Choosing a name for your startup company or new product is no simple task. This document outlines a number of tips and selection criteria which will help you to come up with a great choice.
When you undertake the brainstorming process to find a new brand or company name, or when rebranding an old one, you need to take into account a number of essential brand name selection criteria, which you can download here:
Based on our experience with real customer cases, we have found that a selection process which takes our naming criteria into account will result in a great new brand name, which is essential in today’s highly competitive landscape.
Finding a name which meets all of these criteria is not as simple as one might think. For example, it is quite easy to come up with some good descriptive or suggestive names, only to find that the corresponding domain names are not available, or that the name is not easy to get onto the first page of Google search results.
Note that whatever name you come up with in the end, the new name will need time to “grow upon you”, especially in the case of a merger or a phase-out of an older brand, where it will replace familiar brands that stakeholders have been comfortable with for a long time, and could therefore be reluctant to abandon.
10 Tips for Brand Naming your Product or Startup Company
Time for a fresh brandBrand Name CategoriesThere are three main categories of brand names, each with specific characteristics: - Descriptive: LaserJet printer - Suggestive: Platinum credit card - Arbitrary: Motorola phoneWhen you undertake the brainstorming process to find a new brand name, you needto take into account a number of basic criteria for the selection of a good new brandname (see list below). Finding a name which meets all of these criteria is no simpletask. For example, it is quite easy to come up with some good descriptive orsuggestive names, only to find that the corresponding domain names are notavailable.Note that whatever name you come up with in the end, the new name will need timeto “grow upon you”, especially in the case of a merger or a phase-out of an olderbrand, where it will require the phasing out of familiar brands that stakeholders havebeen comfortable with, and could therefore be reluctant to abandon.Four classes of suitable namesBased on our former experience with real customer cases, we have found that aselection process which takes the essential naming criteria into account, will result ina list of potential names which are of the “arbitrary” category (see above). These“fabricated” names will typically fall into one of these four classes: - Name based on a Latin or Greek root-component: o Imagonis, Altavista, Artis, Nuvius, Celera, Kreatos - Name formed by unique blend of two existing words, or parts of words: o BrightFish, BudgetBlaze, Meshbone, TurnLeaf, Volkswagen o Accenture, Comcast, FedEx, Sucrogen, Cullinaria - Name formed by nice-sounding unique (or weird) combinations of syllables: o Audi, Adidas, Andalis, Alcoa, Kodak, Lego, Dexia, Google - Name formed by changing the spelling of an existing word: o Ikon, Klout, Qwest, TreetsPaul Van Cotthem | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.turnleaf.be
Primary name selection criteriaGood fit with customer and company culture and positioning - Name must be attractive to its intended audience, and to your own employees.Trademark available - The new name may not be registered by other companies. A trademark check must be performed in all countries where the company intends to operate. Also check similar sounding names.Domain name(s) available - Ideally, the top-level domain names (com, net, org) and geographical domains (eu, be, nl, fr, de, ...) are available for the chosen new brand name. - Selecting a new brand for a combined company presents an opportunity to make the domain names reflect the real company name instead of the combined former names. Old domain names should be kept, and must automatically redirect to the new domain. Note: it is good practice to put up a page with message about the name change, before redirecting to the home page of the new site. - Also check social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, et al)Few Google (“phrase”) search results - Search for your name in Google (both with and without double quotes around it). The lower the number of search results the better, since this improves the chances that your company site will appear in the first page of search results. Note that a large majority of searchers never look beyond the first page of Google search results, so getting a first-page position is crucial for potential customers to find you quickly and easily (as you well know...).No negative connotations - Ensure the name does not have negative meaning, also in other languages (e.g. “Chevrolet Nova”, which meant “does not work”)Paul Van Cotthem | email@example.com | www.turnleaf.be
Contains clear indications of origin, brand values, or unique advantages - The name must be attractive to its intended audience (customers, employees, partners) and contain hints of aspirational brand values, brand positioning, unique product advantages, or service characteristics.Easy to pronounce in major languages, and sounds good. - The name must be easy to pronounce, and must sound similar, in all major languages English, Spanish, French, German, et al. Also, the name must sounds “likeable” to its intended audiences.Easy to spell correctly - Imagine your name appears in a radio ad or is pronounced during a phone conversation. Will it be easily remembered? Will it be spelled correctly when people want to search for it in Google? For example, almost nobody makes a mistake in the spelling of the name “Nivea” when they hear in on the radio, but many do when they hear “Häagen-Dazs”. Make sure your new name is spelled right upon first hearing it..Easy to remember - No more than 3 syllables, makes the name easy to pronounce and remember.Can be used as a verb - A name will spread more quickly when people start using it as a verb. For example, in the USA people do not photocopy documents, they “xerox” it. “Can you google that?”, has also become a common expression.No acronyms - People remember names which look like real words much better than acronyms. For example, “Donna Karan” is easier to remember than “DKNY”.Begins with the letter “A” - If need to choose between good names, and one of them starts with the letter “A”, than pick that one. For in order to rank high in alphabetical listings (e.g. in business directories, trade-show catalogs, et al), the new name ideally starts with the letter “A”.Paul Van Cotthem | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.turnleaf.be
Paul Van Cotthem | email@example.com | www.turnleaf.be