent give away in exchange for help in name search. Prepare a board where people can write their ideas, post updates on social media or corporate blog.
4. A name with a function
Creating a list of your competitors is a good idea. You can observe how their names add value to the business outcome. This activity also help to observe market behaviours in relation to a particular name.
- a name in this case can be functional, frankly speaking, this describes a product, service or business directly;
- the name can be also abstract, with no meaning. In this case your role is to associate it with your brand as a set of features and emotions;
- a name describing an experience directly; This means the name can for instance describe an action or a movement. Good example here is “Google” – users use the word to describe an action “google it”.
- New meaning to an ordinary word. A good example for that assumption is global known brand “Apple”. Ordinary word with given new set of meaningful associations. Apple = endless creation, technology, innovation.
- A shocker. Using a provocative name should be well considered when working on a new things. It is hard to judge how targeted customers and overall market will react on those kind of strategies. I guess in few cases a shocking name can help with recognition immediately, in other cases can be a bad decision affecting future existence of the company.
Once the options are in, which means when you gather a list of words this is the time to vote for the one! Create an internal meeting, gather all stuff in one place, and give them a voting voice. Vote YES / NO, or give a scale from 1-5 where 1 place the word out of the list and 5 becomes an entry joker for the next round, 3 places the word in-between so you can go back to them if necessary.
Ok! The name is chosen! Now is the time to check words in relation to domain availability, competitors, meanings (as many languages as possible), suitability, level of attraction, trademark risks etc… That job I’m afraid is less creative but once you got finalists the process should be straightforward and not that hard at the end of the day.
To conclude everything what’s been said here, you do not have to be a genius to come up with a really great name, sometimes the only thing is to turn on your creative personality, give it a play with your team. You will see how fun and enjoyable is to take part in creating something that can last for minimum few years in worst scenario, or few decades in best scenarios!
Of course if there is a doubt or you really need a hand with a naming exercise, a strategy associated to your brand, or a design expertise, I invite you to contact me or follow KONCEPTBRAND on popular social media.
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