- A brand is a promise. In practice, it’s about creating a true impression of what a company stands for, and then delivering on what you say you’ll do – without fail. The loftier the promise, the higher the stakes when you break it. I’m fascinated by how companies communicate and, importantly, how they fulfil the promises.
- It all begins with a common goal — your brand promise. This promise could be to have the best customer service, or to offer customers the best value for their dollar. The important thing is to remember that no one organization can do everything well. You have to pick and choose.
Looking for the perfect brand name for your new startup?
That voice is your conscience, your morals, your individuality. No one can take that from you unless you let them. They can take everything from you in material terms – your house, your job, your ability to speak and move freely. They cannot take away who you truly are. They can never truly know you, and that is your power.
There’s no doubt that choosing the perfect brand name is one of the most exciting and important elements of startup branding… But it’s also one of the hardest.
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Get it right, and you’re a household name, like Airbnb, Uber, or Pepsi.
But if you get it wrong, you could be the next “Tea Party Bookshop” (YIKES!). Then you may be forced to rebrand or face embarrassment, failure or even aggression.
Building a brand and developing a strong brand identity takes time and involves much more than a slogan and a logo. Before jumping into choosing a brand name, check out this video to get the basics of building a brand identity.
Make links part of your branding strategy
Stand out from the crowd with branded links
In this article, we’re going to run through the following 5 steps that will help you come up with some brand name ideas that will work for your business:
Let’s jump in!
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Step 1: Create your brand avatar
No- not THAT Avatar!
Before you even begin to think about a name for your brand, it’s imperative to identify, as precisely as possible, the characteristics of the ideal customer for your brand’s products or services.
If you don’t know who you’re creating your brand for, then you will never find a compelling name.
Defining your target customer will come up when you’re creating your marketing and business strategies too, so it’s well worth the effort. It’s just that a lot of startups can be tempted to define their brand name right away – before they’ve fleshed out these details.
Sure – come up with a working title. But don’t definitively set your brand name until you’re sure it will appeal to your target audience and reflect your brand values.
The creation of effective brand avatars is, to some extent, an intuitive and creative process, but it’s important to use hard data as well.
Web tools such as Alexa can provide significant demographic information about visitors to competitors’ websites, including, age, gender, and location.
Looking at competitors’ Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts can also provide some useful “soft” intelligence about their customer base and online following. From these sources, you should be able to easily construct a clear picture of the customer your brand is targeting.
But this is just the beginning…
Step 2: Create your brand archetype
Having created your brand avatar, it is also necessary to define a brand archetype when coming up with a brand name that will work.
Put simply, the goal is to understand as clearly as possible what your brand will mean or represent, which is an essential prerequisite for deciding upon the best brand name to attract potential customers.
The concept of the archetype is derived from Jungian psychology, but there is no need to go deep into that.
For the purpose of picking a brand name, it’s only necessary to understand that the avatar is the personification of your customer while the archetype is the personification of your company, along with its products or services.
Another helpful way to think of this is to ask yourself how your brand will create an emotional resonance with your intended customers. What brand values do you want to communicate? Would a pun or play on words be appropriate for the image you would like to build for your business? Or do you want to bring a sense of luxury to mind?
You want your brand name to indicate something about who you are or what you do.
Look at these two brand name examples for inspiration:
- Nike: This well-known brand is also the name of the ancient Greek Goddess who personified victory. There’s a whole lot of powerful meaning behind those four letters.
- Dove: Doves conjure up feminine images of purity and softness. Ideal for a toiletry brand.
There are 12 main brand archetypes, including the Hero, the Innocent, and the Outlaw, to name just a few. Spend some time deciding which one fits your brand the best. Alternatively, you can take the ‘Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz‘ to make the process even easier.
It’s also a good idea to take some time with your team to think about the non-verbal meanings and emotional associations you want for your brand. When you’ve decided, make sure to note them down so you can add them to your branding guidelines in future. This will help ensure the different elements of your branding are consistent, cohesive and effective.
If you need some inspiration, this guide includes some great insights on how to create your own brand style guide.
Get started with Rebrandly
Put your brand name on every link you create
Step 3: Generate brand name ideas
The next task is to generate brand name ideas, which both represent your brand archetype and appeal to your brand avatar. There are no hard and fast rules for this, but here are some general principles that can help you out.
Keep your brand name simple
The perfect brand name for your startup will generally be short, simple and easy to say. Ideally, it will be a two-syllable word, as these generally gain more traction with target audiences and are more memorable.
Often a successful startup will develop a range of products, so your brand name shouldn’t be too specific. For example, although Footjoy is probably best known for making quality golf shoes, its name is “Footjoy” not “Footjoy Golf Shoes”, as the company now also sells a wide range of golfing and outdoor gear.
With this in mind, you can start brainstorming brand name ideas.
Use word association to brainstorm brand name ideas
Start with some simple word association games. Write down, say or shout as many words associated with your brand as possible.
You want ideally to have dozens, or even hundreds, of contenders. These can then be narrowed down to just a few which you or your team think are worth testing out. A good place to start is with this in-depth article from Squadhelp, which exhausts all angles of choosing a brand.
If you’re working on your own, friends and family may be able to give you useful feedback.
To kickstart the process, you might try inventing a completely new word or combining two ordinary words to form a new one – Footjoy is an example of this.
If you can’t get the creative juices flowing, consider flipping through an online thesaurus for a few minutes:
- Enter a possible name for your startup brand and the thesaurus will generate a list of synonyms and related words.
- You can then enter some of these related words to gather even more ideas.
- Create a spreadsheet of the results.
- Recombine them to create completely new, though often nonsensical, words.
Use online tools to grow your brand name list
Once you’ve got this spreadsheet, try going over to Name Mesh and throw some of the words into its brand name generator.
If that’s not helping, you can also take a look at these 7 popular types of brand names for even more thought-provoking ideas.
Consider using foreign language words
For more options, you might also consider using non-English words. Those from the romance languages – like French, Spanish or Italian – are often very effective in naming luxury goods, particularly in markets such as clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, food, and wine.
But caution is required… Secondary meanings in local slang may convey the opposite of what’s intended, or even cause serious offense. Use Google Translate or do a simple web and social media search to mitigate this risk of this happening.
Step 4: Check the availability of your best brand name ideas
Once you have a shortlist of possible brand names, it is important to check that they are not currently in use. Make sure they aren’t already trademarked by another business and that a suitable domain name is available. To do this, you should:
- Do a domain name search with one of the main providers, such as GoDaddy. If you plan to use branded links as part of your branding strategy, you can also use Rebrandly’s domain name search, which can be filtered by industry. This is a quick and effective way to check if someone else is using your brand name ideas. But it is wise to also follow this up with a simple Google search.
- Look for Facebook pages and Twitter accounts using the same or a similar brand name.
- Check that your potential startup names are not trademark protected. Search at the US Patent Office or use a service such as Namechk to do this.
You can find out more about how to choose a domain name for your brand and how they can be used for branded links in the video below.
Step 5: Test your brand name
Before finally deciding on the perfect brand name for your company, it’s a good idea to test your shortlist. This will let you figure out how appealing and memorable your potential customers find them.
If you have existing customers for other products, you could survey them via Facebook, email, or one of many other online survey tools.
If you are a brand new startup, the testing may form just part of your market research, which may be conducted among family, friends, colleagues and on social media.
Whatever the case, make sure you test your chosen brand name thoroughly and objectively. If people are giving you negative responses or think you sell baseball bats when you are supposed to sell golf shoes, you’ll know you’re missing the mark.
Remain skeptical. Pay attention not only to what people say and how they respond – but also their very initial reaction.
Select the perfect brand name
Finally, once you’ve properly vetted and tested your brand name, you can start setting up your online presence.
So go out there, capture all the relevant domains, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and anything else necessary to finalize the process. Build your logo around your chosen brand name and start to grow a relevant and trusted brand that’s true to your values.
Don’t just shorten your links
Brand them with Rebrandly
Some final thoughts…
Your brand name will only be one part of the long-term development of your brand. Consider the example of Apple, one of the world’s most powerful brands whose name bears no relation to its products at all.
This was a process. There are many options when finding the perfect brand name and, ultimately, this will become a very important piece of your company’s identity.
Brands are more than names and logos. So define your company and what you stand for, and share it with the world.
Have you recently started your own business? Share the process you used to find the perfect brand name with us in the comments below.
→ Download Now: How To Build A Brand [FREE GUIDE]
This Article is About:
- How to pick the perfect brand name
- Brand name ideas
- Choosing a brand name
- Brand name examples
Originally Posted: June 7th, 2016.
Post Updated: January 31st, 2019.
So what is branding? And why is it so important for your business?
Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element.
When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff.
When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand.
In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.
It is critical to be aware of your brand experience and have a plan to create the brand experience that you want to have… a good brand doesn’t just happen… it is a well thought out and strategic plan.
Many small organizations and start-ups neglect to spend necessary time thinking about their brand in this broad sense and the impact it has on their business.
Let’s look at 10 reasons why digging into your brand is important:
Branding promotes recognition.
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with.
If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
Your brand helps set you apart from the competition.
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd.
You are no longer competing on a local stage, your organization now competes in the global economy.
How do you stand out from the thousands or millions of similar organizations around the world?
Your brand tells people about your business DNA.
Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like the logo to the way that your phones are answered, tell your customer about the kind of company that you are.
Are all of these points of entry telling the right story?
Your brand provides motivation and direction for your staff.
A clear brand strategy provides the clarity that your staff needs to be successful.
It tells them how to act, how to win, and how to meet the organization’s goals.
A strong brand generates referrals.
How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Cry
People love to tell others about the brands they like.
People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love. On the flip side, you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember.
Additionally, a strong brand website strategy, like backlinks, is critical to generating referrals or viral traffic.
A strong brand helps customers know what to expect.
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
Your brand represents you and your promise to your customer.
It is important to remember that your brand represents you…you are the brand, your staff is the brand, your marketing materials are the brand.
What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you’re going to deliver (promise) to the customer?
Your brand helps you create clarity and stay focused.
It’s very easy to wander around from idea to idea with nothing to guide you…it doesn’t take long to be a long way from your original goals or plans.
A clear brand strategy helps you stay focused on your mission and vision as an organization.
Your brand can help you be strategic and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money.
How To Keep Your Brand Promises Before You Make Them Laugh
Your brand helps you connect with your customers emotionally.
A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand.
Purchasing is an emotional experience and having a strong brand helps people feel good at an emotional level when they engage with the company.
A strong brand provides your business value.
A strong brand will provide value to your organization well beyond your physical assets.
Think about the brands that you purchase from (Coca-Cola, Wrangler, Apple, Ford, Chick-Fil-A, QuikTrip)… are these companies really worth their equipment, their products, their warehouses, or factories?
No, these companies are worth much more than their physical assets…their brand has created a value that far exceeds their physical value.
A style guide can provide your team with the tools to better maintain your brand’s image, and give your site’s users a dependable experience. In other words, by establishing clearer and more efficient communication across your team, style guides improve the experience of your brand for both the people creating it and those encountering it. Style guides (or brand bibles) contain all the necessary information to create whatever your company needs. Whether it be a website, advertisement, internal memo, or whatever else, this little document will make your life a breeze. How to create a website style guide that builds your brand.
Wrapping it up
The best branding is built on a strong idea… an idea that you and your staff can hold on to, can commit to, and can deliver upon.
Your brand needs to permeate your entire organization. When your organization is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous fruit while building brand loyalty among your customer base.
If you need assistance with your brand, from creating your initial brand strategy to the visual identity elements, contact us for a free consultation…we’d love to help you identify and share your story!
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Published in Branding, Marketing, Strategy