What if your name harms your business?
Most of the times, name is the very first element of your brand that your customer interacts with. Way before logo, colors or typography come to mind, name plays a key role in creating the first impression you want. Therefore, it should not only convey what it is that you do, but also establish an image of who you are and plant a seed in customers’ minds that you are good enough to at least be considered.
This may or may not take you by surprise but I have to do it: you can create a name in different ways than:
- taking a random word (even worse, your competitor’s name) + adding “ex” at the end
- picking your grandma’s initials + adding a generic noun/verb
- trying to outsmart google or yellow pages by putting “123” in front of the generic word
Tips to get you started
First, make it easy for us.
People like to meet new people and brands but have a hard time remembering them all. Your name should be memorable & easy to pronounce so people really enjoy saying it. Length is also important here– don’t complicate it with 25-letter words, or even sentences. Vast majority of successful companies use just one word (think Nike, Apple, Cisco, Adobe, Starbucks). Make a list of 15 companies you remember, like or use every day and make and calculate average number of letters. It should be somewhere between 5 – 10 letters.
Focus on associating with experiences
Start with figuring out how you want us to feel when we hear or say your name? Do you want us to feel inspired, revealed, scared, pleased, thoughtful, weak, strong etc.? Think of the basic values you want your organization to have, what do you stand for and where do you fit in our world. Write down at least five key associations that come to your mind connected with your company and find words that best evoke those associations.
Once you have clearly defined the associations, feel free to go out and just experiment. Perform activities that you don’t do regularly and have your eyes wide open. Visit a bookstore and find a book that is not related to your area. Look at different languages. How does your ideas sound in Spanish, French or German? You can also invent new words (think Google) or play with existing ones – joining them together or substitute letters creatively.
Enjoy the journey
Don’t get stuck if you’re not able to get it right in the first couple of hours. While some names are relatively easy to create, others might take weeks to come up with. Often, it’s a question of how clearly you are able to define and describe your brand personality & values. And please, avoid to the “dot com syndrome” – most of the common words are long years gone, but you will worry about this issue later.