Choosing a brand name may seem easy enough, but it is a very important decision. Your brand name is the crowning jewel for your brand and/or company. Think about the brands and companies you love to buy products or services from. Their brand names probably make you feel a particular emotion when you think about them. But how do you go about choosing a brand name that will resonate with your customers? There is a lot to consider and you should put a lot of thought of work into it. Choosing a brand name that is terrible can be disastrous, so choose wisely!
What to Know Before Choosing a Brand Name
There is no specific magic formula to choosing a brand name but there are a few things that good brand names have in common.
This list of traits is helpful when trying to sort through possible brand names. But there is one question that will really help you determine whether a brand name will be successful: “Does it resonate with people?” Knowing what will resonate with people, and more importantly your target audience, is the first step in choosing a brand name that will be successful for your business.
Choosing a Brand Name Should Start with your Ideal Customer
It’s helpful when choosing a brand name to understand who your ideal customer is. This will help you know what will capture their attention and hopefully turn them into loyal paying customers. A poorly chosen brand name can turn your customers away, so knowing what messaging they are most likely to gravitate towards will help you choose a great brand name.
Your Brand’s Archetype Can Help in Choosing a Brand Name
You can also try taking this quiz to find your brand’s archetype, which give you an idea of what your brand would look like if it were a person. To give you an example: I took the quiz as if I were starting a content marketing agency that helps small businesses with creating content and distributing it to help them become thought leaders in their industry. I got the brand archetype ‘Sage,’ which has the motto of ‘the truth will set you free.’ It also has a goal to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world, and talents of wisdom and intelligence. The quiz also gives examples of existing companies that share your brand’s archetype. My examples were BBC, CNN, Gallup, and PBS. These results are pretty spot on for how I would visualize the agency as a person.
Try a Name Generator when Choosing a Brand Name
Name generators can make choosing a brand name easier because they give you tons of ideas based on words you enter. I visited this name generator to help me drum up some name ideas for my content marketing agency. I typed in the word ‘content’ and was given 100 business names containing that word. In my opinion, most of them are pretty terrible: Content Business, Digital Content, Content Tornado, etc. But I did find ‘Content Genius’ which is PERFECT! This name is spot on from the brand archetype from the quiz results, and it is in-line with the quirky, yet smart vibe I’d want the agency to have. While it may take some digging through junky names, you just might find exactly the brand name you were looking for.
Make Sure It’s Available and Protect It
Once you’ve found the perfect brand name, make sure it’s not already taken by someone else. You don’t want to spend considerable time, money, and effort constructing your brand around a name that’s already being used. Check to see if there is a URL or domain available with your brand name in it. For example, ContentGenius.com is not available. But since Content Genius is a content marketing agency, I could sign up for ContentGenius.agency which is available (for only $1.99 through GoDaddy!). Don’t be discouraged if your brand name isn’t available with .com at the end, as there are other options available that might still work!
After you’ve researched your URL/domain, BEFORE you purchase it, you’ll want to check to see if anyone has trademarked your brand name. Head to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and do a quick search for your brand name. Start with a ‘Basic Work Mark Search (New User)’ and type in your brand name. When I searched for Content Genius, it came back with no records, which means no one has it trademarked! If you see someone has trademarked your brand name, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board of choosing a brand name. But hopefully you have found some other options in your research that might work so you don’t have to start all over again. Filing for a trademark can be tricky, and I’d recommend hiring a trademark lawyer to help you navigate all of the paperwork. But if you don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer, check out the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website for information on how to file a trademark application yourself.
Choosing a brand name should not be taken lightly and demands thorough research and testing. Don’t be afraid to make up your own either! There is no rule that says your brand name has to be a word that’s already in use. Use your imagination to combine words or create a whole new one – the sky’s the limit! Your brand name is the crowning jewel of your entire brand, so treat it like the queen that it is!