Creating a name for your brand can be a challenging pursuit. Sometimes, they come to you after months of competitor research, diligent whiteboarding, team-wide breakouts and day-long brainstorm sessions.
Other times, they come to you in the shower.
While their origins remain unpredictable, the importance of great company names can’t be overstressed. They are the unicorns of brand identity design. As so much brand work stems from a name, arriving on the perfect one can be the difference between your company exceeding expectations and simply meeting them.
There are anecdotal stories about how modern businesses decided on their names, but they often skirt around whether or not they received help creating a company name. In the era of internet branding, you have to at the very least perform some brand name research. After all, what use is the perfect name if another company has already claimed it?
The Brand Naming Process
In searching for branding services, companies often seek out the work they know they don’t yet have the expertise to attain in-house: UX, design, coding, media buying — all of these require special skill sets which are immediately apparent to the eye.
We advocate that businesses do the same for uncovering a name. That eureka moment in the shower? It rarely comes when you’re grinding against a deadline or working quickly to get your brand in place. Our experts have experience finding just the right name in as little as days. The secret is establishing a brand naming strategy, which can be used time and time again to generate results. Here’s how we do it:
1. We lay the foundation. It all starts with research. Studying competitors, current naming trends, and client preferences, we build categories for a potential name and start brainstorming with purpose, rather than spitballing into the void.
2. We do the work. With our guidelines in place, we let our thoughts loose. Exhausting ourselves with word play, portmanteaus, imaginary words and more, we spin out dozens or even hundreds of possible names to select from.
3. We broaden scope. A good naming process includes everyone within our walls, top to bottom. For two reasons: 1) Good ideas come from everywhere, and 2) A great name integrates with the other elements of a brand, and we want to make sure the language matches its appearance and functionality.
4. We check our work. Details matter. Knowing how to navigate copyrights and potential conflicts of interest matter even more. Once we’re honing in on a few options we like, we scour the web to make sure they’re not already taken or too similar to a competitor name. If we need to circle back to step one, then that’s exactly what we will do.
5. We test. Our network of partners, writers, focus groups and naming experts lean on one another to bubble up the wisdom of the crowd. We may decide on something clever, but never for the sake of being clever alone. Getting multiple perspectives ensures we’re impressing the client and not ourselves.
Branding Best Practices
As a branding agency, our brand naming process is directly correlated with everything else we do. Once we’ve landed on a name that both our experts and our clients are satisfied with, we start taking adaptability into consideration:
- How will the name evolve over time and grow with the brand? Does it have the opportunity to expand or contract according to its environment?
- How will sub-products or sub-categories correlate with the parent name? Are there opportunities to reinforce the brand farther down the funnel?
- How does the name work as a web address? A billboard? A press release header? Every environment deserves consideration, even the ones a brand isn’t incorporated into yet.
- How does the name make you feel at first glance? Inflections, tones and pronunciations matter, despite how small the distinctions may feel
Once we feel confident in answering the above, we feel confident we’ve found a sticky name. One that’s quick to float up to the top of search results and stay caught in the minds of potential customers.
Ready to find yours? Let's talk.