What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually – especially if you’re attempting to come up with a name for your new business.
But coming up with potential brand names that are both memorable but also tell people what it is you actually do can be mind-achingly frustrating – even for the creatives among you.
How to Choose a Brand Name
So, where do you start?
You have to understand what you do and who you are
This sounds obvious, of course.
Yet so many new businesses find themselves changing tack early on, perhaps because their product or service isn’t as successful as they’d first hoped, or because they revise the target audience they’re marketing to.
Either way, a major change in your product, service offering, or target audience can sometimes render your brand name meaningless.
So, when thinking of potential brand names, you need to consider:
• What your product or service proposition will be
• Your target audience and their personas.
• What your business really stands for and your back story, where have you come from?
Your brand identity
Your company name is important, but it only forms a portion of your overall brand identity.
A brand identity might sound a little pointless for a local carpentry firm, and more important for an international design agency like Harrison.
But what you stand for and your values as a business count for more now than they ever have before – regardless of size, location, product or service.
The Importance of Branding
Your brand identity is your personality. It’s your public-facing persona.
And it encompasses everything from what you say and how you say, to the promises you make to your customers.
But it starts with your brand name, so think about how you want to be seen and heard before you start brainstorming.
How we do it – The Harrison Naming Facets Model
We work to a list if eight ‘naming facets’ when working with clients to create new brand names:
• Brand fit
• Be Unique
• The Right Fit
We then use those facets to ‘score’ the brand names that we shortlist.
Time for that brainstorm
The best way to even start to come up with a great name for your business is to brainstorm a list of words that are both associated with what you do and who you are, but also resonate with your potential customers.
Jotting down as many words as you can think of is a great starting point when naming a business or brand.
Remember: Google is your friend here, so if you’re struggling to come up a list of keywords, try a google search for ‘terminology’ or ‘glossary’ of your chosen product or expertise.
How we do it
We took that brainstorming process to the next level when tasked by Greene King to help them come up with a name and brand identity for a new craft ale.
In a busy marketplace like craft ales, it was important for Greene King that their new product had a brand name that:
• Was distinctive and memorable
• Set them apart from their competitors
• Evoked positive associations that resonated with their customers
• Created a strong personality that sparked curiosity
• Inspired and motivated their employees
We created ‘Lucky Luke’, the new craft ale’s ideal customer and devised a long list of words associated with Luke’s perception of himself, including:
We then drew up a long list of words Luke uses in his vocabulary, which included:
Following that, our team created a long list of locations Luke has a connection with, including:
• Devil’s Thumb
Words associated with Luke’s humour and character, meanwhile, included:
And thinking about his attitude sparked words like:
Using our eight naming facets, we then came up with this ranked shortlist of six possible names for Greene King’s new ale, scoring them on each facet: Mighty Moose was chosen.
1. Mighty Moose IPA
2. Stampede IPA
3. Curious 8 IPA
4. Dashfire IPA
5. Bareboot IPA
6. Spotter IPA
Your ‘name’ as a business name
Where do you think the name Harrison comes from?
That’s right – from our founder, Philip Harrison.
Often brand names which are short, sweet, to the point and, dare we say it, obvious – stare you in the face for hours, days or even weeks or months, before the lightbulb illuminates. However, in our case, a name still communicates something and the name works because of Philip’s reputation, passion and how he has shaped our values including; personal/friendly service – so even a name like this needs to be assessed to check it resonates/communicates.
How to Check a Company Name
So, you’ve got a list of some amazing potential names for your new business.
Now you need to see if any of them have been taken by some other clever so and so.
Do a Google search
Jump on Google and start searching up your potential business names, crossing out any that exist already in the UK.
Remember: Even if your business name is taken by a company from overseas, that could impact on your ability to be found in search results.
Do a Companies House check
If you’re planning to incorporate your business as a limited company, log on to Companies House and make sure a business of the same name hasn’t already been registered.
Get feedback from people you trust
As much as you are really feeling your proposed new brand name, getting feedback from people you trust and respect can sometimes throw in a few curveballs – which can be both good and bad.
A fresh pair of eyes on your business name can sometimes throw up negative connotations you may not have considered, or it can be positive confirmation that you’re very much on the right lines.
Find a domain name
All new businesses need a website, so hop on to a domain name provider like Go Daddy or 123Reg and search up options for a domain name that includes the name of your business.
Start planning your brand strategy
As we said earlier, the name of your business is only a small part of your brand.
To really get your business moving and into the eyes and ears of your customers, you need to have a solid brand strategy.
This strategy clearly defines who and what you are, what your business stands for and your values.
A brilliant brand strategy and clear values, as well as an amazing product and / or superb customer service, will help you build loyalty and trust with the people who buy from you – meaning they come back time and time again.
Now it’s time for growth…
At Harrison, we’re experts on building and showcasing brands through identity, strategy and storytelling.
Check out some of the projects we’ve worked on and get in touch to find out more.