The Foundation of the Perfect Brand Name
In the first two parts of this series of articles on the more strategic aspects of the branding process, we focused on brand consulting and brand development/branding. To conclude the series, this article deals with the strategic naming of companies, products and services according to your individual needs.
“The name choice is not only a creative process.”
Finding a suitable name for a newborn can be difficult. Normally, at the time you choose a name, you know relatively little about the later traits and peculiarities that will make your child the person he or she will become.
Branding is a bit easier. As you have learned in the previous two chapters, we always start a brand identification process by immersing ourselves in the history of the brand and creating a brand architecture based on it. This includes the basic characteristics and values of a brand as well as finer nuances such as individual traits and peculiarities of the product or company.
In this sense, brand naming is a much less creative process than it is for babies. At the time of naming, we know who we have in front of us. Our task is to find a name that fits.
8 Criteria for Great Brand Names
Below we have identified eight key points and related questions that you should keep in mind when choosing a name for your company, products or services:
- Brand Fit
How does the name fit into your existing brand architecture? Does it fit in with your story, your character, the values and employees of your company?
What does the name mean to your customers? Will they remember it?
Does your name get lost in a list of competitors or does it stick out, does it attract attention?
Do customers understand your company name when they first hear it? Can they spell it easily to find your business via Google?
Does your name sound good five years from now? Is it still suitable when your company develops and expands?
- Legally Protectable
Can you register the name as a trademark? In Switzerland, in the EU, worldwide? How far does trademark protection extend? Are relevant domains still available?
Are you planning sub-brands for your product range? How do you expand the name in these cases? Are you expanding abroad? Does the name also work in the USA, China and Costa Rica?
What do customers associate with your name? Which connections are awakened consciously or unconsciously? What appears on Google when you search for your name?
Stay Objective… or at Least Try
Your company, your product, into which you have put so much heart and soul, needs a name. Understandably, it is difficult to banish one’s own emotions and, to put it somewhat negatively, claims of ownership to the back seat and to approach naming from an objective perspective.
Perhaps the proposed name reminds you of an unpleasant acquaintance or you would like to make your spouse happy and name your new product after him or her. Such personal dislikes and preferences are natural, but please always keep one in mind:
“This name does not have to please you primarily.”
The name is part of the branding and therefore has a clearly defined task: It should make it possible to build a bridge between you and your customers. The naming process should therefore be approached from as objective and functional a perspective as possible.
Ask yourself how the name is received by your customers, which emotions it triggers and which memories it awakens in them. How well it stays in their memory and how easy it is to spell it out. If you have found a name that checks all these boxes, then you have a name that does its job. That’s what matters in the end.
Finally: Learn to Love Your Name
Do not trust love at first sight when it comes to finding a brand name. The “Aha” moment from movies is rather rare in real life and even then we would like you to at least sleep over it again and give the name a sober thought on the next day or the next week. If the name is well chosen and is met with positive feedback and high customer response, you will also learn to love it. Believe us.