Naming is one of the key branding processes. Its main goal is to develop a strong, suitable name for a product, brand, company, project, or startup. The name forms the first impression, the image of the brand. Often, it is naming that determines what place your company will occupy in the market and the minds of the target audience.
Some businessmen believe that the development of the name is the tenth thing. The main thing is that the product is good. But history knows many examples of when an unsuccessful name led to the collapse of a marketing strategy. For example, sales of Bledina baby food failed in Russia. And the well-known noodle “Doshirak” was originally called “Doshirak.” And only timely renaming helped the products to find their niche in the market.
How to come up with a company name
There are many stories on the Internet about how unknown companies almost randomly chose a name for themselves and became leaders in their market segment. Most likely, these are legends designed to attract the attention of consumers. After all, when an organization is faced with registering a trademark, there are many difficulties. The first and main problem is a lot of competition. Usually, the most interesting, good, and suitable ideas are already taken. Yes, and not particularly euphonious combinations of words may already be registered. And with free domain names, things are even worse.
At this moment, as a rule, the realization comes that it will not work to come up with a company name in a couple of hours. And to solve this problem, you will need to work actively.
Next, we will analyze the main stages of naming, following which you can create a working name.
1 step. Market analysis
An in-depth study of market conditions and the nuances of the target audience helps to display the real picture of the segment and determine the vectors for the environment of the future brand, insight, and consumer desires.
It is necessary to analyze the project itself. It suggests:
- assessment of the company’s positioning;
- definition of a portrait of the target audience;
- analysis of price characteristics;
- highlighting the main nuances of a product or service;
- definition of advantages, features of a trade offer, etc.
An equally important nuance in the development of naming is the analysis of the experience of competitive companies. It is necessary to study the most effective names of key competitors to understand how the target audience relates to them. This way, you will identify a positive associative map and anchor semantic accents for the upcoming naming.
2 step. Understand your classes of the Nice Classification.
The abbreviation MKTU stands for International Classification of Goods and Services. This generally recognized systematized list allows you to register trademarks correctly. Goods and services for which trademarks are registered are divided into classes based on the criteria of their similarity in terms of functions, purpose, or principle of operation.
The first intuitive desire is to get the maximum rights by registering a trademark in many classes of the Nice Classification. This may be too costly. In addition, only large companies can fully develop economic activity in many areas.
Don’t go to the other extreme, either. In practice, it has been proven that no matter how narrow your field of activity may seem, it can almost always include components belonging to different classes.
When choosing certain categories, remember that the more classes that stand out, the more difficult it is to develop a naming. So, finding the original name in class 29, which combines food products, will be the hardest.
3 step. Understand company positioning and USP.
A good, effective name needs to be lived and felt. It is even worth loving it so that customers will love it later. To resolve the issue, it is necessary to clearly understand the positioning of the company and its image in the target audience’s imagination. This is a constant characteristic of the company, its place in the market, and the answer to the question: “What is this company about?”.
Understanding all the nuances of the unique selling proposition is also important. These characteristics of a brand or its products distinguish it from competitors and make it noticeable in the market.
Having understood the positioning and USP, you can start generating ideas. There are many tips on how to come up with a brand name. Here are a few working, simple naming methods:
- personal names, surnames of business owners;
- names of heroes from myths, legends, and literary works;
- anthroponyms (historical figures);
- nicknames, nicknames, pseudonyms;
- hypernyms (words with a broader meaning, expressing a common generic concept);
- toponyms (names of geographical objects);
- natural phenomena;
- acronyms (abbreviations);
- quotes from films, cartoons, and books;
- alliteration (repetition of identical or homogeneous letters, syllables);
- transliteration (character-by-character transmission of individual words between languages);
- naming trails (figurative);
- neologisms (new, invented words).
4 step. Make a list of naming requirements.
To choose a name for the company, which will be extensive, memorable, and effective, you need to make a list of criteria. It could be:
- the most acceptable positioning reflection;
- the main advantages and values of the company;
- advantageous selection among competitive enterprises;
- no negative associations or translations in other languages;
- possibility of legal protection;
- The presence of a free domain in certain domain zones.
5 step. Weed out unsuitable options.
Often, experts offer brainstorming as an answer to how to choose a brand name. This is a method of solving problems in which the participants in the discussion generate the maximum number of ideas. Sometimes among them, there are very extravagant options. However, they also have the right to life, which can become the basis for a good idea. However, 95% of the versions on the list of possible names will likely be redundant. To get rid of them, use the criteria from the fourth step.
After that, choosing the right one from several options will be easy.
6 step. Testing
It is not enough that you and your immediate environment like naming. You always need an outside perspective. For this, expert testing is conducted with philology, psycholinguistics, and marketing professionals. The correctness of the name should also be assessed by the creative director, copywriter, and others.
Sometimes, to determine the leaders among the proposed names, focus group testing is carried out. This approach helps to evaluate the reaction of the intended target audience to the product or brand.
7 step. Check for cleanliness, choose a domain, and register.
An obligatory stage, without which developing a company or brand name is impossible, is a legal purity check. It is necessary to check your version with the list of names in the database of registered trademarks. In addition to checking one or more classes of the Nice Classification, a search for analogies is carried out on the Internet.
Next, a suitable domain is selected. Usually, it is consonant with the name itself.
Finally, an application for trademark registration is submitted.
Five simple tips for great naming
We figured out how to come up with a cool brand name. And now, we offer a few tips that will help you quickly and efficiently implement all the stages of naming:
- Pay enough attention to preparation. You and your team must clearly understand the brand’s mission, values, and uniqueness. Scattered beliefs, tastes, and visions of each of the decision-makers will lead to the absence of a unanimous verdict at the final stage.
- Identify clear tasks and goals and name priorities. At first, you will want to fill the name with all the advantages you know at once, but the name is not dimensionless. Try to highlight 2-3 of the most important meanings and advantages and make them the basis of the name.
- Don’t limit creativity. When brainstorming, don’t put limits on yourself and the team. Let your imagination run wild, and you will find something suitable and creative.
- Don’t be afraid to weed out bad options. Even among hundreds of names, you will have to choose only one. To facilitate this task, you can use the author’s technique of “Seven Filters” (semantic, phonetic, stylistic, associative, marketing, emotional, legal). You can easily narrow the list to one best option by running the shortlist through these filters.
- Feel free to break patterns. Sometimes there is not enough courage to create a high-profile name. Remember, sometimes, not following the naming laws leads to amazing results.