The name of your company can decide it's future, if it's a shop it can mean people will walk past or walk in, if your an online business it can instill trust or fear into a user - whatever your brand name it is the most important of any business and choosing the perfect brand name isn't and easy task!
Choosing a Great Brand Name
Whether you are a new business choosing a brand name for the first time, or you are a business embarking on a brand realignment, you need to think carefully about what a brand name is and what difference it can make to the fortunes of your business. Choosing a brand name can be the most nerve racking part of any branding process, its a name that can make or break a company, it can decide if someone will walk through a shop door or walk past and more than this it's name that unless your a super huge company you are going to be stuck with for some years to come. So choosing the right brand name is vital!
Finding a name to suit your business, a task that even us marketers can struggle with. There are a few major routes we start with and then diverge from as ideas are formed. But basically they fall into one of a few categories, and those are:
Abbreviation Names These are brand names which are made of using the first letter of each word in a longer name, as is obviously suggested. It's useful for companies with big long names or international companies who's names maybe unpronounceable in other countries. Can you think of any brand names which are acronyms? What about...
IKEA - Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd
UPS - United Parcel Service
AMD - Advance Micro Devices
AOL - America OnLine
And lest we forget that the abbreviations often sound much nicer, are more memorable and erm sexier even?
Descriptive Brand Names These are bran names which are created as a description of what a company does, generally a useful way to advertise a company via it's name. They are so common that they are easy to overlook, think of the literature that comes through your door for take-aways ... last week we had "Spice hut", "Indian cuisine" & "No 1. Wok" - all descriptive in their own way and you can probably guess the type of food they do even when drunk (which for the most part is the idea with these leaflets!). Thinking about better well known brand names there is "Pizza Hut", "FootLocker" & FarmFoods". Combined or Conjunctive Brand Names
The last two brand names above (footlocker and farmfoods) are perfect examples of combined names. These are brand names which as you may have already guessed are two words placed as one, usually the two words will have separate meanings, giving you brand name a dual aspect - which can be quite nice, think farmfoods (farm = fresh, food = what you want). Other examples of combined brand names are Microsoft, Coca-Cola and FedEx.
Object (Non Associated) Brand Names When you think of a brand name, its probably going to fall into one of the above categories, very few will fall into the Non Associated group, and that's because they can be fairly hard to market. On the other hand they can be used to make your brand stand out from the crowd and more memorable. Some great examples in this category are: Apple (computers or fruit) , Orange (mobiles or fruit) and Fuji (camera company or mountain?).
Founders Name Brand Names Some of these can be very very popular, many will fit into other categories above. You will probably know a good number of these without needing to think too hard, although if you've never thought about the names (as is their desire) then you may not realise that the company is named after a person. As an independent graphic designer and website designer, I know all too well the hassles of "getting your name out", so for a bigger company this will be a huge undertaking and unless starting as a single person it may not be worth he effort. Some great examples of this kind of brand name are "Andy Kinsey Designs" (end plug), Adidas, Disney and Ernst & Young.
and Finally.... Out of the Box Brand Names
Now this may conjure up some idea you have of a name being "off the shelf" like a piece of software or something... one size fits all. But these are pretty much the opposite, these are names which you'd probably never think of as being business names, many are made up and most (if you read books about brand names) are apparently though of in a dream. However you come up with an out the box name, you should think of you business being in a biscuit tin, each step you take in preparing your business takes it up a ladder in the tin ... to get out of the tin you need a really awesome name ... but there are so many names out there - so why not make one up... think outside of your little tin world and jump out of the box. You never know you may end up a big success like: Google, Yahoo! or Bing.
Do you / have you used any of the above techniques in creating your memorable brand name? or did you have a different method of choosing your perfect brand name? either way let us know how you did it, and what your brand name is below!