Stand OutNaming your business can be tricky. If you want to build your brand (who are we kidding, of course you want to build your brand—who doesn’t?), you’ll want to choose a name that sticks in people’s minds. But be careful! Choosing the wrong name for your business can be detrimental—it can lead to your target market forming the wrong opinion about your business, its products or services. Choosing a name for your business can literally make it, or, it can break it.

So, you’ve got to take your time, do your research, and choose wisely (insert “Indiana Jones” joke here).

But how else is it done? How do you really name a business? People don’t just wake up one day and POOF! They’ve come up with a name like Kleenex or McDonalds. Nope. It takes a lot more effort than you might think to come up with a winning brand name for your business.

My advice? Enlist the help of a branding expert to assist you in your all-important business name search. And ask around. Ask around A LOT.

What Does It All REALLY Mean?

Hiring a branding expert can only take you so far. You, the business owner and leader, need to step up and do your part to make sure your business gets the best possible name. It’s smart to start by brainstorming. Literally sit down and think about what you want your business name to communicate to your customers. What does your business do in the first place? Is there a way to incorporate that into the name somehow?

The more your business name says about what your business actually does, the less you will end up having to explain it to customers—which will end up saving you time AND money.

But beware—sometimes a very specific name can carry TOO MUCH meaning with it. For example, say your business is located in Chicago, and you decide to add the city name to your brand. How will that affect the customers in California? Or your sales in New York?

Be creative when you name your business, but make sure your target market has an idea of what you’re trying to infer with that creativity.

Names that are too creative may end up lost in translation, making your brand name all but worthless, which is the WORST thing that can happen to your brand.

Your Brand IS Your Baby

Growing your brand is like watching your own child grow up. You love your brand, cherish it, want to protect it and help it grow into a successful young adult. Your brand IS your baby, and that’s as it should be. But consider this—naming your brand can have a significant influence on the way your brand turns out, well, ‘growing up.’

Your brand has an identity, and its name will inevitably shape that identity. Just as a child grows up in the world, your brand will evolve within the consumer market, and its name will help to point it in the right direction. The right brand name will keep your brand moving forward, developing in the right ways and making you a proud, happy parent. The wrong brand name will do the opposite. It will influence your brand in the wrong direction, away from your target market, and worse, into a pool of identity-confused brands that aren’t so much growing up and developing as they are stagnating and living in their parents’ proverbial basements.

You know these brands—you can’t remember their names, because they’re not memorable. But—you see them on the bottom shelf at the grocery store, or hidden away behind the brand names that people recognize, and thus, end up buying.

Names are so important in our culture that there are entire websites dedicated to baby names. Just like naming a brand, when you choose a name for your child, you must consider the origin, the current meaning, any possible future interpretations, the look, the sound and the overall feeling.

Literally EVERYTHING matters when it comes to naming. When you think of your brand like your own baby, you begin to realize how important it is to choose a name that fits what you want and hope that brand’s identity to someday be.

Whatever you do, it’s smart to back up your brand naming strategy with a great marketing strategy.

That’s the best possible way to ensure that your brand gets the attention it deserves from your coveted target market.

Image courtesy of Flickr User akshay moon

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