Hello, My Name Is...

August 2018

David Aaker said it best in his book Managing Brand Equity

“A name can serve as a substantial barrier to entry once it is established. Consider the power of names like Velcro, Formica, and Kodak. In fact, a name can be more useful than a patent, which can be difficult and costly to defend.”

The brand naming process, at its core, can be overwhelming especially if it's your first company. Brand names are typically divided into 4 categories: 

Description

Does your name give away what your product or service is? Consider the famous (but recently departed) Toys R' Us. Customers know exactly what they're expecting when they hear the company's name. For search engine optimization (SEO), descriptive naming is key. It gives you a leg up when customers are searching for specific keywords. Since those keywords are already incorporated into your brand's name, you'll have a better shot in being found in their search results.

Abbreviation

Guaranteed that some of your favorite brands are abbreviated under an acronoym that you didn't know about. IKEA, EOS, and IBM all fall in this category. Fun fact, IKEA was named after its founder Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. EOS, a brand that is heavily dominating the lip care and shaving space, is abbreviated for Evolution of Smooth... including your lips, legs, and well... any other parts that you're looking to touch up on.


Invention

Time to get a little crazy... errr... inventive! The best part of making up a company name is that there are no strings attached. Just like Mary Poppins iconic's "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," you, too, can come up with your own mix-mash of a name. Verizon, Exxon, Kodak, and Acura all fit the bill.

Experiential

Every founder hopes for the brand to be idolized like some of the world's greatest. But which brands truly stand the test of time? Challenge yourself by creating a positioning statement: how does your product or service fit a specific niche or target audience? Consider Amazon's positioning statement back in 2001: 

For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection.

Apple, Blackberry, Caterpillar fit this category with their blend of creativity and inspiration in developing their brand's name around an item that wouldn't be quite considered in their first round of names.

When naming your brand, go back to the strategic overview of your industry. Consider some of the following questions in mapping out your brand's identity:

When I work with clients in the ideation phase of branding, I encourage them to keep a stack of post-its and jot down each name as it comes to to mind. Keep that stack of post-its in your back pocket until your next meeting. You'd be surprised how quickly some ideas fall flat after revisiting - others, though not originally at the top of the pile, may in fact be your shining light in naming your brand.

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