5 Tips for Picking a Great Brand Name

how to name a business

Trying to decide on the right brand name can feel like banging your head against a wall. Many business owners end up paralyzed with indecision, fearing they’ll regret the decision later.

Picking a brand name doesn’t have to be that hard. There’s even a good argument to be made that your brand name isn’t all that important.

Sure, your name matters, but think of some of the biggest brand names in the world right now: Google, Facebook, Verizon…before these companies established their brands, their names didn’t mean anything. They’re just catchy, made-up words. Since the companies offer quality products and services, we now have positive associations with those words.

Point being? Don’t overthink it…coming up with an excellent brand name is easier than you think. Here’s our five tips to get you started.

1. Conduct a Productive Brand Names Brainstorming Session

As professionals in the advertising industry, we do more than our fair share of brainstorming and ideation. We’re flattered when people think we’re constantly bubbling over with creative ideas, but the truth is that most of your best thinking comes from productive brainstorming sessions.

So how do you effectively brainstorm for brand name ideas? Encourage everyone to come up with as many ideas as they can. The best brainstorming occurs when you encourage people to think freely and wildly. Jot down every name you can, no matter how silly or strange it may sound at first.

You can make a short list later on, but everyone thinks best when you’re getting it all on the table. Try to turn off the part of your brain that analyzes or judges names, and engage the part that thinks freely about new ideas. Create, don’t evaluate.

2. Pick a Brand Name That’s Unique

Once you’ve got a big, long list of names to look over, you can start narrowing down your options. One of the biggest questions to ask yourself is, does this really make me stand out from the competition?

Above all else, your name should make it easy for customers to remember your business. If they have trouble remembering your name, they’ll struggle to find you online. Worse yet, they may forget about you entirely. Please steer clear of using important sounding generic names like “Hyper-Global Meganet” that are fairly innocuous and don’t define who you are. In today’s hectic, overcrowded marketplace, you need a unique brand name to cut through the noise and gain your customers’ attention. Pick one that’s memorable.

3. Rule-Out Names That Are Long or Hard to Pronounce

This may seem obvious, but a lot of companies have walked into these pitfalls. Try writing it down in lots of different fonts. How does it look on branding collateral? Long, complicated names can be hard to fit on flyers and brochures. Likewise, a lengthy handle could be tricky to work with in terms of graphic design. We recommend something short and sweet.

Don’t forget to say it out loud, either. It might sound different in your head than it does in conversation. Run it by the telephone test – will someone understand what you’re saying when you use the name on a voicemail? Ditch any name that people struggle with pronouncing, as this risks frustrating and confusing people.

4. Is a Domain Available?

Now that you’ve whittled down your list to a few top contenders, check which ones have available domains. It is absolutely essential that your website’s domain name matches your brand name. Consistency here is critical for reinforcing your brand and building credibility with your audience.

If your brand name isn’t available, you can try to find a domain name with a very similar name. However, be very careful to keep the two closely related. A domain name that’s too different could make visitors worry that the site is an illegitimate copy-cat. Even more important, if your domain name doesn’t match your brand name, people will have trouble finding you on search engines.

If you can’t find a domain name that matches, look into other brand names.

5. Is the Brand Name Legally Available or Copyrighted?

The last hurdle – making sure you can legally use your brand name. Go online, to your local courthouse, or to an attorney to find out if you can use it on a state or national level.

If you like the name, copyright it as soon as possible. It’s a very simple process and you never know when someone else will have the same great idea. Many companies sleep on this and then find out while branding that their name has been stolen. Don’t let indecision get the best of you, copyright it while you can.

You can’t make a name for yourself until you pick one you’re happy with. If you want to chat more about branding or bounce some brand names off us, give us a call today!

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