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The Expert Panel was initially published at Forbes.
Our founder and managing partner, Terry Tateossian, gives her take on the subject as well. You could read her opinion under number 10. Follow The Rules When Choosing The Name
Here comes the full article:
Since branding became such a significant part of marketing strategies around the world, several unfounded myths have cropped alongside it. A company’s brand name is its identifier to the world and a promise that it makes to its buyers. It’s obvious why companies are so concerned about getting their branding right, since it can be a make-or-break moment for their marketing.
However, the myths about brand name choice need to be debunked to ensure that companies don’t have to worry about falling into the trap of taking unsound advice. Here, 10 members of Forbes Agency Council try to smash as many of them as they can.
Table of Contents
1. A Name Is Everything
In today’s world, people are searching Google every day for products and services. Having great SEO and making sure your brand is showing up for what you’re selling can have an enormous impact on your revenue, instead of just relying on people remembering your brand name. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
2. Brand Names Need To Be Literal
Brand names do not need to be literal — in other words, they do not need to inherently describe the product or service. Limiting your focus to a literal brand name means you are not looking at the big picture, about what the brand can represent above only features and benefits. Brand names should be hung on a broader sense of identity, not just on what a product is or does. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
3. Your Brand Name Needs To Sound Cool
People love to tell stories, they have to be able to say your name in their own words. While easy recall and originality are still paramount in a new brand or product name, hugely successful companies are defying traditional “board room” logic. Brands like Whole Foods and The Ordinary clearly have ignored a common myth — that the brand name “must sound cool.” – Raja Sandhu, Raja Sandhu Design Studios
4. Make Your Name Stick, Think Of Product After
All too often, branding is too clever by half. We get so focused on how we can make the brand name stick, that we neglect to focus on the actual product. President Obama has commented/joked on various occasions about running for President during the War on Terror with the name Barack Hussein Obama. What brand strategist would have advised that? Products make names great, not the other way around. – Julie Gibson, SJ Consulting LLC
5. The Name Will Determine The Brand
People tend to think that the name will affect the way the customers will perceive the brand, and that’s completely not true. Think about Apple. How self-explanatory is that for a tech company? What makes a brand memorable is the context built around it. Things like the quality of product/service, customer satisfaction, social media presence, marketing, etc. — that’s what will make the name work. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Don’t Be Too Bold With Your Name Choice
With your name, you need to be able to relate to your customers and know the kind of image you want to portray to them. That being said, don’t be afraid to be a little bold with your name if it’s something your customers can relate to. You can use slang, even profanity, if the customers you are trying to attract have those words in their everyday vocabulary. Being bold can make you memorable. – Jason Hall, FiveChannels Marketing
7. Pick A Name Based On Current Trends
Too often, small businesses and startups try to capitalize on trends when they name their business, such as the .ly movement in tech startups. Names should be designed to last for decades and stand the test of time. When companies leverage fads they run the risk of feeling dated quickly and sounding too similar to their competitors in competitive categories such as tech. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships
8. Your Name Depends On The Perfect URL
In any naming in 2020, you spend a lot of time on social handles and URLs. It’s pretty interesting that in a world of search, brands try to make worse names to get better URLs and social handles. In reality the name is so important — you can find ways with URLs and social to make it all work. At the end of the day, the user isn’t thinking about it. Just be findable! – Jackson Murphy, Pound & Grain
9. You Can Find The Perfect Name For You
“There is a perfect brand name.” Wrong. Of course your choice matters, but the meaning of a brand’s name can evolve like a snowball rolling downhill. Think “Google” or “Microsoft” — when those names were first introduced, they may have had internal meaning, but the rest of us were clueless. Over time and with massive success, these names have evolved and gained meaning far beyond their origins. – Bernard May, National Positions
Our first priority in naming companies is to do it in conjunction with domain searching and state registration sites. There are myriad myths around choosing brand names, but the worst is the rule that says there should be rules when choosing perfect brand names. The trick (not the rule) is to create a name that delights and sticks to consumer minds and, of course, is available. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media