Welcome to a new #RainyBrandingTuesday!
Choosing a name for a brand or a business is always the trickiest of parts. If you’ve been to one of my #rainybranding talks (the next is on Saturday in Porto), you have an idea of the reasons behind mine (and you’re aware of the bad and the ugly before getting eventually to a good one). Also, I’ve already talked about this in a past post but it’s such a heated topic that I thought it would be worth revisiting.
First of all, should you use a brand (as in creating / inventing a name) or should you trade under your own name?
I am a supporter of standing out and diversify (read more on this topic in a very nice book I have contributed to) and I chose to not trade under my name and surname simply because my audience may find it hard to pronounce and I wanted to make sure my business was able – in the future too – to encompass a wider range of possibilities.
Yet, there’s no right or wrong!
As read in FreelanceFolder:
Using your personal name as your business name is the easiest and fastest way to come up with a brand.
If you’re just starting out or are not sure if you’re into freelancing for the long haul, this may be the best option for you. However, if you have a common name, it’s a good idea to register your personal name anyway, to avoid duplication.
On the other hand, using your personal name as your business name does have its disadvantages too.
1. your business may be perceived as less professional, less serious and even less credible than if you had a “real” business name.
2. it may be much harder to sell your business later. Investors in general would be unwilling to purchase an existing business that’s tied too much to a specific person–unless you become rich and famous, of course.It’s also impossible to communicate your Unique Selling Proposition by using your personal name, instead of a punchy but meaningful business name.
Still, coming up with a name is the hardest part, as mentioned before.
It needs to be memorable, evocative, and meaningful (and possibly: easy to remember!)
Regarding the why of a name or a brand, Marie Forleo is open to possibilities. As she cunningly mentions in her video, it’s all down to
Your long-term plan
As she explains very clearly, there is not a successful way and path-to-failure one. You can be successful by sticking to your name if you know it’s going to be YOU and you as an asset for a while; still there are plenty of examples around to prove that empires can be sold and still be doing fantastically well even if the founder is no longer there, e.g. Jo Malone or Donna Karan or Harrods.
This extremely interesting and straightforward article is really helpful – and is so good I felt the urge to share it almost in its entirety.
What parts should one be considering when choosing a name?
Appearance – Simply how the name looks. It will always be seen in context, but it will be seen, so looks are crucial too.
Distinctive – How differentiated is a given name from its competition. Being distinctive is only one element that goes into making a name memorable, but it is a required element, since if a name is not distinct from a sea of similar names it will not be memorable. It’s important, when judging distinctiveness, to always consider the name in the context of the product it will serve, and among the competition it will spar with for the consumer’s attention.
Depth – Layer upon layer of meaning and association. Names with great depth never reveal all they have to offer all at once, but keep surprising you with new ideas.
Energy – How vital and full of life is the name? Does it have buzz? Can it carry an ad campaign on its shoulders? Is it a force to be reckoned with? These are all aspects of a name’s energy level.
Humanity – A measure of a name’s warmth, its “humanness,” as opposed to names that are cold, clinical, unemotional. Another – though not foolproof – way to think about this category is to imagine each of the names as a nickname for one of your children.
Positioning – How relevant the name is to the positioning of the product or company being named, the service offered, or to the industry served. Further, how many relevant messages does the name map to?
Sound – Again, while always existing in a context of some sort or another, the name WILL be heard, in radio or television commercials, being presented at a trade show, or simply being discussed in a cocktail party conversation. Sound is twofold – not only how a name sounds, but how easily it is spoken by those who matter most: the potential customer. Word of mouth is a big part of the marketing of a company, product or service with a great name, but if people aren’t comfortable saying the name, the word won’t get out.
“33” – The force of brand magic, and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. Refers to the mysterious “33” printed on the back of Rolling Rock beer bottles for decades that everybody talks about because nobody is really sure what it means. “33” is that certain something that makes people lean forward and want to learn more about a brand, and to want to share the brand with others. The “33” angle is different for each name.
Trademark – As in the ugly, meat hook reality of trademark availability. Scoring is easy here, as there are only three options, and nothing is subjective: 10 = likely available for trademark; 5 = may be available for trademark; and 0 = not likely available for trademark. All of the names on this list have been prescreened by a trademarked attorney and have been deemed “likely” for trademark registration.
Now over to you:
Are you struggling to find the name your website or company?
What’s holding you back?
Are you in need in inspiration? Or simply cannot decide?
You can always hire me <wink wink>