You may be tempted to come up with your name right away, as the very first task after you’ve come up with your brilliant business idea. But wait! First doing some of the branding legwork will help you lay a strong framework and come up with the best name that really speaks to your brand and, more importantly, to your customers.
Your brand’s name should appeal to your target audience.
Before you decide your messaging, define who it is that you’re talking to. If you don’t know who you’re creating your brand for then you won’t be able to create a compelling name. Define your target audience and create a persona that embodies them.
Create a customer persona is a mix of science and intuition. You likely already have a pretty good idea of who it is you’re trying to target. Use that! But also, also embrace the data. Dive into demographics to see who—based on age, gender, and interests—is most likely to be attracted to your product and to its values.
Dig into competitors for this info. Look at their social media channels, their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to see how they present themselves to their audience and how their audience engages with them. Dive into exactly who their audience is.
While you’re at it, what do you notice about your competitor that works, that speaks to you? What doesn’t work or wouldn’t work with your voice, tone, and mission?
Even if you sell the same product, how you sell it should be unique and reflect your Unique Value Proposition. This is what you do best turned into a singular message.
Now that you have identified and modeled your ideal customer, it’s time to take a look inward.
Your brand’s archetype is the personification of your company, its products, and services. There are twelve classic brand archetypes, from those that convey nostalgia to the cutting edge. Choosing an archetype for your brand can help you define its character traits and goals.
This will help you connect with the emotional body of your brand. How does it make you feel? How does it make your customers feel? What emotions, reactions, or connections does it inspire?
An archetype will also help you make connections with figures, words, people, or symbols that embody the same characteristics as your archetype. Many companies use this methodology to directly choose their name.
For example “Dawn,” the dish soap company. The name conveys the revitalizing clean start of a new day. Or Adidas, which is simply the acronym “All Day I Dream About Soccer.” You can really feel the goal of their archetype in this name, a jock who would be playing sports above all else.
Simple word association games can conjure a long list of words that relate to your brand. Break past your team and get your family and friends involved in the fun. Sometimes there’s nothing more valuable than an outsider’s perspective.
Foreign languages, especially if they relate to your target audience’s culture, can house a treasure trove of naming ideas.
Metaphors can explain your brands messaging in a creative way. Some good examples are Greyhound, Amazon, and Nike.
Your brand’s name should be short, simple and easy to remember. Try this exercise out for size. If your company name could convey only one thing, what would it be? Now try to distill the answer into one or two words.
Don’t be afraid your customers “won’t get it.” Sure, it’s easy to use product descriptors or geographic indicators in your brand name (like Burlington Coat Factory or Comp USA). But, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for vision or for growth. Go for more timeless attributes of your company so you have a better chance of creating a meaningful, valuable, and long-lasting brand name.
Branding should be responsive and consistent. Test how your audience responds to certain messaging and go with what works.
We’ve helped many clients name their business, products and services.
Our branding program will help you build a foundation for your marketing strategy, including your brand name.
Combining research, creativity, and a unique outside perspective, we will help you craft messaging that will capture the interest of your audience and energize your employees. Learn more.
(It’s pretty much all we talk about anyway.)