5 Secrets to Choosing the Perfect Brand Name
Do you have an idea for a brand and are you planning on becoming an entrepreneur? One of the challenges you will face is creating and choosing a brand name.
Choosing a brand name can be complex and time-consuming. In this article, we share with you the secrets to having an original and striking name that reflects the image you want to give of your company.
Table of contents
- The main rules of ‘Naming’
- The 5 secrets to choosing the perfect brand name
The main rules of ‘Naming’
Creating a brand name is far from trivial. This name will follow you everywhere, all the time, and will have a key role to play in the notoriety of your brand. To get an idea of a brand name, and to choose your name, you will have to resort to naming.
What is naming?
Naming is an activity that consists of creating a brand name, through which you can communicate. Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of branding, it is important to know that creating a brand requires a lot of skill. We can put you in touch with branding professionals who can help you with your creative work.
Know your business and your customers
The first thing to do is to make sure you know your brand inside out before choosing a name.
This means not only knowing your mission, vision, and values by heart but also the audience you are going to address. Your brand name must appeal to your audience, so you need to know what they will respond to before you choose your company name.
Therefore, there are two questions you face:
- How do you determine your vision, mission, and values?
- How do you get to know your audience thoroughly?
Determine your vision, mission, and values
These are three elements that come up again and again in branding. They will help you come up with a brand-name idea and keep you on track with your strategy.
Your company’s mission is its ‘raison d’être’, otherwise known as its reason of being. It’s what it stands for every day and the problem it wants to solve
Your company’s vision explains the impact it wants to have on the world by achieving its mission. What is the result you are seeking to achieve in carrying out your mission?
The values of your organisation define what is important to it. Values provide insight into the priorities of an organisation and guide its decisions.
Let’s see how Microsoft applies these three elements.
Microsoft’s mission is as follows:
Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
Microsoft strives to make everyone more productive and effective. This mission guides the company’s actions. If it succeeds, the world will be impacted in some way and the company’s vision will be realised:
To help people and business throughout the world realise their full potential.
Here we see that the vision is perfectly connected to Microsoft’s mission. If the company succeeds in helping organisation to become more effective, they are more likely to reach their full potential.
And finally, to achieve its mission and vision, Microsoft lives by its three core values:
It is important that you ask yourself these questions.
Your brand name is the first thing your audience will see. It is crucial that this name is aligned with your mission, vision, and values. If it is not, your customers will not be fully convinced by your brand. You will feel that you have a name that does not convey the identity of your company. It is therefore crucial that you know your mission, vision, and values before you choose your brand name.
Know your audience inside out
If you are currently looking for a brand name idea, chances are you are at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey and your customer base is not yet too big.
There are different strategies you can use to find out more about your audience, depending on the information you are looking for. Indeed, acquiring the demographics of your target audience will require a different strategy than finding out the real reason why your clients would/will use your services.
The first type of information listed above is relatively easy to find, and there are three strategies you can use to find out the age, gender, mother tongue, and location of your customers:
The first one is simple: just talk to your first customers and determine your personas on the basis of these conversations. It is common for the founder of a company to develop a special relationship with his or her first customers because they are testing a product or service that is still in its infancy and their feedback enables the entrepreneur to improve his or her offer. It is, therefore, an advantage to you to talk to your first customers, as this will give you valuable information and allow you to develop a strong relationship with them.
Tip: developing a strong relationship with your early adopters will allow you to make them your first brand ambassadors, and if you take care of them, they could become one of your best assets in your brand-building efforts 🔥
The second strategy will require you to already have a small community. Specifically, if you have a Facebook page, knowing the demographics of your users is a breeze. Just fo the “Statistics” tab and click on “People” (‘Vos fans” in the image below) to see all the demographics of your audience: age, gender, location, language spoken.
We can see here that the majority of the audience of this Facebook page is made up of men (hommes) and women (femmes) between 25 and 34, and that they are mainly based in Brussels (Bruxelles). The power of this tool lies in the fact that in just 2 clicks you can get a better idea of the audience you are addressing, which allows you to adapt your speech according to this information, and therefore be more effective.
The only problem with this second strategy is that it requires you to already have a small community, and therefore to already have an established name to create your Facebook page. But you are in the process of choosing your name. How do you solve this paradox?
The third strategy will not only allow you to get to know your existing audience better but will also help it to grow by allowing you to acquire a maximum number of e-mail addresses and therefore potential customers. The idea is as follows, and we will illustrate it with a specific case:
Charles.co is an online service that aims to digitalise men’s health. In short, men can go to this platform, describe their symptoms, receive an online consultation with one of Charles’ partnering doctors, and receive their treatment by post. The question for the two founders of the company is ‘how to develop their customer base and make themselves known’.
The two founders put a quirky questionnaire online on the subject of men’s heath, and added two very important elements.
Firstly, the questionnaire was gasified. This means that there was a scoring system associated with it, and respondents were encouraged to challenge their friends to see who knew the most about men’s health. As the questions were child-friendly, respondents shared the questionnaire with they friends without any hesitation. This gave the two founders a large number of respondents and therefore potential customers.
Secondly, it was necessary to gather the contact information of all these respondents, and the stroke of genius is that in order to find out how you scored on the questionnaire, you had to enter your email address. Since the questionnaire was fun, respondents wanted to know their score (also to compare with their friends’ scores) and the two founders of the company thus replenished their mailing list.
This gave them a better understanding of the mindset of their customer segment and therefore a name that would speak to them. As a result of the questionnaire, their Facebook fan base increased and the demographic data provided by the platform was then able to validate the information that came out of the questionnaire.
These are the three strategies you can use to get to know your customers and determine their age, gender, location, and language.
But knowing your target audience is not just about having this information. It also means knowing why they would/will use your services, and the dynamic here is different: instead of listening to what your customers say, you need to look at what your customers do.
Let’s take Charles’ example again. What is interesting here is not so much the answers their prospects gave in the questionnaire, but rather the fact that they answered the questionnaire itself. Indeed, this allowed the two founders of the company to confirm that men were potentially willing to answer questions online, and it gave them some clues as to how they should develop their product.
You can therefore test your users‘ behaviour, but you also have the possibility of observing it in order to improve your offer, and therefore to make your customers loyal to your brand.
Let’s take a concrete example:
Mano Mano is an online shop for hand tools and objects. In The Jungle Book, written by Annabelle Bignon and Younès Rharbaoui, it is explained that Mano Mano organised PopCorn Time sessions to better understand its customers and therefore improve its offer.
In short, the whole product team would meet and watch Hotjar sessions to understand how users were using the Mano Mano site. Here’s an overview of what’s possible with Hotjar 👇
This may sound like a lot to ask, but the market is so competitive that a thorough understanding of your customers is a necessity.
What you need to remember is that before you give something a name, it is important to design it well to choose the right name for it.
The importance of simplicity
The name you choose should be easy to remember and recognise. Your branding will help to anchor your company name in the minds of your customers, but this job will be easier if your name is easy to understand.
This means that you need to pay attention to not only how it sounds, but also to the logo that will accompany it. It is also important that this logo is well anchored in your graphic design.
Let’s take an example of a particularly ‘easy-to-remember’ brand name:
Kymono offers a B2B service for the creation of customised clothing. If a company wishes to have a uniform for its employees, Kymono will take care of creating the personalised garment.
With such a value proposition, the link with the word “Kymono” is quickly understood. Moreover, Kymono claims to be a creator of corporate cultures, and its name refers to the whole spirit of Japanese culture.
Kymono is an ‘easy-to-remember’ and ‘easy-to-pronounce’ name that is also in line with the expertise of the company.
This is an example that you can use as inspiration for your own name search.
Ask those around you
In order to be more productive, use participatory web tools to collect ideas from several collaborators.
Involve the people around you to get their opinion on your brand idea. They will be able to help you decide whether the name you are thinking of adopting conveys your company’s identity.
However, there is one point to bear in mind. When you ask for help from people around you, they will never be 100% honest with you. It can be very tempting to ask your family and friends for their opinion, which is not a bad idea, as long as you consider the following point. As your loved ones, they will not want to hurt you. It will be difficult for them to be honest if you share a bad brand name idea with them.
The danger is that you will base your decision on this false feedback and not make the right choice.
In short, you can ask for the opinion of those around you. But keep in mind that their opinion will be affected by their feelings about you.
The 5 secrets to choosing the perfect brand name
Creating your brand universe
As explained above, the creation of a brand universe should occur before the definition of its name. Beyond your mission, vision, and values, you need to know who you are as an entrepreneur, your history, and what your company actually does. Also, which market will you enter: regional, national or international? What are your advantages? How will you position yourself in relation to your competitors?
As you need to know your business and your customers, you need to be aware of the environment in which your brand will operate. But you will also need to be aware of the different players in that environment.
This will enable you to know how to position yourself in relation to these players and thus to stand out from the crowd. So it seems that analysing your competitors is an essential step in the process of building your brand.
Determine your Unique Selling Proposition
It is important to recognise that your future brand name will not be able to express everything. You need to know what is of real importance to you and what makes you stand out from the competition. You need to know what makes your value proposition unique from those of your competitors. The name you choose should convey this value proposition.
4 tips not to be overlooked
Create an original name based on your keywords
From the names that tie into your concept, you would change a few syllables while keeping the basic structure. In this case, sounds will play a very important role. You can play on the association of two names, such as: software + intuitive = softuitive © or even play on the phonetics. Choosing a very simple name can be very effective, such as the perfume “Pure Grace”.
Create an acronym
When choosing your brand name, imagine the corresponding logo at the same time. Indeed, the creation of the logo is linked to the idea of the company name. That said, the creation of the logo must be consistent with your entire graphic design. It is always a good idea to call on the services of an agency specialising in graphic design in order to obtain a truly qualitative result.
Think about prestigious references
Here you can choose between the names of famous people, places or historical names. You could even use the image of a celebrity. Beware, this means that you will have to pay a right of use if you opt for this solution.
You can also associate your brand name with a well-known cultural element. This is the case with Lancôme. This brand associates its name with the city of Paris, in order to benefit from the universe to which this place refers in the collective unconscious.
On the other hand, some brands have preferred to use a surname, usually that of their founder. This is the case for Michael Jordan and Calvin Klein, for example.
Using foreign words
Foreign names are particularly attractive to a young target audience, and this makes it possible to anticipate international development. However, remember to ask about the correct translation to avoid regretting your choice in the future.
Check that your brand name is legally available!
After so much effort and research, you may lose sight of the original objective. So you need to do a final check. Make sure that your selection of brand names is still related to your brand idea. You can test this yourself by answering a few questions such as: What does the name remind you of? Is the target audience right, and will they understand the message? Is it not too offbeat? What about the pronunciation? Also, think about possible changes when you expand your business.
The ideal name should not consist of more than two words.
Registering a new brand name
You’ve done it! You have finally selected 2 or 3 relevant names. All that remains is to check their legal availability either on a specialised site such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Then, you will have to register the trademark to be sure that it belongs to you for good!
Beware, the USPTO and any patent and trademark office can refuse your trademark name if it misleads consumers.
Registering a trademark requires compliance with very technical procedures. Get help from an expert in the field.
We can put you in touch with partners who can help you register and protect your trademark.
Brand name generators: a good or bad idea?
Despite the advice in this post, you may find that you are not inspired in your search. Or you may find that the names you have chosen are all used. Stay calm! There are a number of free and fast online brand name generators to help any business owner.
Each generator has its own particularity. While some, such as Namelix, allow you to generate brand names from a root word, others, such as Panabee, help you find names from keywords. Even more powerful is LeanDomainSearch, which offers you more than a hundred variations of a word or phrase. In addition, you can kill two birds with one stone! Most of these tools allow you to buy the domain name linked to your brand name directly.
All these methods will help you in finding and choosing a brand name idea more easily.
However, it is crucial to consider that the importance of having a strong brand is increasing. With each passing year, and with a global market, competition is getting tougher.
In such circumstances, teaming up with the right partners will increase your chances of success and make it easier to build your brand. Tell us about yourself, and we’ll suggest the best branding agencies in New York or a city near you that will make your brand the benchmark in its market, free of charge.