Here are four key questions to cover.
Editor’s note: This is part one of a two part piece.
Every company needs names for their business, for their products, for their services, for their procedures, and even for their mascots (if they have them)! Your brand name is the first step in building a strong, memorable brand, and it is worth consideration and effort.
After all, a great brand name – or a group of brand names – may be your company’s most valuable assets, and definitely worth the investment.
I recently watched The Founder, which narrates the story of the early days of McDonald’s, showing when Ray Kroc, a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger restaurant in 1950s California. Kroc was amazed by their speedy system for preparing the food and recognized major franchise potential. Kroc soon managed to pull the company from the brothers, creating a multi-billion dollar empire. When he was asked why he didn’t just copy the system, Kroc explained the name “McDonald’s” was the reason; he found it compelling.
The right name can be powerful, conveying a concept, driving differentiation, fostering recognition, and communicating valuable brand attributes to consumers. Customers need to be able to identify it, remember it, and compare it to others.
But creating the right brand name can be a difficult challenge.
Here are four key questions to cover:
- How do you get a name that works?
- How do you make it catchy and memorable?
- How can you make it convey the company’s values?
- How do you make sure it is original?
Finding a great brand name can be overwhelming. Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby Parker, said it took them six months and more than 2,000 options to find their perfect name. Undoubtedly, finding the right brand name takes hard work and deep thinking.
So What Makes a Great Brand Name?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a great brand name, there are some characteristics to keep in mind to make it straightforward (for you to use) and simple (for others to remember).
Below are 10 attributes for a great trademark name.
A great trademark name should be:
- Meaningful: Communicating your brand’s meaning; portraying its image and essence.
- Original: Unique and distinctive should be words that characterize your brand name. It must be all of these things to stand out from competitors.
- Positive: Must cultivate a positive emotional connection.
- Protectable: Can be officially registered and defended in court before an opposition.
- Pronounceable: Especially for those who speak other languages.
- Accessible: People can easily understand it, say it, spell it, or even Google it.
- Memorable: Can be remembered easily, without confusion with another similar brand name.
- Visual: Ease in communication through design, such as icons, logos, colors, etc.
- Enduring: Can grow with the company, keep its relevance and favorability over time, and ideally be adapted for different products and brand extensions.
Above all, a powerful trademark name should be SIMPLE!
Once the name is chosen, it is important to verify that it can be registered as a:
- Legal Entity (Inc., LLC, Corp.)
- Brand (in the corresponding categories)
- URL (as a .com domain)
- URL as local domain (.com.ar /.com.br / or as needed)
Additionally, it is important that the brand name is available on the main social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Although you might never need them or have an interest in using them, you should always block their use to defend the brand and avoid any future conflicts.
All this is useful criteria to help you eliminate possible names, but there is just one big question to determine whether the chosen name is successful. What matters most is: does it resonate well with people?
There are online services available to make it easier for you, such as Onym, Panabee, and Network Solutions, which suggest names and domains. These tools can be us for brainstorming, but it’s essential to examine and test a brand name personally.
Look out for Part 2 to find out the 3 main steps in creating a personalized brand name!