Recently, a client wanted a name that “told a story.” A name that evoked certain historical references and ethos. This is not an uncommon request – oftentimes the expectations for the load a single name can carry are high … BUT … how much of a story can a name tell on its own?
The right branding, tagline and logo are all about adding context to a name to help build a story and couch a name in a memorable way for customers.
If you are not willing to or (more likely these days) don’t have the budget or time for telling the story, do you really think the name can do it on its own? Not likely. We don’t think names like a Starbucks or a Nike or even an Apple would have thrived without the investment each of them made initially and each continues to make every single day to build the right context and tell the right story.
But you’re a start-up or a brand manager at a larger company without much of a budget in a fiercely competitive environment and a very short period of time to promote your new product. As much as you would like to be the next Starbucks or Zappos or Pinterest, what is realistic? What kind of name should you select?
Well, what about more descriptive or suggestive names like a Home Depot or a Footlocker that may not be as whimsical or outside the box, but are still somewhat distinctive and can “hit the ground running” without a big investment?
Much about the name you should choose depends not just upon your marketing and branding strategy, but your budget, your timeline and the realities of your competitive environment. If you expect a name to communicate your product/service’s positioning with minimal additional investment, a name that balances “the story” with something a little more descriptive may be the way to go.
If you only have 10 letters to work with, make sure they count – something we like to call the power of the name. Here are a few examples of names we created that we think fall in this camp: CarMax (car dealer), PowerShot (camera), Suits Me (swim suits) and Gadzoo (pet web site).