Rebecca Oggenfuss

Strategic Communications | Crisis Management | Brand Storytelling

How to Name Your Brand

5 Simple Steps to Help You Create Your Brand Name with Ease

So, you’ve made the decision to finally launch that business? Congrats! But now it seems the hard part is figuring out what the heck to call it. This is a question I get a lot. Sometimes the choice is more obvious, but not always. If you’re struggling to decide the best name for your new offering, I’ve got a few tips for you.

  1. Brainstorm with a pal. When you’re stuck in your own mind for too long, finding a solution you feel confident in begins to seem impossible. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you think of new ideas. A fresh perspective is so helpful in overcoming our creative hurdles.
  2. Chat with your ideal customer. Do you know someone who fits the profile of your ideal customer? Your target market is the perfect sounding board. You don’t have to go big here, just checking in with a few of your potential customers can help you find your answers. Share your business or product idea with them and then listen to the words they use when they talk about it. The more you can talk about their pain points in their own words, the more meaningful the brand name will be.
  3. Think about the future. Even if you’re just dipping your toe in the water right now, as a business owner it’s imperative that you think long term. If you are too narrowly focused on a single product or service offering, you might struggle to evolve your brand as your business grows. Don’t stress about this too much. If you want to start your online business with a domain in your own name, go for it. There is value in that branding approach, too. Make sure you have spent some time thinking about scalability and your goals for the future before you invest too much time and money in creating your new brand.
  4. Thoroughly research your chosen name. Before I get too attached to a brand name, I make sure to check and make sure that there isn’t already a trademark or copyright on the name I like. The same goes for domain names, and social media channels. Even if the exact name you want is available, think strategically about the potential for any brand confusion. For example, I recently came up with a brand name for a project that I LOVED only to discover that a bogger in Australia was using the same name for a service he was offering. Even though the domain name and social channels were available, he used the phrase a lot in his blog and as a result there were a lot of search engine results for that particular brand name. I decided that it was not worth running the risk of brand confusion and chose instead to come up with a different brand name.
  5. What’s in a name anyway? I will spare you the brand strategy lecture and instead point out that your chosen brand name doesn’t have to already have a meaning because you are going to give it one. Think about it, Google, Xerox, Kleenex; none of these brands meant anything until some talented marketers gave it a meaning. Now we say “Google it” instead of search for it, “Xerox it” instead of make a photocopy, and we ask for a Kleenex even when we know it’s a generic brand. Do you see my point?

At the end of the day I encourage you to make sure that you love the name you choose for your brand. Just like in naming a pet or child, you’re going to be saying the name a lot, so you better love it!

Are you stuck trying to come up with your next big brand name? Let me know!