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So let’s talk about the 5 Naming Tips and Tricks for how to name a business.

Brand Naming Tip #1, remember the golden rule of brand naming which is MEMORABILITY. Think about building a successful brand as a war.  In a war, there are many battles to be fought, some of which you may lose.  But, there are a few key battles you must win to win the war. The key battle when it comes to the brand naming is memorability.  That is, if the name is sticky, if it gets inside the head of your target quickly and isn’t forgotten, then you can spend your entire budget building preference in your brand.  If the name isn’t memorable, you often burn through your budget just trying to build awareness. You then have nothing left, or not enough left, to build your brand. You lose the war. (See our Portfolio for examples of some of the memorable names we’ve created over the years.)

Brand Naming Tip #2, take the NEGATIVE OFF of the table. That is, don’t allow anyone in your NameStorming session to say anything negative until the very end.  New names are inherently fragile.  Allowing critical comments to surface too quickly kills off some great brand name ideas.  Also, the majority of what you’ll come up with in your NameStorming session is garbage anyway. So focusing on what you don’t like is distracting.  It’s like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack … if you focus on each piece of hay you’ll probably not make much progress.  Instead, you jam your hand into that hay stack all the way up to you shoulder and thrash it around until the needle pricks you and grabs your attention.

Brand Naming Tip #3, encourage everyone to be an ADVOCATE, not a critic. Taking the negative off of the table isn’t enough.  You need to encourage everyone to advocate for their favorite names rather than be the silent skeptic.  Ask everyone to pick their favorites and share with the group what they like about them.  Or if they don’t like the whole name, ask them to talk about the part of it they do like.  Is the idea behind the name appealing to them?  Is there a root embedded in the name that they find intriguing?  Do they have any new ideas to suggest using an existing name as a starting point?  What you are after during this process is for everyone to become as engaged and as upbeat as possible.  You will find yourselves talking one another into names that you initially weren’t that excited about. (Our naming professionals can help your team become advocates for their favorite names too).

Brand Naming Tip #4, put yourself INSIDE YOUR CUSTOMER’S HEAD. React to names as if you are the prospect. Now, this isn’t easy but it is a key to a successful NameStorming session.  Don’t focus on what you, personally, think of a particular name.  Rather, try to react to each idea as a prospective customer might react to it.  Maybe they’ll react positively to a name that connects with them emotionally, rather than a more literal or descriptive name that is easier to understand but sounds like all of the others that are already out there. Or maybe they’ll look at a number of different names before deciding what to buy. Thinking like your customers and prospects is what great brand naming is all about. (See a partial list of clients we have helped think like their prospects).

Brand Naming Tip #5, consider RISKIER NAMES, they’re usually more memorable. The best brand names are rarely the safest. They’re typically the riskiest. There is no such thing as a perfect brand name.  The names with the greatest potential often have the most glaring weaknesses.  So focus on the potential a name brings to a table.  Is it memorable?  Is it easy to say and spell?  Does it connect emotionally?  Is it engaging?  Does it differentiate from the competitive set?  We think it is smarter to go with a name that perhaps some on your team don’t like, but that everyone can remember, than hold out for that mythical ideal name that supposedly everyone is just going to love.  In our experience, that type of name rarely exists.  If you focus too much on the consensus choice, you end up with a name no one hates but no one really likes, either.  A watered down, boring name.  Rather, go with a name that is a bit uncomfortable for some but that generates excitement and passion.  A name people want to talk about.  An engaging, sticky name.  For more information on our Namestorming process, see our 7 Steps to a Great Name.

NameStormers has been recognized as one of the best naming agencies in both Austin & Boston. We have a rich history working in industries of many different kinds and have worked with Fortune 500s and non-profits alike. We’re long in experience and short in turn-times. We would love to hear about your naming project and how we can help you get the opportunity you deserve to make an impact in your industry!

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One Comment

  • Mike says:

    Following these tips has helped several of our clients get internal buy-in to some of the more controversial but also stronger brand names.