Pepsi. Coke. Apple. All iconic brand names that have stood the test of time. They embody and conjure up entire brands, and in some cases become synonymous with their product or service. Your company name is the umbrella that encompasses your brand, so it’s important that you get it just right. But why are they so important? And how do you find the perfect formula for a brand name? Read on to find out.
Why is your company name so important?
Your company name will appear in your web address, email domain, and your company stationery amongst others. It’s the first thing your customers will see — and first impressions matter. Your company name is vital for building your online brand strategy. Obviously, there’s more to your business than just your name, but people judge books by their covers, so it’s important that yours is done right.
A good company name also lets people know who you are and what you’re about. It conveys your industry, your ethos, and your product or service. Take social media automation service Buffer as an example. The tool literally lets you buffer your social posts, and the brand name subtly and elegantly communicates that to its customers.
But it’s not just your product that your company name can convey. A good brand name can also communicate your personality and ethos as well. An evocative name that subtly conjures up your business personality is the branding gift that keeps on giving.
Brand names done right
There are some great brands out there already that are perfect examples of the efficacy of a good brand name.
For example, Amazon was named after the longest river in the world. Jeff Bezos had visions of creating the biggest bookstore in the world, so “Amazon” was a natural choice. And as it’s grown into the online retail giant it is today, it’s a name that only strengthens its brand.
My personal favorite is cleaning product Ajax, whose slogan is currently “stronger than grease”. The product itself was named after the mythological Greek hero Ajax… who was stronger than all of Greece. It’s incredibly subtle but once you get it, it’s witty and funny enough to make sure you won’t forget it.
Things to remember
Before setting out to find the perfect company name, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Make sure it’s available
In today’s digital age, it’s important that you have a strong web presence. Your website forms a vital part of your branding, and your domain and company name should ideally be the same. When you’re choosing your brand name, make sure it’s available first. Use a domain name search tool to quickly check that it’s free (avoiding disappointment further down the line).
Strive for uniqueness
Your customers aren’t always going to be heading straight to your website. They’ll often find you through search engine queries, so choose a name that is 100% unique, or “sticky”. This will help you stand out in SERPs. This is probably the hardest part of creating your company name, and it’ll take you some time. Finding a name that’s both memorable and unique is tough, but worth it in the long run.
Avoid being overly quirky
While it’s important that you strive for a name that’s unforgettable to your customers, don’t stray too far the other way. Choosing something that’s completely leftfield is a big risk. While it worked for the likes of Google and Etsy, it’s not guaranteed to work for you. Aim for something easily pronounceable and memorable. Social automation tool SproutSocial is a good example of a memorable but unique name that stays with their customers.
Stick to your visual branding
While it’s important that your name sounds good, you always want it to look good too. Your company name will probably form your logo as well, so it’s worth considering how it will look as part of your visual branding overall.
For example, think about your header images for your website and email marketing. It’s important that you find images that will complement your company name. So when you’re curating photography for your site, be discerning about where you’re curating it from. Do you really want to resort to tired stock photos that’ll drag your brand down? Look for sites such as Burst that offer original and high quality images that are a far cry from the usual cringe-inducing stock fare (or hire a photographer for 100% original content).
You should also consider how it’ll translate into your logo. If you’re not in the business of designing it yourself, hire a graphic designer and sit down with them to fully realize your vision. Your company name should have a semantic harmony with your visual branding, so take the time to craft a coherent synchronicity between the two.
How to create the perfect company name
Creating a brand name out of thin air might seem tough, but there are a few simple tricks you can do to quickly find the name for you.
A great way to quickly create a brand name that’s memorable but unique is by simply blending two words together in a portmanteau. For example, Groupon is a combination of “group” and “coupon”, and Verizon combines “veritas” (Latin for “truth”) and “horizon”. Their similarities to real words make their brand names all the more memorable too.
Contrary to popular Western belief, IKEA isn’t an obscure Nordic word. It’s actually an acronym of its founder’s name, and the farm and village in Sweden he grew up in. Acronyms make perfectly good brand names, and ensure your company name is 100% original too.
Myth, history, and literature
A popular naming trend among brands that’s always timeless gets its inspiration from history and literature. As well as our Ajax example earlier, other brands have sought their name from myth and history. For example, Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, and Venus was the Roman goddess of beauty. Finding a big name from history or literature helps lend your brand a little pre-made credibility, which is never a bad thing.
Say what you see
If you’re really at a loss, just say what you see. The supermarket 7-Eleven tells you in its name how long it’s open for (and it’s got a certain ring to it too). And the first product ever made by electronics company Sharp? The Ever-Sharp pencil.
Your brand name is the ‘face’ of your company, the identity of your brand. It’s a core part of your overall branding strategy, so it’s worth putting time and effort into it to get it perfect. What are your favorite brands names?
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant
My work is a labor of love: I get to collaborate with inspiring people and businesses from around the world. I help set them on the road to success by producing effective content marketing and social media strategies.
Categorised in: Brand Marketing
This post was written by Eby Mathew