Selecting a Brand Name
Brand Name is one of the key decisions when bringing a new product to market, particularly if it is going to be under the umbrella of a new brand, is the brand name selection.
There are two approaches to brand name selection.
The first approach is to have a brand name that is somehow reflective of the benefits or unique features of the product. The second approach is to create an unusual or distinctive brand name, perhaps by even creating a new word, with the intent of building brand awareness and brand equity over time.
A Brand Name Reflective Of The Benefits Of The Product
This approach is quite effective since the brand is relatively new, as it gives potential consumers an opportunity to gain some form of understanding of the product of its positioning relatively quickly, from making an inference about the brand name.
Simple examples of a brand name that is tied to the features or benefits of the product include:
- Pizza Hut
- Spray and wipe
- Vitamin water
- Raisin bran cereal
- Toys “R” Us
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
if you’re ready to choose your brand name, here’s our step-by-step guide to doing it.
Step 1: Articulate Your Brand Heart
Before you name yourself, you need to understand who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. To do this, you need to articulate your Brand Heart. This includes:
- Purpose: Why do you exist?
- Vision: What future do you want to help create? What does the future look like?
- Mission: What are you here to do? How do you create that future?
- Values: What principles guide your behavior?
Combined, these elements influence everything you do (including choosing a name).
Step 2: Look at Your Differentiators
Understanding what makes your brand unique is the key to finding a brand name. Your Brand Heart is certainly one thing that makes you unique, but there are also plenty of other things about your business that make you stand out. You want to keep these differentiators front of mind as you move through the naming process. Remember: You aren’t just looking for a great name. You’re looking for a great name for yourself.
Step 3: Brainstorm
Here’s the fun (and sometimes brutal) part. Gather your stakeholders and creatives and host a structured brainstorm. While it sounds fun to let everyone go wild, it’s more effective to provide some sort of guidelines or constraints to work within. You may want to start these discussions with certain prompts or specific exercises.
Step 4: Vet Your Brand Name
This is absolutely the most frustrating part. There’s no point in testing anything that’s already taken, so you need to vet your frontrunners.
Narrow your brainstormed list down to the team favorites (ideally those 15-20), then search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database of registered trademarks. (While you’re there, check out their guide to trademark basics.) If they’re all taken, it’s back to the drawing board. This exercise will surely winnow your list down for you. But if you’re a genius who has somehow found 20 unregistered names on the first try, narrow it down to your top three to test.
Step 5: Test
Now that you’ve cleared the legal hurdle, here comes the most exciting part. You get to create your mockups (think logos, product packaging, and homepages) and test your top three names. You may be surprised at what resonates with people.
Here’s one simple and easy testing idea, courtesy of startup lawyer Steven Cook:
- Build a branded landing page for each name. Use identical copy and only change logo/brand name.
- Run a highly targeted FB ad for your target customers for a week.
- See which page got more conversions.
In conclusion, selecting a brand name is a critical decision that can have a significant impact on a business’s success. A brand name reflective of the product’s benefits or unique features can help consumers understand the product’s positioning quickly. However, an unusual or distinctive brand name can build brand awareness and equity over time. To choose the right brand name, businesses should articulate their brand heart, look at their differentiators, brainstorm with stakeholders and creatives, vet the name, and test their top contenders. By following these steps, businesses can find a brand name that resonates with their target customers and supports their overall brand strategy.