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    How to Come Up With a Brand Name

    Brainstorming ideas for a new brand name

    Whenever we refer to a brand name definition, we’re essentially talking about the name and attributes associated with a brand that help to identify one seller’s goods or services over another's.

    From Amazon and Apple to Disney and Nike. There are plenty of examples of global brands who have built up a large and loyal customer base thanks to a deep affinity of their branding, the strong brand traits associated with the name and the emotion it evokes in their customers. All of which combine to help put them ahead of their competitors.

    But what can you do if you’re thinking about creating a brand name to support the launch of a new company, or a business re-branding, that is distinctive, memorable and helps set you apart from others?

    We offer some initial thoughts below.

    What makes a good brand name?

    When you think about some of your favourite brands, an instant thought or image is likely to flash up in your mind highlighting what it is that you most love about them. And while there’s no magic formula about how to create a brand name that’s perfect, there are typically a number of common traits that help to make up that branding and contribute towards consumers experiencing such vivid recall.

    • It’s accessible: essentially, it’s easy for people to pronounce, spell and interpret.
    • It’s distinctive: it’s unique, memorable and stands out from your competitors.
    • It’s meaningful: it communicates the essence of your brand, while cultivating a positive emotional image and connection in your customers’ minds.
    • It’s visual: it can easily translate and be communicated through design elements such as icons and logos.
    • It's future-proof: It can grow with the company, maintain relevance and be adapted for different products and brand extensions.

    How to pick a great brand name

    While it’s one thing to know what attributes can combine to create a strong brand name, it’s quite another when it comes to coming up with a brand name for your company. Many people find this a daunting process to go through.

    Here’s four steps to help you choose a brand name for your company.

    1) Consider/create your persona(s):

    Whether you already have buyer personas or are yet to create them, having branding that will ultimately appeal to them and reflect their attributes and goals is essential if you’re to gain long-term success.

    So, what do we mean by buyer persona?

    A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who best represents your target audience. This is not a real individual, but a fictional person who embodies the characteristics of your ideal customer.

    It’s possible to build up a picture of the key buyer personas for your organisation, by reviewing the data that you’ve previously collected and stored about existing customers in your customer database, conducting analysis of the web analytics for your corporate website (using a program such as Google Analytics), and reviewing social media analytics including sentiment analysis. This data could include anything from their age, location and spending power to their stage of life and interests.

    In addition, you could pick up a lot of information about your customers’ pain points and goals by talking directly to your customer service and sales teams. You could also check what your competitors have done in the area of customer research and tools they may have been using that could benefit you.

    While this should be enough for you to start creating a set of buyer personas, before you start rushing to create your brand name, it would be prudent to run a market research survey past your existing customer base first. Ideally you would be looking for their responses to closely mirror the traits you’ve outlined in your buyer personas and if not, you will need to amend your persona strategy.

    Once you’ve finalised your buyer personas, you’re ready to begin thinking about choosing a brand name that will appeal to this audience and echo their attributes and aspirations.

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    2) How to generate brand name ideas:

    As we’ve already touched on earlier when we discussed some of the more common traits that help to make up a good brand name, it can be challenging to think about how to choose a brand name. However, there are a number of things you can do to simplify this process and come up with some ideas.

    Here’s a few pointers to get you started:

    i. Begin by creating a list of words that relate to your overarching brand identity. From these words consider the connotations and implications of each. Do they fit your purpose, or are there better words, synonyms, antonyms that might work better?

    ii. Once you’ve created an extensive list of words, cross off the ones with potentially negative connotations, or those that are unfamiliar or hard to pronounce.

    iii. At this point take your favourite words and maybe enlist some other colleagues to help you with brainstorming brand names, until you come with a definitive list of ideas.

    iv. Next screen this list with your brand objectives in mind, removing those that don’t fit with this. You will also need to think about how these brand ideas could be visualised too.

    v. With the names that are left, check what other people think about them.

    vi. Get to a point where you have at least half a dozen strong names, as you will need to check whether you’re legally allowed to use them, as some you will be and some you won’t. We offer more advice on this below.

    3) Check availability:

    Checking to see whether the company name you want to use is available right at the start, can save you a lot of potential stress, heartache and cash down the line. Not only are there legal implications for using a name already registered by someone else, but if you have a similar name to someone else it could be extremely detrimental to your business.

    Fortunately, there are a couple of actions you can take to help avoid this pitfall.

    i. Check for the trademark: trademark infringement can carry a high cost for your business. If you choose a name and start trading under it before checking if the trademark is taken and you infringe on someone else’s trademark you are liable to pay damages. They can sue you and force you to stop trading with that name.

    This could also be very costly and if you had built up any form of brand recognition already, as it could mean you having to build up your brand and business again from scratch.

    However, it’s quick and simple to check for trademark availability through search tools that are available from sites such as the one for Companies House.

    ii. Check for the same or similar domains: you could start by running a few simple searches on Google, not just exact matches, but by exploring similar words and phrases too. While you want to ensure no one else has your exact company domain name, you would also want to ensure no one had a similar name that would either be in direct competition with you, or be part of a business that would reflect badly on yours.

    Once you have done all these checks and have chosen a brand name, you’ll want an effective way of checking whether the domain name for it is available. There are many domain name generator tools available, but a good place to start is winningwp.com that outlines the top 10 tools currently available.

    4) Test your brand name:

    One final thing you need to do is to get some wider feedback from other people, as there’s little point in registering a brand name until you know which one is likely to draw the greatest appeal from your audience. By testing a brand name or a range of options with a sample of your target audience, you’ll be much better informed about which names your customers prefer and are likely to the most successful. Running a brand name survey is a great way to achieve this.

    Many companies will run this survey past a sample of their customers, but for those businesses who are new to their market, or have only recently launched, this is unlikely to be a feasible choice. In this situation having the option to buy your responses through a consumer panels service, which can quickly provide you with the sample you need, can be extremely effective.

    With our own consumers panels service we’ve able to provide instant access to more than 20 million respondents globally. So, whatever you’re looking to survey and whatever demographic you want to target, we can get you the responses you need within your required timeframe.

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    About Author

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    Phil Cleave

    Phil is part of the Content team at SmartSurvey and has over 20 years experience in the PR and Comms sector writing for Tech Companies.

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