Why Your Small Business’s Name is Important

How to design a brand identity that draws people in.

Even if you’re the very best at what you do, without a solid brand strategy your business faces a significant disadvantage. The competition will eat you alive if you can’t find that one thing that separates you from the rest.

And your strategy can’t just focus on your product’s increased functionality or on your professional credentials. To gain attention, your brand needs to speak from the heart so that it can earn the interest — and eventually the loyalty — of your potential clients and consumers. And what better way to begin sending a message than through your name?

Consider the following questions: Why should people pick your brand? What do you represent, and how do you wish to express it? After answering these questions, you’ll be ready to start challenging the giants out there.

Here are a few tips on how to create a brand name that really reaches people on an emotional level — and some suggestions of what to avoid.

Put Some Thought Into It

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of taking their naming decisions too lightly. Names matter in so many ways. In fact, the wrong one can do serious damage to a business in the long run.

On the other hand, sometimes names don’t prevent a successful business from making it big. Big names (pun intended) like Google, Zynga, and Skype come to mind, though I wouldn’t recommend naming your business after your dog. Your name needs to be a conscious choice.

Avoid Trends

Trends have strange powers to lure us in — but not for long. The same holds true with brand names. Settling on a super hip name that can gain you attention quickly is simply the wrong way to go, unless you know that your business is just as temporary.

If you have as much as a two-year plan, think ahead and let your competitors age themselves. You, on the other hand, want your name to feel just as fresh and intriguing five to seven years from now.

Sell Your Soul

Every company, product, or service has a soul. This is what you want to build your brand name around.

When you express your core values and vision through your name, chances are people will respond to it on an emotional level, which is the way to build a long-term relationship with your target audience.

For example, Verizon is a combination of the Latin word veritas, which means truth, and horizon. Music streaming service Pandora is named after the character of the same name in Greek mythology, who was given the gift of music from Apollo. And Reddit is the Latin translation of the word render, which means to submit for approval— a mainstay of the popular discussion website.

Don’t Say Too Much

Being too descriptive, especially when it comes to names for entire brands, is a big no-no.

At first glance, though, it may seem like the best way to go: A “meaty” name helps people understand what you sell instead of getting confused. But you might want to expand your business in the future and include other products. A descriptive name will always limit your possibilities.

On top of that, it’s a nightmare when it comes to intellectual property rights.

Think Beyond Your Zip Code

Perhaps you have a business name in mind, one that suits your current state — literally. But being homespun won’t really do you any favors. If you consider global expansion from the start, you can save yourself a lot of future trouble.

Evaluate possible names from the perspective of your key markets, and those that could be. This is a necessary step for anyone who thinks big— and you definitely should be thinking big!

Unleash Your Creative Beast

Once your core values are settled, it’s time to start creating your list of names. Go as crazy as you want. Open your mind and write down every idea that pops into your head.

The name you pick will most certainly stick with you for the long haul, so make sure it’s a good one.

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