When people think of your brand or your business, the first thing that comes to their mind is your company name.
It is the very first opportunity your company has to create an impression on your customers.
To make sure your brand connects deeply with customers, your business name has to carry the strengths and appeal you want your customer to associate with your brand.
Getting your business name right will go ahead of your marketing efforts and keep your brand fresh in the mind of your customers. A good business name is hard to beat.
The following are business naming strategies to help your brand stand out from the competition.
1. Inject Some Vibe Into the Name
What feeling does your company name project? Naming experts say that your customers will already form an impression of what your business is about just from your business name.
This means that your business name has to convey what your business is about, without being overly obtrusive. Take for example the name Zappos.com. While the name is edgy and hip, it also projects what the company is about. Zappos, a Spanish translation for shoes, tells what the company does without sounding too generic.
A generic sounding name may not inspire the kind of vibe a name like Zappos.com inspires among its customers.Using a name that is generic does not only give customers a weak impression of your brand, it might also make it difficult for you to compete in other segments in the future.
"It is nice to have a business name that explains what you offer. However, as the hope of any business is to expand, picking a keyword name can stunt your growth later and force you to rebrand or spend marketing efforts on redefining what your business does.”says Margot Bushnaq, CEO and founder of BrandBucket: "We create names that imply a specific industry or feel without limiting you to a specific offering so you can easily pivot, expand and brand this name."
2. Avoid Long Names and Difficult Spellings
A difficult sounding name will make it hard for your customers to remember your brand.
Keep in mind that most successful brands have names that are either four syllables or less. The amount of time it takes to pronounce a name depends on the number of “syllables.” Two syllables for a one-word like Pepsi Google are easiest to remember. However, short names with many syllables like Ikea, or long but with few syllables like Bright Squirrel can be hard to recall and spell.
Your name should be easy to spell and be easy to type for users who want to visit your website from their mobile devices or on small screen tablets.
Most entrepreneurs often make the mistake of trying to express the passion that goes into creating their products in their business names. But the disadvantage of doing this is that your customers not interested in the titbit that went into making your company.Also, a complex name gives competitors with easy to memorize names an edge over your brand.
As a rule of thumb, always consider the following when choosing a business name that you want your customers to easily remember:
- Does it spell or sound like everyday words? If your company name takes your customers more brainwork than the everyday words they are used to, they'll choose to forget about it. That is the easiest option for them. An example of an invented name hatched from BrandBucket is Envato. Not only is the name short, it's also a word that anybody can pronounce. Hence, no additional effort is required to memorize it.
- Can it be associated with something familiar? One of the techniques of memorizing things is by associating it with something, particularly a place, that is familiar. This is known as the "method of loci". Exploiting this memory technique in naming your business can help you score big on branding.
3. Own Your .Com Domain and Secure Your Name on Social Media
Should you use a ".com" extension or go for other TLDs that are now available? We now have several new TLDs to make up for the increasing scarcity in getting a good .com extension. But the fact that we now have TLDs like .io .tech etc, further affirms that the .com extension is still king.
As a branding strategy, you should aim to secure a .com domain name that matches your business name. Your social media presence should not be left out. When your users seek you out on the internet, they're not expecting to see a business name with variant spellings on Facebook and Twitter. Your name has to be consistent across all channels.
Consistency is important to help your brand build trust. Follow these steps to ensure you don't start your business naming decision on a wrong foot:
- Research the name before agreeing to it. Choosing a name at first may seem like a no-brainer. But once you put the cost of fighting a trademark lawsuit and having to start from scratch, doing this at the very start becomes a very valuable investment.
- Secure your domain and social profiles before letting the cat out of the bag. A lot of entrepreneurs get excited at the very prospect of finding a great name, they end up telling everyone about it even before doing the very basic. Make sure you've secured your .com domain name and your name on Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels before others know what name you're settling with.
4. How Does Your Name Sound When Pronounced?
A lot of business names look great on paper. Entrepreneurs have only dreamed of how great their business would do with the name until they listen to someone pronounce it. Professional naming companies do not only spend time digging to see that a name is available through all channels, they also work to see that the name reads and sounds well.
Follow these steps to make your business name sound professional and appealing:
- Make use of linguistic elements in your company name. Names like Best Buy, Coca-Cola, and PayPal make great use of alliteration.
- Do the phone test. Send an email to friends asking them to call you and leave a voicemail pronouncing the name they see. If they have difficulty pronouncing it correctly or have a moment of hesitation then you need to reconsider the name.
Finally, does it work well internationally? For example, in English a “y” usually rhymes with “eye”, but in Spanish, a “y” rhymes with “see”. Another example is SkypeIn America most users pronounce the name without the last letter, similar to “hype, however, in some parts of Europe and the Middle East, the brand is pronounced “Skypee”.
Naming your business is a very crucial branding strategy that can make or break your brand. Whether you're targeting millennials or are setting up a B2B business, make sure your naming strategy helps your brand stand out from the crowd.