Brand Naming Tips

Brand Naming Tips for Your New Company or Product

One of our favorite things is to help clients come up with that perfect name. Whether it’s for their new company, service offering or product (or even their pet!), there’s something super energizing about wordsmithing your way to the name that says it all.

While we can’t get enough of the brainstorming phase, many times clients come to us with a name they’re already smitten with, and they’re not looking for us to start from scratch. What they’re really looking for is some advice that will help them know 100% that this is the name for them.

So below are some tips to help you look at your name objectively so that short-lived infatuation doesn’t lead you down an unexpected path. We want you and your new name to be that little old couple still holding hands into their golden years.

Step 1: Ask yourself the following brand questions.

  1. Brand fit: Instinctively, does this name fit your brand?
  2. Read- (and say-) ability: Is this name easy to read and say?
  3. A-Z: Are you hoping to get your name at the top of an alphabetical list?
  4. Social media: Does this name need to be attached to like-named social media handles? (This is a consideration if you choose a long name or one with numbers or symbols.)
  5. Imagery: Does this name offer fresh graphics possibilities (for logo design)?
  6. The 12-year-old test: Could a 12 year old turn this into something you’re not comfortable with?
  7. Call in the troops: Who can you ask to help you? Ask those who know you well (and who will be honest and constructive) to answer these questions, too, to provide a second pair of brand eyes.

Step 2: See who else might be using that name.

  1. Do a few Google searches using keywords and phrases related to your brand. Who else is using that name (or something similar) and what are they doing? (Another cool resource to check is domainr.com.)
  2. Check your state’s Secretary of State website to see if your new name is already taken. (For Colorado, this is where to go.) If not, then great! If so, dig a little deeper to see if they’re in your industry and offer the same services or products you do. If they do and you still want your name, it’s time to call in a brand legal eagle.
  3. Check social media to see if someone is using a handle similar to your new name. If they are, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use that name. Make sure they’re not in your specific industry or offer what you’re offering. Also check their online reputation. You don’t want a negative connotation created by another brand to follow you around.

Step 3: Play around.

If you’ve gotten this far, then you’re probably on the right track. Congratulations! But there’s one more step that can help confirm that you and your new name were meant to be.

  1. Play with variations of your name: Try your name in all upper- and lowercase, with ampersands, etc., to see if the name spells something unintentional.
  2. Combine your name with clarifiers. A “clarifier” in this sense is a word or combination of words that describes the industry you’re in or the service you provide. For example, if you’re a web developer and deciding on your new company name, you might combine your name with one of the following clarifiers to help communicate even more what you do. (And you can hear how everything sounds when you say them together, knowing before it’s too late if your new name will be harder to say.)
    • Web
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Website Development
    • Website Design & Development
    • Web Studio

There you go! We hope these tips help you during your brand naming journey. If you have any questions about these naming tips or would like help with a new naming project (yes, please!), give us a shout.

Happy naming!