Today’s consumers use brand names for more than just defining their favorite brands. The right title can improve your chances of earning new customers, by showing people the fundamental values you stand for.
Memorable names also generate customer loyalty and simplify the process of word-of-mouth marketing. While there’s no doubt that choosing a great name is a crucial part of start-up branding, it’s also one of the toughest challenges you’ll face as a business owner.
Name your brand right, and you become a household name like Google or Uber. Choose the wrong title, and you could be the next “Carnage Travel.”
Fortunately, a strategic brand naming process increases your chances of success and keeps risks to a minimum. As brand naming specialists, the team at Fabrik has come together to share some of our tried and tested tips for your creative process.
While there are plenty of brand naming tools online, the best labels require an in-depth understanding of your organization “
What to think about when naming your brand
How to begin your strategic brand naming process
At first, creating a strategic brand naming process seems simple enough. There are only so many words and letters to choose from, after all.
However, when you sit down to find the ultimate name, you discover how complicated it is. According to the co-founder of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, his team took 6 months and over 2,000 suggestions before they found the perfect name.
While there are plenty of brand naming tools online—like Shopify’s Business Name generator—which help with finding initial ideas, the best labels require an in-depth understanding of your organization. Unfortunately, this is one thing that machines just can’t do better.
If you, like us, believe that true creativity can’t be automatically generated, here’s how your brand naming process should start.
1. Set clear objectives
Before you start exploring your creative side, it’s important to consider the fundamentals of your strategic brand naming process.
We encourage our clients to develop a brief that outlines the objectives they want to accomplish with their name, and the identity they’re creating for their brand.
This initial stage is crucial because it gets everyone on the same page, working towards an incredible moniker.
2. Articulate your core identity
Another step you’ll need to take before you name yourself involves figuring out what your company stands for, and what you’re trying to achieve.
The best brand naming process will show you how to highlight your brand values in your title, so your audience can begin to see your unique personality before they ever engage with your company. When establishing your core identity, look at:
- Why your company exists: Your brand vision.
- What your company does: Your brand mission.
- How you do what you do: Your brand values.
These aspects of your identity encapsulate and influence everything you do, and they should play an essential part of your brand naming process strategy.
3. Create your user personas
Some companies make the mistake of starting their brand naming process before they’ve begun to build out their user personas.
However, it’s important to remember that your name needs to do more than just define your brand – it also needs to speak to your target audience.
If you don’t know who you’re creating your brand identity for, then you’ll have a hard time finding a compelling name. If you’re not sure how to develop avatars for your target audience, speak to your brand naming experts.
At Kle Studio, we also help our clients to create user personas with complete templates they can download and share with their teams.
Naming your brand: The discovery & brainstorming stage
Once you’ve got the initial elements of the brand naming process out of the way, you can move onto the discovery and brainstorming stages.
The discovery part of the strategic brand naming process is where you lay all of your cards on the table so that you can start to assess what your brand stands for, and how you’re going to convey that information to your customers.
The naming process will typically follow a brand positioning phase, so you should already have some research on your company available.
Before you get too far into the brand naming process, ask yourself how you’d define an auspicious name, what your main concerns about naming are, and who should be involved in the decision-making stage.
While the idea of going wild with your naming process may sound fun, particularly when you’re looking for ways to differentiate your brand, most companies do need some prompts and constraints to work with during the discovery and brainstorming stages. So, start by:
- Writing down the adjectives that describe your brand, products, and services.
- Describing what you want your consumers to feel when you think about your company.
- Asking people to share words that they associate with your organisation.
Remember the brainstorming stage is where you gather all the raw ideas that will fuel your brand naming process. This stage should be inspired by your business objectives and core messaging.
Another useful way to inform your brainstorming session is to remember the different categories of brand names available to choose from.
For instance, some of the most common types of the brand name include:
- Descriptive: Names that tell your audience what you do or what you make – think of companies like General Motors for instance.
- Made-up names: Fabricated or made-up names include entirely new brand names designed for differentiation, like Google, Kodak or TiVo.
- Metaphor: Some names take inspiration from other parts of the world and use them as metaphors. For instance, “Nike” is named after a Greek goddess.
- Acronyms: Since the best brand naming process often involves keeping your brand name short and sweet, some experts may suggest using acronyms. For example, Donna Karan New York is better known as DKNY.
- Combined words: A name could include a combination of two words, like Facebook.
Refining your naming ideas with brand naming tools
After you’ve finished the discovery and brainstorming part of your brand naming process strategy, it’s time to get down to “brass tacks.”
When you’re brainstorming, you’re simply throwing together ideas that might work for your company.
The refinement phase is where you begin to look at the names that will speak to your audience.
After we’ve finished the brainstorming segment with our clients, we use a number of tools to determine which of the naming choices we’ve made so far should make the cut for further consideration. Here are some of the brand naming tools we use:
1. Positioning charts
As mentioned above, there are many different kinds of product and company names that brands can choose from. Different titles work best for specific types of organisation. That’s why it’s so important to analyze your brand and the identities of your competitors before you make any choices.
In our brand naming process, we examine your closest competitors and the kind of names that they use to define themselves, so you can get a better idea of the names that work best in your sector.
You can then decide whether you’re more comfortable sticking to a tried-and-tested formula, or whether you want to make sure you stand out.
2. Evaluation charts
As your comprehensive brand naming process starts to dwindle your long list of brainstormed ideas down into a shorter selection of potential titles, evaluation charts are how we make sure that you choose the best possible name for your company.
We’ve developed a fantastic way of scoring names against each other by breaking them down and evaluating them. By scoring each title under our chosen criteria, we ensure our evaluation charts help you understand what you like and don’t like most about your list of names.
Your brand naming process strategy may differ to ours, but some of the points we look at include:
- How your name looks on paper (and screen).
- How much it stands out from the competition.
- How much meaning it has.
- Whether it has an emotional resonance.
- Whether it fits with your brand personality.
3. Name Brainstorming
Finally, another brand naming tool we use to support our clients is the brainstorming process. Often, when it comes to choosing an excellent title for your company, you’ll discover that the more opinions and ideas you have in one place, the more innovative your process becomes.
When you have a large group of people sharing their thoughts, everyone brings something unique to the brand naming process.
Here at Kle Studio, we bring together a panel of experts from a range of backgrounds. Our boards include naming specialists, creative directives, wordsmiths, strategists, and marketers.
The team you bring together to support your strategic brand naming process will depend on you. Just remember, the more brains you can access, the better off you’ll be.