8 tips for naming your brand
If you thought naming a child was a difficult task, naming your brand could be a nightmare. At least baby names can be repeated. There are no rules for naming a brand or product, but sometimes breaking away from the usual is the way to go. Keep in mind that even a brand name that doesn't account for these considerations could be the next big thing (except for #7), but following these tips will make your life easier.
Define your brand philosophy
Even if your business exists only to make lots of money, your brand should have something more meaningful to say. Think about banks. Most of their marketing is not about money, but about emotions, family and love. When a brand has a beautiful story to tell and it embraces a meaningful philosophy, its customers feel a special bond.
Think of your brand as a whole, and make it cohesive. Before naming your brand, think of stories, concepts and emotions (beliefs) you want to spread, and write them down to tie your brand to those beliefs. If you can, name your brand based on that; this way, you'll have a meaningful name.
Make a difference
It is always great to know your competition. Learn what they are doing well, and make it better. Learn what they are doing wrong, and make it right. Write down the top 5 brand names of your competitors, local and worldwide, and then figure out what they all have in common. Do that just to create something different from that list and make your brand as unique and different as you
Think of pizza restaurants; there are thousands of them, but they all have their loyal customers. This happens because each of them has something different to offer from the rest. It could be a secret ingredient, outstanding customer service, the best prices or a stellar location, but all of them have differential factors. Find yours.
Make it scalable
Your brand name should be flexible in terms of future changes in your company. For example, if your name is Paper & Co., it may be weird if, a few years later, you start selling clothes. Your brand should be able to grow with you and adapt to future services and products (if possible).
Your name should be easy to pronounce, write and spell. It is hard to have a successful company, so why make it difficult for your clients to remember you? A short name that is easy to pronounce and write in multiple languages is also a good idea.
Who are you selling to?
When looking for the perfect name for your brand, besides thinking of a name that you love, also think of a name your future customers would love and be even more likely to remember. Imagine the traits and characteristics of your perfect client as precisely as possible: age, gender, location, likes, dislikes, etc.
Start by creating a list of words associated with the previous tips. Write down lots of words, even if they don't sound good; you can find synonyms later. Sounds and expressions that are related and others that could seem unrelated may be the starting point of your final selection. For example, if you are selling doors, think of all the bell sounds or door knocks that could inspire you; even think of what your mother screams when your friends ring and escape out into the street.
Make combinations with those words to add more ideas to your list. Try to create a unique brand name with each word or combination of words. Finally, shorten the candidates until you have at least 10 you really like. Don't show them to just anyone; be selective about the chosen few who are going to judge your brand name. Keep in mind that you are going to find people who don’t like the name you settle on, but think positively and focus on those who are loving your brand-new brand name.
Avoid homonymy (it's a must!)
Homonymy means "two words with exact same spelling but different meanings." This is a great thing when you’re making clever puns, but not when you’re giving your brand a unique name. In other words, your brand name cannot exist already. You may have lots of legal troubles if you don't do your research.
The problem is that if you are planning to sell worldwide, you should register your brand in every country in which you are selling (and that is expensive as hell). Registering a trademark in a certain country only protects you there. If you are selling in more than one country, look for the Madrid International Trademark System, which could help you register your brand name in many countries at the same time. You don't want to be sued and you want to be unique, so don't be lazy; find the right places to look for registered brands.
Finally, you have the perfect name, the one everybody loves and the one everybody wants to be a part of. That new "child" you are thinking of every night before you go to sleep, the one you talk about in every social gathering, and the one you imagine all over the place on every screen in Time Square.
But wait—before all that, go and check if it is available as a ".com" domain. You may do that using the domain search at godaddy.com. If it is available, congratulations, you have won the lottery (wait for our friend request!) and should go and celebrate. But if you are human (we bet you are), chances are you'll find that someone has already purchased that domain, and worst of all, they are not using it or they are selling it for a very expensive price.
The solution: Try the domain with .co, and .net, and if you think it won't be a problem, use some extension like .ninja, .book, .guru, .global, etc. Anyway, try to make your domain as short and easy to write as possible. In any case, you could take advantage of what it looks like a disadvantage to the naked eye.