It’s fascinating looking at all the product and company names that you come across daily whether it’s a B2B or B2C company. There are many companies that have been around 100 years or more that are still highly recognized and respected.
They have persevered the generational changes adapting strategy to the times. Some have made modifications to their name or logo as part of their adapting technique.
Coca-Cola, established in 1886, is a top brand and is also identified as “Coke”.
Federal Express, inspired by their customers, shortened their brand to FedEx.
Brand names and their logos are the most visible identity for a company.
They need to be memorable and used consistently to build recognition. Coca-Cola is a great role model. People can recognize the brand by just seeing a small potion of the logo, red and part of a white letter.
A name is personal.
It is inspired by a vision, a vision of your company and how it makes the customer feel. The winning name reflects your brand personality. The name directs the creative solution for the logo and all the creative and marketing strategy. People will attach emotions to the brand name after they engage and experience the product or service.
Understanding the impact and financial importance of choosing the best name is evident when you consider today’s successful companies and the many that have disappeared in the last few years.
A common naming convention is to use founders’ last names (Heinz; Proctor & Gamble; Black & Decker, Charles Schwab). This is found in all types of industries and business categories. There are other name formats that build a name that is descriptive like Toys "R" Us, Home Depot and Kleenex.
Every product and company name is based on a vision and triggered by an industry need you saw. What you call your company (or product) is influenced by that vision. And, the target audience must be considered in the process because you need them to associate your company with the product or service you sell.
There are specific steps to be taken to find the right name. I have condensed it to four.
- Competitive Analysis
- Finalizing Selection
You could get inspiration from an online name generator, but I only advise that to get your ideas flowing. A computer-generated list doesn’t consider human reactions. A computer doesn’t think like your target audience or understand their emotions or buying triggers. And all the crowd-sourced tools include contributors that are outside of your country who don’t understand the nuances of the US population. They’re not intimately familiar with our slang because US English is not their first language.
Let’s also consider a global audience.
When building a global brand, choosing a name requires an additional step – vetting top choices in other languages and cultures. There is a legendary story about the Chevy Nova that can explain why the vetting has to be expanded when considering going global. The story goes that Chevy Nova cars failed to sell in Latin America because “no va” in their language means “does not go”. Read the article at thoughtco.com.
But, to be accurate, I must point out that the Chevy Nova story is a fable. Read more at snopes.com. The story is worthwhile because it illustrates why you have to consider translated definitions and cultural meanings when vetting your choices for a global name.
A name is personal, a flag in the ground stating promise of quality, value, and relevance.
Strong brands have all that and invest in marketing, customer service and a commitment to remain relevant. You can follow the process to find the name you like and want but if you don’t support it – it will never be strong and have longevity like Exxon, Apple and Pepsi.
If you want to have the tool kit we created for developing your brand name, sign up here and we’ll deliver the link to download.
Read more about brand relevance: