Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Branding Strategies 101 - Naming Your Product or Business

Naming your product or business is a crucial step in your branding process.

Statistics show that the first name you fall in love with can be a big disaster. Too many business owners cling stubbornly to that first name because they feel that it’s part of the “Big Dream.”

But by following a few simple rules you’ll be able to avoid that blind stubbornness when it comes choosing your brand name:

·      Keep it short and simple. Your name needs to be easy to pronounce, but more importantly, it needs to be easy to remember.

·      Avoid names that can be pronounced more than one way.  You never want to have people to scratch their heads when they are trying to pronounce your name: ItscozIam Moving Service or SeeDeeLee Let’s Move trucking service. Get the picture

·      Steer clear of acronyms or initials.  The “ABCDECo.” might seem like a good solution, but does it tell people what your business is? There are way too many companies using “ABC” or “AAA”, mostly because they want to see if they can rank first in the directory.

·      Avoid foreign names. If your name is Mary Niemcziesziak, you might think it would be logical to call your business “Niemcziesziak Tax Consultants.” But for people who don’t speak Polish, they won’t remember how to spell it, let alone pronounce it!

·      Try to keep away from words that have more than one meaning. Even though the meaning may be 100% obvious to you, others might look at it in a whole different context: “The Mushroom Stool” or “Poop Here Boating Designs.”

·      Avoid multiple words in a name. If you name your business “Just Fab Business Services,” your website could end up as “justfabbusinessservices.com.” Between the double b’s and the triple s’s, this will confuse people for sure.

So when you are choosing a name for your product or business, decide what you want your name to do for your product or business. What does the name say about your company or your product?  Is it easy to pronounce and understand? Is it memorable – in a good way?

So how do you create a great name? Look at the subhead. This is an accepted technique of combining two words together to create one new, descriptive word:

·      “name” + “brainstorming” = “namestorming”

It’s easy to do this for your own business, too.  Just pick two words that represent who your company is and what it does: Example: “travel” + “velocity” = “Travelocity” This indicates fast and effective travel.

We also have acronyms.  Most make sense, some don't.  Let's take AFLAC.  People remember it because it sounds like a duck quacking.  But it's actually an acronym for American Family Life Assurance Company.

How about IKEA? This is short for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.  

Not to confuse you anymore, but there are also “backronyms,” which is an expression that is formed existing words: Mothers Against Drunk Driving becomes MADD, Zone Improvement Plan is Zip Code, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

But a word of caution – only use these naming strategies if it is really catchy, really hot, easy to say, easy to remember, and remarkably enticing.

So when you are deciding on a name for your business or product, decide which of these approaches are most relevant:

·      Using a word that triggers a visual image
·      Using a relevant symbol that triggers association
·      Using your name; or a combination of yours and your partner’s
·      Using two words combined
·      Using a descriptive word
·      Using a nonsense word that is fun and catchy

Be sure to stay tuned next Tuesday to learn about Your Branding Focus!



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