What’s in a Name? For Businesses, a Lot
One of the most important decisions facing your new business, or an existing business considering change, is choosing a name. Here at CS Creative, we tell clients it’s a company’s first impression on the world – its audience, customers, potential customers and employees. The name itself can add to a company’s success or failure. Selecting a name is not something you should undertake lightly, and there are several factors you need to consider.
Tip #1 – Decide Whether to Seek Professional Help
The initial decision should be whether your company will choose a name itself or seek assistance from a professional marketing firm, like CS Creative, which has expertise in branding. While a company’s executives may have a strong understanding of their firm, an outside agency can apply proven marketing principles to identify a company’s brand position. At CS Creative, we have developed a process to help determine exactly what a company does, what makes it unique and who its audiences are.
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Tip #2 – Know What Makes Your Company Unique
Whether you undertake the naming process yourself or work with an agency, one of the first tasks must be to identify what makes the company, its products or services unique. This may seem easy, but we urge our clients to look beyond what they “think” and to reach out to its various audiences for answers. Our experience is that such feedback is invaluable in determining your brand and name. You need to know what distinguishes you from your competitors. This is a crucial element of any marketing strategy, including advertising, public relations and graphic design.
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Tip #3 – Understand Your Audiences
Next, it is imperative to determine the company’s target audiences. We help our clients understand that the message to an audience of 18-24 year olds will not be the same as to 50-65 year olds. We make sure our clients have identified their target audiences so they avoid expending unnecessary effort and funds to deliver its messages to the wrong people.
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Tip #4 – Understand Your Brand Personality
If you have worked with CS Creative or another agency to create a brand position then questions of uniqueness and target audience have already been answered. Next it’s time for you to determine the company’s brand personality. We explain to clients this is not about what your company’s product or service does, it is how it makes its audience feel. A brand is a company’s promise. As part of the branding process, a company must talk to executives, employees, customers and leaders in its field to understand what they currently feel about the company and its competition. Then work to determine what you would like them to feel about your brand.
Tip #5 – Brainstorm Names
Now it’s time to begin brainstorming name ideas. Such a crucial decision as naming a company should include input from as many people as possible. Identify as many keywords as possible that are relevant to your business, then do word association from there and grow the list. Again, a creative firm like CS Creative has processes for that exercise that can yield ideas most business owners would never think of on their own. The new name should convey the brand’s personality.
Tip #6 – Consider How the Name Looks and Sounds
Once you have narrowed the list of names, other factors to consider include the name’s visual impact, how it will translate to an icon or logo. Some experts suggest the best names have five to 10 letters with two repeating letters, such as Apple, Kellogg’s, Ruffles and Exxon. Next, say the new name out loud to hear how it sounds and make certain it’s easy to pronounce. Beware of names with initials or gimmicky spellings. Also, steer clear of generic names. You don’t want a name that can be confused easily with other companies’ names and difficult to locate on search engines.
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Tip #7 – Consider the Type of Name
Another serious consideration is deciding whether a company’s new moniker will be a literal/descriptive name or a conceptual name. Descriptive names, such as General Electric, may make a company easy to find in searches, but could be limiting to future growth. Conceptual names, such as Google, are memorable, but may require more marketing to explain to audiences. Either way, we urge clients to choose a name that conveys a meaning with a feel-good benefit.
Tip #8 – Consider How the Name Works Globally
In today’s globalized marketplace, it’s important to consider the cultural implications of your company’s name. Think about how it will be viewed and sound in other cultures and societies. For example, the tissue brand Puffs means “brothel” in German slang, Bing sounds like “disease” in Chinese and Siri sounds like “butt” in Japanese. A company does not want to have different names in various cultures.
Tip #9 – Make Sure it Works in URLs and Social Media
Once you consider these factors, determine if trademarks and domain names are available. See how the domain name will read in a URL. Make sure it can be used consistently across all social media platforms and check it out on Google Ads.
Then, before making the final decision, give the new name a trial run among all stakeholders in the company – your board members, executives, employees, current and potential customers, et al. Then, after all the input, it’s time for you to decide. It’s impossible for everyone to choose. Some people will love the name, but others will hate any new name chosen. However, we tell clients to remember it’s just human nature and the nature of business that you can’t please everybody all the time. In the final analysis you can only try to be true to your brand and vision.
CS Creative is an award-winning branding firm that takes strategic, creative communications for business-to-business brands to a higher level. We discover unexpected solutions to make sure our clients’ brands stand out in a sea of sameness. Contact us at 214-905-8008 or cs-creative.com