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HomeBusiness StrategiesBusiness StartupHow the right name can make or break your business

How the right name can make or break your business

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

It was once believed that names hold power so in some cultures they would give children special names to chase away bad health or evil. Names are still important today, although their power shifted from the mystical to the commercial plane.

Starting a business is not only the result of will and diligence. It involves creative processes and strategic planning in order to create a brand that will continue to grow and bring revenue. Choosing the right name for your company is among the latter ones, and it is not as easy as it seems.

Some people invest many resources in branding, knowing that the right name can get you really far on the business ladder. Focusing on creating a strong brand has become an industry nowadays and you will often hear marketing experts urging start-ups to consider the naming process very carefully.

Naming your company should be among the first things you do since that can greatly define your further strategy and steps for building your brand. Since it can be a frustrating task and not a simple one, you have to brainstorm a lot and make sure it’s perfect.

The secret of a strong name

Your name is your company. The moment you hit the market and introduce your products to the customers, they will only see you as the name you go by. This is your brand, your identity and your legacy in the world.

However, if you think that the perfect name means including in it everything about your business, you are on the wrong path. This is why you should try a creative approach which will create more of a brand by itself and define you than your products would define it.

Take Apple for example. This is one of the most recognizable brands in the world with a simple logo of the bitten apple. If you didn’t know anything about Steve Jobs, iPhone or the iMac, you wouldn’t even consider it to represent the technological giant. This name speaks nothing about the product and yet it’s worth billions and people will most likely connect apple in the grocery store to it than with food or a healthy diet.

How imperfect became ideal

If the Myth of Sisyphus can serve in the modern age as a metaphor for something, then it is for coming up with a flawless name. Just like the task of rolling a huge boulder up the hill was pointless for Sisyphus, so will this effort be for you? Therefore, you should concentrate on making the imperfect name ideal for your business.

It’s should be easy to remember, catchy and draw attention. But the important part of its fame is marketing. The moment they recognized their product could have a huge impact on the market, brands started investing in marketing. They made sure their customers would connect the brand to the product even if they were not related in the slightest.

Would you even consider that LEGO stands for something other than representing one of the most famous toy manufacturers in the world? Their revenue is measured in billions of dollars, they are globally famous and have many loyal and devoted fans. But the name actually means something, if you know Danish.

Namely, LEGO is an abbreviation of “leg godt” which means “play well” and the company came up with this name in 1934, two years after its founder started making wooden toys. Today, even after 84 years, it is not only a toy company but also a brand which stands for status in society, pop culture and something even grown-ups want.

So, start thinking about your product and what it means for people’s lives, rather than about its purpose. This may help you come up with an abbreviation which will be unique and lasting, just like IKEA, K-Mart or DHL are.

Naming your business

As you see, there are several ways you can approach the naming of your business. It’s okay to turn your name into a brand if it’s universal and easily pronounced. Consider the name Procter & Gamble, for example, or Ford. These are strong brands and are globally acknowledged for their quality and professionalism.

However, if you use your name you have to have an impeccable reputation since any negative behaviour will define your company. That is the problem when choosing your name to be the brand since as a media personality, especially today, you can easily become breaking news, in a bad and good way.

If you keep it simple, as Google or Amazon did, then you will have an excellent head start for marketing strategy. Nevertheless, coming up with such a name is not easy and sometimes can even be torture.

For example, the latter company was named after the river because at the time website listings were alphabetical. In addition, the name was to allude to the biggest bookstore in the world, just as Amazon is the longest river.

The above-mentioned Apple was actually named after the fruit, as was revealed by Steve Jobs in Walter Isaacson’s biography. At the time, Jobs was on a diet, just came back from an apple farm and had to think of something very quick. Apple sounded like something “fun, spirited and not intimidating” as Jobs explained.

Therefore, that is how his life inspired his creativity and helped him come up with the simple yet powerful name in the business world today.

Avoiding mistakes

Coming up with the name is even harder today when start-ups are appearing everywhere. Besides looking for something catchy you have to see an IP lawyer to protect your name and not use anybody else’s.

If you infringe on another company or person and already invest in the complete marketing campaign, you may be at the loss right from the start. Not only will you experience financial issues, but also your reputation may take a punch as well.

When you come up with a name, say it aloud and try to use it in a sentence. You can even create an anonymous survey to see which solution sounds better to potential customers. Although this may seem like an expenditure, it will be a one necessary to test if you came up with the right solution.

Clichés are something to avoid, as well. They can bind you to a certain aspect of your business activity and prevent you from expanding. For example, Silky Hair Salon is the name which means that you only provide hairdressing services.

That may as well be true in the beginning, but you might consider growing your business to a full-blown spa centre or beauty salon one day. With this name, you would have to rebrand and start the marketing from the beginning which is a waste of time, money and resources.

Final thoughts

Approach naming your business as a serious and demanding part of the business. Don’t expect it to be easy since it shouldn’t be and always look for that extra edginess that will be different from your competitors. Above all else, it should stand for quality, expertise and class.

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