A great name is the linchpin of your brand identity. It helps define your entire marketing strategy and alludes to your unique value proposition, defining how the world views your company and products. The stakes are high, and the naming process is often more difficult than many companies initially realize.
Thankfully, there are effective brand naming strategies that can make the task less daunting and frustrating. The NameStormers team has spent the last three decades refining our process, and these are the major takeaways that we think will be valuable to companies stuck in a naming rut.
Define a Clear Naming Objective
This may sound obvious. But more often than not, when we ask our clients about their naming objective, they answer with a laundry list of goals. They want the name to clearly communicate their purpose, mission, culture, and values. They want it to be short, catchy, and concise, but also descriptive.
They don’t always grasp that a name doesn’t need to stand alone — it’s less a foundation and more a load-bearing column. Your marketing strategies will help carry the load to establish brand awareness.
In fact, the more you try to pile onto the name, the less effective it becomes. When you get too descriptive, you lose concision and catchiness. Catchiness should always take precedence over context and exposition.
Leave Negativity at the Door
Creativity usually requires exposing yourself to criticism, but it doesn’t have to be that way. During our NameStorming sessions, we cancel the notion of a “bad idea” so that no one is afraid to speak their mind. When your participants stay buttoned up, you’re more likely to find yourself with a lot of safe ideas and nothing that dares to push the envelope — which an effective brand name absolutely must do.
There are two types of names: names that explain, and names that evoke emotion. Emotions are memory anchors — people remember brand names that make them feel something. If you strive to explain rather than elicit emotion, you end up with a name that is too literal.
For example, Yahoo used to be named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. There’s no name in the world more literal than that, and it simply didn’t work. Yahoo, on the other hand, evokes the feeling of satisfaction you get from finding the thing that you’re looking for.
Don’t Be Afraid of Controversy
Even negative emotions can be a harbinger of brand name success. You may be tempted to go with a name that evokes a tepidly positive response from everyone versus a name that’s loved by some and hated by a few. No one wants their precious brand name to be hated!
But every name that stokes positive emotions will inevitably stoke negative ones as well. It’s a sign that you’re onto something and that you can make people feel passionately, which will result in those people remembering and discussing your brand.
Don’t take this as a free pass from the NameStormers team to be intentionally offensive to your targets. Polarizing names are not effective. But names that catch a little heat and a whole lot of love? Those hit the sweet spot.
Go Back to the Drawing Board as Many Times as It Takes
Most naming agencies provide a list of names and wash their hands of the case. If the client doesn’t love the options given and wants more, that’s going to cost them. But NameStormers’ brand naming strategies are different. We believe the process should be collaborative, and that getting the perfect name requires toying with possibilities and teasing out new meanings.
After we ideate and compile the initial list of candidates, we screen them for trademark conflicts, linguistic viability (if desired), and online availability, weeding out names that we believe aren’t usable. We pitch the cream of the crop to you. If you don’t like your choices, we jump right back to brainstorming, screening, and pitching, never charging your a penny more.
We value your satisfaction and believe in our process enough to circle back as many times as it takes to deliver results that work for your business – for one flat fee. Contact us today to get started on finding the perfect name for your brand.