If you’ve been following along, you might remember how I botched naming my business more than once. Now I’ve got some hard-earned experience and I want to share with you how I come up with a brand name.
My preference is for names that are crafted with lots of research, learning, and personal experience. It’s not uncommon for the entrepreneurs I work with to use their names to eliminate confusion and increase referrals. Very often coaches, consultants, designers, and creatives are their product so it makes sense to use their name rather than add an artificial level of separation.
For those who want or need a little separation from their brand (such as those who want to grow their business beyond the size of 1), I’ve come to believe that the most successful brand names are those that have depth and meaning beyond the first look.
Take Target for instance. Your first impression might be that they want to be your target, your goal. On deeper exploration, you could see that Target also embodies their business model of being ON target with style and trends. It’s not a super deep name but it does have more than just the surface level “Joe’s Garage” which is pretty explicit.
Freedom and growth come from a name with Depth and Meaning
One of the great benefits of choosing a name with depth and meaning is that it allows you freedom to grow and evolve without finding yourself pigeonholed in a particular industry, product, or other narrow place. A brand name that has depth and meaning gives you flexibility and allows you to create a dynamic business that changes with the times.
If you’re too explicit in the name with what you do, you could find yourself trapped and having to let go of all the hard work and growth you’ve put in because you’re making a shift in your business. (Personal experience speaking here again as I went from Jennifer Grant Photo to VividSpark).
Choosing a name with intention sets you up for greater success
Your name is the very first impression someone has of your company and what you do. Having a name that expresses what you stand for using words that have a deeper meaning allows you to set the tone for your business right from the start.
Look at VividSpark for a moment. Seeing the name, you probably don’t expect a dark, dreary, boring website do you? I bet you would imagine something bright, bold, punchy and very clear, right? That’s totally intentional!
Uncovering the best name is a process
I start with words that I want (or the client wants) the business to represent as well as digging deeper and looking for things that embody those words. For example, connected/connection might turn up: chain, legos, community, power, reaction, constellation (and who knows what else!).
I also spend time looking at synonyms for the adjectives/verbs I want to embed in the brand. I’ll have 5-6 sheets of lists of words and then I start to pull out the ones that resonate with me and really fit the vision I have. From there, I start mixing + matching.
The best name is not only one that fits your business, breathes life into it, expresses your core, and resonates with your customers.
It’s also the name that’s unique to you and not just one of a 100 (Like hair salons named Curl up and Dye or Coffee shops with the word “bean” in them).
After that, I spend time taking my favorites and seeing if they’re already in use and if they’re not, whether they’re trademarked by searching USTPO (US Trademark and Patent Office) using TESS.
Once you’ve narrowed things down, make sure it’s available in your state/county and then put it through an evaluation one more time. Does it fit the market position you want to occupy? Does it represent what you want it to represent? Will it resonate with your target audience?
Your brand name is your first chance to cut through the clutter and GET NOTICED
I like to put names through one last filter:
If someone was referring someone else to my work, will they comfortably refer to my business name or will they avoid it for some reason and give my name instead?
And here’s a list of name types that might help you focus in on a basic direction when it comes to a type of name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_naming (Yes, it’s wikipedia but it’s useful!)
Oh, if you missed it, I wrote a post about my naming journey here:
Have fun naming!