Not sure what Shakespeare was on about when he made Juliet say, ‘What’s in a name?’ True, it’s just a label through which we distinguish each other – but when it comes to fundamental constructs such as self-image, identity, and distinction – there’s nothing more powerful than a name. Taking this identity into business, you elevate it even further – your business name becomes your collateral.
But you already know that, don’t you? That’s why you are here – to look for ways to choose the best business name to make your brand identity stronger. Well, you’ve arrived at the right location, so sit back and relax. We are going to demystify the whole process for you.
What is a Brand Identity?
To make sure that you choose the best name for your brand identity, you first need to have a strong grasp of what your brand’s identity is. Marty Neumeier, the branding guru, explains ‘brand identity’ as: “the outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications, and visual appearance”.
In simplest terms, your brand identity is a sum of how your brand looks, feels, and speaks to people. This identity is your brand’s unique character, it's a way to carry itself.
Let’s now discuss the step-by-step process of choosing a business name that represents this unique character of your brand perfectly.
1. Create a brand archetype and logo design
When you think about any brand, certain adjectives, and descriptive phrases come into your mind. Nike is vigorous, challenging, and fearless. Coca Cola is fun, cheerful, and sporty. Hallmark is sentimental and way too into romance. Dove is soft and feminine. These are the brand archetypes.
The concept of archetypes was first presented by the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, and refers to universal and archaic patterns of ‘being’ and ‘existing’ that are derived from the collective Unconscious. Put simply, an archetype is a broad pattern of personality and thinking that represents who you are as an individual.
Applying this thinking to your brand, you need to carve out a clear and distinct archetype for your brand identity. Is your brand the hero, the trickster or the wise-old-man? What adjectives and phrases will you use to describe your brand to others?
It is absolutely essential to get those adjectives and descriptions down right. Not only they’ll help you figure out your brand’s inner identity, but the process will also enable you to visualize your brand too. What will be its color palette? How it’ll look? What’s its style?
Visual Brand Identity
These questions have critical importance in designing a brand identity for advertising business – namely its logo design, typography, slogan, and most of all: the business name. Yes, the business name is part of a business’ visual identity, most specifically in cases where you decide to use wordmark or lettermark logos for your brand. For example, if you own an advertising agency business, then using a brand name like “IndieCor” or “Sam’s Place” won’t do because these doesn’t really communicate your identity. Instead, something like “Snap Ad Concepts” or “Fueling Ideas” speak of your expertise which you can translate through your logo concepts.
2. Create a customer persona
You have your brand’s archetype/persona, now you need to create your customer’s persona too. Who is your ideal customer? What age-range they’re in? What’s their income range? What issues do they feel strongly about? How do you propose your product/service will make their lives easier?
Knowing about your target market will tell you a great deal of what kind of business name they will resonate with the most. Do you need a name with professional connotations, something wiser, more exclusive? Or perhaps you cater to a target market that’ll consider such a name pretentious. In that case, you need a more relaxed, off-beat, and fun name that your unique audience will connect with.
To find more about who your target consumer is, invest in some good research. If you can’t, look at who your competitors are catering to. That should tell you about your target market. Online tools like Alexa can also be of great help.
3. Brainstorm and choose a meaningful name with a connection
Nothing is as anti-climactic as a brand identity that has no story behind it. Half the fun of discovering a new brand is learning about their origin story. Why did they start? Why did they pick this particular name and not another? How does it connect with what they do?
Imagine your potential customers asking each other (or perhaps you) these questions when you launch your brand identity. To make sure you have an interesting story to tell, hold a brainstorming session with your team right now and come up with names that mean something to you – the brand.
From Lego to Toyota and from Yahoo! to Pepsi, all the major brands have interesting and fun stories behind their brand names. These meanings and connections behind the names are how customers choose to relate and bond with the brands too.
4. Make sure it’s simple and easy-to-remember
The number 1 factor to keep in mind when thinking about potential business names for your brand is to ‘keep it simple’. Choose names that are not only easy to say but quick to say too. According to the Working Memory model by psychologists Baddeley and Hitch, we tend to remember stuff that takes a shorter time to say and that itself is shorter in length.
Therefore, it makes the case in choosing brand names that are easier to spell, aren’t long, and quick to say. Preferable names that are not longer than three or four syllables. Plus the brand name’s spoken length and spelt length should match too to create a name that will be the most convenient to recall.
5. Does it have room to become popular?
Of course, you want your brand to become popular, but what can you do to make reasonably certain that it does? Well, first you choose an awesome name. But before you finalize it, think about whether it has room to grow and evolve.
A great business name is something that evolves as the brand evolves. It should be comprehensive enough and flexible enough to modify itself to your changing needs. Think of Amazon – the name inspires feelings of vastness and expanse, and that’s exactly what the brand is.
So to make sure that it becomes popular and has enough room in it to hold all that popularity, think big and think about the future.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, what you name your business comes down to a simple answer of what your business represents. Think long and hard about it and select few names that best embody that feeling. To make it really stick, keep it short, punchy, and fun – and with an interesting story to share. But invest in it a huge amount of grit and hard work too. Because no amount of fun stories will prevent your business from failing if it isn’t backed by serious effort.
So good luck with choosing and remember to have fun.