How to Choose a Brand Name

Choosing a name for your company can be a difficult and agonising process - but it needn't be.

By Rog HowPosted in Ideas

Choosing a name for your company can be a difficult and agonising process. There is a lot to consider in this decision - so it can be difficult to take the plunge.

Rattling off a list of names that vaguely relate to what your business does is a common method, but rarely achieves good results. So how do you sum up everything that your business represents in the most succinct way, and make this process pain-free too?

1. Make a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is a process that helps to define what - and who - your brand is. Going through this process helps to define your Brand Identity: so therefore what your company does (attributes), what it believes in (values) and what it is like (character). Once you have defined these things, coming up with a name is much easier, as it should attempt to touch on, or sum up, each of these things. Be methodical and disciplined in your approach and you will narrow the variable parameters to make a decision easier.

2. Get Emotional
A name doesn’t have to say what your company does, think Nike, Audi or Ocado. None of these iconic brands have a reference to what they actually do or sell. A name needs to evoke the essence of your brand character and values before functions. It’s a name not a label and if you draw the analogy to people our names don’t tell people what we do, more the values of our parents and where we come from.

3. Make it Unique
It pays to be unique in order to make your brand more memorable, but also you need people to be able to find you easily online. If your name is not unique enough, you may find yourself competing with lots of other websites and web content when people Google your brand name. Not a great start for a new venture as your brand visibility in Google will start low.

The ultimate way to do this is to invent a word like all the brands mentioned above. No one has used the word before so the only references to that online will be referring to you.

4. Trade Marks
Once you have a name in mind, before getting too excited, check the trade marks register. It’s free and easy to do. You need to work out what industry number your business falls in - then check for Marks registered in that category with your name. If someone has got there first then it’s out of bounds I’m afraid. If not, Trade Mark it after you’ve checked off all the points below.

5. URLs
Next check the URL - it can be really difficult to find spare URLs now. A totally unique or invented work really helps with this. But if not then you may have to settle for a qualifying word like "XXXX-accountants.com". This can actually help for SEO as you have a word in your URL that people might be searching for so could actually be an advantage, but the downside is that it can feel a little less professional. The other option is to go for a new style domain name like .shop .co or .io. There were a batch of new additions to these recently so often more availability.

6. Social Handles
Likewise with URLs, social handles on the platforms you want to use need to be chosen. Ideally this will be your brand name, but it’s becoming generally recognised that handles don’t necessarily need to be exactly the same as your name. Abbreviations, punctuation or qualifying words are widely accepted as OK now.

7. Don’t Stress
It’s easy to let a naming process take up all your thoughts and time until you feel that you've nailed it. Because of this search for perfection, sometimes valid options are overlooked and the whole thing can be over-analysed. Try not to get too tied up about it, because remember that our names grow with us too.

Coming back to the analogy with people's names; you might know a few John's, Mark's, Sophie's or Hannah’s but they all still have their own identity that you associate with them and their name. Also some really big brand names taken out of context can sound rubbish, like Next, Pringles or Virgin, but they have carved the association we make with the name by having constant strong branding rather than a great unique sounding name.

So remember that as long as you follow the process above, choosing a brand name should be easier. And as long as you tick the boxes in the process, the final name is not that big a deal. It’s your whole brand and business which will give you success, not your name alone.

Need help with your brand?

Brand Review

Book in a free consultation with our brand strategist, Rog How

Book now

Contact Us

Have a question or need some more information?

Email us

Join Our Mailing List