Part 2 of Finding Your Perfect Brand Name
The first part Primary Steps to Finding Your Perfect Brand Name of this lesson helped you understand the 10 attributes for a great brand name.
A successful brand name is intentional and purposeful. Below are the 3 main steps to creating a personalized, effective and captivating brand name:
1. Articulate Your Core Identity
First and foremost, you must understand and be clear about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. We call this your “core identity.” which includes:
- Vision:Why your company exists.
- Mission:What your company does and who they do it for.
- Values:Your fundamental beliefs, which explains how you do it.
Your Mission, Vision, and Values encapsulate your purpose and influence everything you do. Once you know who you are, execute a competitive analysis to identify and understand your key differentiators.
Understanding what makes your brand unique helps in finding a great brand name.
2. Brainstorm + Discard
Host a structured brainstorm. Feel free to invite your stakeholders or your most valuable creatives – anyone you think could help! While it may feel more natural to just throw around some names until you feel like one is right, we find people often need some sort of structure or set of guidelines to work with.
You may want to start this session with certain prompts or specific activities. For example, you might instruct your brainstorm group to:
- Write down the adjectives that represent your products or services.
- Do a free word association around your product or service.
- Describe how you want the consumer to feel when they use your product/service.
- Think of the different categories your brand might branch off into and identify what unites them all.
Eliminating names is absolutely the most frustrating part of the process. There’s no point in moving on to testing stages for a name that’s already taken, so you need to eliminate frontrunners that are not available.
Narrow your brainstormed names down to a list of the team’s favorites (ideally around 10-20). Then, search if the URL is available.
You may go to a domain name registrar like Network Solutions or GoDaddy. Once this first search is done, go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database of registered trademarks (www.uspto.gov) and use their Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
If they’re all taken, you must come back to your drawing board. This exercise will surely narrow your list down quickly. If you’re a genius who somehow has a plethora of unregistered names, narrow down your list to your top three to test.
If a name you like appears to be available, hire an experienced legal attorney to examine it thoroughly, and then proceed to register it.
When you’re at a more official stage, register similar trademarks and URLs, as well (such as the Marriott hotel empire registering “Mariott,” “Marriot,” and other similarly spelled terms to ensure you always land on their site). A customer might search for your website with a simple typo and never find you.
Important, too, is the transferability of a name between languages and cultures. Certain words have multiple meanings in different languages, and they are not always positive ones.
It is important for a brand name to sit right in any language or culture so that the brand may keep scaling up as it spreads to different regions of the world.
Now that you’ve cleared the legal barrier, here comes the most exciting part.
Play around with creating mockups (think logos, product packaging, and homepages), testing the performance of your top three names. You may be surprised learning what resonates with people and what ends up falling.
Here’s one simple and straightforward testing idea:
- Create a few logotype ideas to start exploring the name’s visual potential and select one per brand name.
- Build a branded landing page for each selected name. Use an identical text and only change logo/brand name.
- Run a highly targeted pay-per-click ad to your target customers for a week.
- See which page got more conversions.
- Run with the strongest one!
Notably, this article is not exclusively for those just starting off.
A brand name can make it or break it for your company, and if you feel like yours is just not working, revisit why you chose that name in the first place. It is never too late to re-name, re-brand, and regain traction in your market.
The South Beach Diet, for example, did not always have that catchy, memorable, and evocative brand name; it was originally called the Modified Carbohydrate Diet, a name so forgettable that they did not sell (or really, skyrocket) until they changed it!
No matter what stage you are at in your business, a great brand name can be created.
I hope you find this guide useful. You can always contact me, or one of our naming specialists at SRP if you need more help to create a powerful brand name that delivers ROI!