Brand Naming Do's And Don'ts
"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name."
With the number of startups highly on the rise, with corporate companies facing startup disruption more than ever, and with everyone and everything moving online, there has never been more noise in the business landscape than we see today. There are now more businesses than ever! So how can a new one become famous?
We've put together below a list of essential naming DO's and DON'Ts to shed some light on the process and help you make better choices in those early times when your budget can't yet afford to hire naming experts.
Work on a suggestive and evocative positioning
Before choosing a name, you must define your brand positioning and clarify what you want your name to do for your brand. The name you choose must be derived from that positioning and say something about your brand, without plainly describing it. The more distinct the positioning, the more effective the name. Strong names allude to what a company or product can do, or suggest to users a positive experience. However, you shouldn't expect your brand name to say it all. Give it room to work and activate your customers' imagination.
Good brand names challenge, excite, and mentally stimulate us. They fuel our imagination and reveal a multi-layered, rich personality that makes your brand shine. Think of Slack, Monday, Discord, Carrot, Virgin, Impossible Foods, Pandora, Gap, Caterpillar. Despite the apparent "negative messages", consumers love these brands, find them intriguing, and appreciate their sense of humour.
The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember. Memorable names create associations with familiar concepts and figures. For people to remember it easily, your name must look familiar, be understandable, and relatable. Your customers shouldn't have to remember how many vowels you have in the middle of it. If you opt for a made-up name, try to stick to two or three syllables.
If you opt for a made-up name, try to stick to two or three syllables.
Use visual imagery
Our brains are better suited to remember images, tastes, or smells than it is to remember abstract concepts. People even have a hard time remembering other people's names, but they do remember faces and things they see much easier. That’s why having a name that creates a visual representation in your customers' brains is a tremendous advantage. If you can find a name that has image, taste, and smell, that's even better. Think Citronade. ;)
Be future proof
It's hard to predict the future, especially if you're an early-stage startup that might have to pivot a few times until it can find its grounding and reach the product-market-fit. That's why you need to start this trip next to a name that's flexible, that can grow with you and adapt when you need it to. Think of it as a marriage - you'd ideally want it to be for life. Sure, should things go south, you can change, but it's gonna cost you and leave some scars. It's simply better to try to get it right from the beginning.
Have a theme
When you're naming products, it's better to opt for a theme. People like to make logical connections and see the relations between your product lines or iterations. It gives your product line a sense of belonging, family, and togetherness that people long for. Especially after experiencing the extended lockdown and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic...
Powerful names connect with us emotionally. We are attracted to names that echo our needs and desires. And savvy brands know how to take advantage of that. Think of Calvin Klein's Obsession perfume line, Impossible Burger, or Queen.
“According to Forrester Research, 50 percent of every buying decision is driven by emotion. Not only do we buy things that make us feel good, but we are also inclined to buy things with names that make us feel good.” - Alexandra Watkins, "Hello, My Name is Awesome"
“Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying, and crucial work. [...] I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it.”