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How To Create A Strategic Brand Name

March 26, 2020.
Name stickers illustrating the importance of brand names

Over the past year, it has been clear that a number of businesses, large and small, have been adversely impacted by the global health crisis. We can expect to see new businesses emerging with a renewed vigour and vim. With a million questions to ask themselves as they make the decision to start up, one small decision which could have a big impact on future success is what to call the new entity. On one hand, it’s an emotive matter; on the other, this can be a valuable tool if used properly.

A brand name should be exciting, thought-provoking and capable of delivering the right impressions. In this article, we will be looking through the ways in which you can go about curating a strategic brand name that represents you and hones in on your purpose.

Who are you appealing to?

Before you even consider ideas for your new brand name, you should be looking at the 'who'. Identifying your key personas as well as your competitors can be useful in refining your brand name and providing useful insight into what makes you distinctive and appealing. Examining your consumers' behaviour can help you streamline what brand names will resonate with them most. Likewise, for competitors, take note of common trends you notice to help steer the direction your name should take. There is no sense in creating a name that is unimaginative or blends you in with the competitor crowd. For example, if you notice a trend of competitors using their founders' name as their brand name, try to think outside of the box and steer towards evocative or invented names.

We've also created some tips to create an effective brand name.

White chalk question mark on blackboard

define your objectives

It is tempting to go crazy with mind mapping and creating innovative and exciting brand name ideas. But to get to this point from a strategic point of view, you should take a few steps back to the basics. Your brand name needs to be aligned with your business goals. Consider what exactly it is that you want to achieve from the new name, are you simply seeking a refresh or do you have a bigger vision? Particularly for start-ups, you are likely to want to create labels and titles to describe your product or service offerings. Do you want the product names to overlap with your brand name? Keeping these elements in mind from the beginning can help you take a strategic and targeted approach when developing your brand.

Answering the why

Along the same lines as defining your objectives, it is important for you to understand your vision, what your goal is, and why consumers should buy from you. Your brand name should be representative of your company and what it stands for. When informing your strategy, you may find it beneficial to deep dive into your brand values and your mission. This is not only good for developing a reflective brand name, but for proving to your audience that you are reliable, trustworthy and follow through on your brand promises.

Clear lightbulb on blackboard with chalk

What Should I Avoid When Naming a Company?

‘It’s Like Naming a Child’

Naming a child is usually one of the most joyous decisions that new parents get to make. Whether after a relative, or a close friend, or simply because you like the name, the decision is about what will make you and the child feel happy and comfortable.

It is not about whether the name will make you financially viable, or whether it will cause you to be sued. If you think naming a child and naming your new business and/or your brand are the same thing, perhaps you should think again about starting up…

‘I Trust My Instincts’

As with believing that naming a company is like naming a child, it is not good practice to just decide that you like a name and go with it. The name you need to drive your business forward to survive its infancy and to go on to thrive needs to be researched, tested and proven as a strategic tool.

Man writing on post-it notes on the wall

‘We Don’t Need Any Help Choosing a Name’

If you’re planning to run a real micro business, such as dog walking or gardening, then your name can be personal, catchy and fun with little chance of any reprisals. But whilst you may be able to create a name which you consider to be distinctive, compelling and enduring, is it acceptable to intellectual property experts and lawyers around the world? If you are not sure, beware of the risks.

‘We Can’t Afford to Pay to Test Our Name’

This comment no doubt reflects a real situation in which a prospective business owner is either significantly under-funded, or believes that there are more important things on which to spend their seed capital. As with the importance of getting branding and propositions right, if you are set up with an existing customer base in the kind of commoditised sectors where cost is more important than value, then your name is much less relevant.

But in most markets, your company and/or brand name, and all of its connotations, has to provide the most comprehensive message possible, and help to give you a competitive advantage.

Consider Search Engine Friendliness

As we have advised in the past, in many sectors the importance of becoming listed on page one of Google cannot be understated, nor can the impact of failing to do so. Your business’ name can make a massive difference in how quickly and easily you rank on SERPs.

If your business name is friendly to your target keywords, it can make a huge difference. The Internet is awash with advice on SEO. But for the sake of this piece, the advice is to make sure that your name gives you a head start in order to generate leads.

The addition of taglines or straplines

Whilst all of these components are important to be mindful of to both give your brand name the best start and longest life, none exist in isolation.

Part of the reason that names are so important is that they are pretty much the first thing you see of any company or product. This is whether visiting their premises, buying their product online or in-store or looking at a list of prospective B2B suppliers.

At all these touch points and many more, the name is the focal point. However, more often than not, the name is surrounded by other material; whether visual imagery, written content, filmed material or whatever it may be. Very often, the message nearest the name of the company, often expressed as a logo, is the tagline or strapline.

These four or five words should provide a pithy, irreducible description of what the company or brand is or delivers. The company name and tagline need to work together in perfect, synchronised harmony with the whole being bigger and better than the sum of the parts.

Brand Tagline for Web Services

However, in conclusion, this does not detract from the importance of the name. As a new or refreshed business with a clean sheet of paper in front of you to begin to plan your marketing, it’s the name that matters most in marketing terms. That’s the one thing that has to work, to resonate, to engage, to entice all by itself when it is all that can be seen or heard. It also sets the foundation for all that follows.

If you need help with this momentous step into your future, get in contact with us on 01787 388038 or pop us a message on our contact form and one of our specialists will get back to you shortly.

Paul Mackman

Paul Mackman

Managing Director

Paul is a co-founder and the Managing Director of the Mackman Group. He is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is also a member of the CIM, Eastern Region Board and current Vice-Chair. He has broad commercial and marketing experience across sectors, including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, construction, education and professional services.

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