10 Steps to an Unforgettable Brand Name

Pull up a chair and sit in on one of our mind twisting brand naming sessions to see how catchy names are born.

Ever wondered how the word ‘apple’ was plucked from the fruit tree and made to carry the weight of the technology world on its shoulders? How about how a snippet of toddler gibberish like ‘google’ could come to be the most trusted tour guide of the web? These brand names may seem natural now, but before they became the powerhouses they are today, a group of people much like ourselves had to toss around (and most likely toss out) name after name before they landed on perfection.

Here at Mo Works we try and keep some method to our madness, and we treat brand naming as a creative process like any other. To show you how we nut out names, we’ve put together a little guide to help you work towards your Amazon moment.

1.Develop a Brand Strategy

Finding a name will be a stab in the dark without a clear brief that outlines your brand identity, including your target market, unique selling point and value proposition. Once you have defined the message you wish to send to your desired audience, you can create a name that sums all of this up in a word or two.

2.Research Competitors

Sussing out similar businesses that are already in the market will help you further define your position and gauge the types of names that are floating around. You can then choose a name that goes in the same direction, or forge a new path to drive home your difference.

3.Identify Keywords

The old strategy of divide and conquer works wonders when putting together a solid list of keywords because each of your team members, from the copywriter and marketer to the designer and business developer, will attack the task from unique angles. Arm everyone with a copy of the brand strategy and set them on a mission to find all the words they can muster that describe what the brand does, the type of people it attracts and how you want people to feel when they think about it. These words could be:

•Metaphors

•Imagery

•Slang

•Emotions

•Sounds

•Values

There is absolutely no shame in using a thesaurus to come up with cool synonyms for your keywords. In fact, we thoroughly recommend it if you want to turn each idea inside out.

4.Categorise

Make your mountain of keywords more manageable by drawing up a table with a column dedicated to each of the elements of your message you wish to convey through your brand name. Do you want to appear fun? Authoritative? Or highlight your Italian heritage? Dividing your keywords into these columns will reveal whether you are honouring the brand strategy, and which areas could do with a little more attention.

5.Brainstorm

Now to the juicy stuff. Bringing all your left brained, right brained and wacky thinkers together around one table to share their keywords will expose all their different trains of thought and help you create the mother of all keyword lists. Whilst keeping them in categories, you can mix and match them to find the combinations that are snappy and encapsulate the message you wish to convey. We think this step is the most fun, because you get to bounce ideas off each other and build on suggestions made by others to unlock options you could never dream up on your own. Don’t be afraid to be bold, mushing words together to make new ones and playing on sounds can be a great way to come up with a name that sticks.

6.Shortlist

Culling your concoctions into a list of the best 5–10 names will challenge you to find the ones that roll off the tongue the best and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about the business. Constantly compare your list to your brand strategy to make sure they tick all the boxes and get the right message across, otherwise they have no business being on the list.

7.Check Availability

Before getting your heart set on the Coca-Cola of all brand names, make sure someone else hasn’t beaten you to it. Check the domain availability at a website like Go Daddy or Who Is and if you’re hoping to operate a business in Australia, you will need to check with ASIC to see if the company name has already been registered or if it had been Trademarked. For a better understanding about Intellectual Property, visit IP Australia.

8.Write a Story

Cast each of your names in the starring role of a story that describes the life of your brand and what it offers consumers. To pitch the name Yahoo!, you could imagine a frustrated student who is trying to finish a research assignment at midnight, and when they finally find the information they’re looking for they can’t contain their joy and yell ‘Yahooooooooo!’ through the sleeping house. Thinking about the images and feelings that are attached to each element of the name will reveal the type of snapshot it gives of the brand and how well it can be integrated into everyday life.

9.Test

By now you will have most likely narrowed down your shortlist to one or two favourites, so it’s time to give them a thorough workout to determine a champion. Enlisting a pair of fresh ears to gauge consumer response and picturing how it would look on signs and paperwork will help you hone in on the name you’d be proud to call your own.

10.Select

Using your gut or a process of elimination, decide which name has the best ring to it whilst still conveying the right message. When you have a winner go forth and shout it from the rooftops!

We may not know if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but what we do know is that a millisecond is all it takes for a name to leave an imprint on consumers. Following the necessary steps puts the power in your hands to decide whether it is memorable for all the right reasons.

If you hit a mental block, you could visit a name generating website such as Namemesh to get some fresh ideas. But if our guide does lead you to brand name glory and you’re wondering what the next step is, then hit up our branding page and imagine how great your name would look splashed across a logo or heading up some stationery.


Originally published at www.moworks.com.au on June 29, 2015.

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