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What’s in a Name?

Selecting the right name for a company, product or service is an important element of building a brand. A well thought out, strategic name can poise a brand for success.

Here are some important factors to consider when deciding on a brand name:

Ownership: Is the name unique and distinguishable? Are you able to trade-mark it? Will people be able to connect the name to you? Goodrich and Goodyear are both tire brands. Which one comes to mind first?  I’ll be you didn’t say Goodrich.

Simplicity: As Chip and Dan Heath convey in their book “Made to Stick”, people are more likely to remember names that are simple. Think about the last time you were introduced to someone who had a unique and more complex name. Was it easy for you to remember? Nike. Coke. Google. Apple. Enough said!

Descriptiveness: Does the name reflect a unique benefit about your product, service or company? Will it fit given the category or industry you’re operating in?

Synergy: Does the name complement your overall corporate vision? Does it reflect your company’s values and ideals?

Positioning: Should your name reflect a position in the market that is unique to your company? For example, Costco, PriceSmart Foods and No Name reflect value brands. A luxury brand might choose a name similar to Infinity.

Media representation: Does your name have a graphic possiblity or some sort of representation on all media?

As you can see, there is lots to consider. Do you have any comments that you would like to add? Please feel free to share them!

  • Graeme McLaughlin

    I am running through this process right now for a new venture. Tough call as on top of the points listed above you need to consider is the domain name available? What about social profiles?

    Then a service like Basecamp makes you think that the product / service being awesome is more important than the name. 

  • Eric Buchegger

    Graeme, you raise some very good points. Companies need to be careful and do due diligence in checking whether potential names are available.