|By Newt Barrett||
|October 1, 2009 10:10 PM EDT||
Think Google. Think Bing. Think Kleenex. Think Nike. But most of all think carefully before you attach that all-important brand name to your shiny new product.
That’s the essential advice from Caitlin Randolph of BrandBucket.com in this guest post. BrandBucket teaches companies how to build new brands with a bang by choosing just the right name.
6 Keys to Turning a Terrific Idea into a Successful Product by Leveraging Just the Right Brand Name.
For many start ups, naming a new business or product is even harder than coming up with the perfect name for your firstborn child. By the time your idea is ready to become a product you may find yourself in desperate need of a great brand name. But you may also find yourself a bit too close to your baby to give it the perfect brand name.
We know how hard and how important it is to develop that name so let us shine some new light on the naming of your future brand.
An idea in Need of a Name
In April 2008, Edward, a young entrepreneur needed a unique, meaningful, and memorable brand name for his ready-to-launch product. He had created a scheduling service/widget that makes life exponentially easier for the thousand of professionals who need daily help booking appointments. His challenge was to create a name that was both out of the ordinary and easy to remember.
Here are the lessons you can learn from the steps he took and the missteps he avoided in developing his brand name.
- Don’t pick a common industry or category keyword name. This is the most common branding blunder. Many people have in mind an industry based domain that defines their start up. Common keywords can limit future expansion, not to mention the insane waiting list and price for a name like appointment.com. Edward needed to avoid names like "Simple Scheduling", "Advanced Appointments", or "Book Now" for the scheduling service. These keyword names initially seem helpful and self explanatory but are not only boring and generic, but may also limit future expansion. Instead of the obvious, we came up with Setster.com. The name Setster when broken down has ’set’ and ’ster’ – ‘set’ implies stability, finishing, and putting anything into place. And, ‘ster’ refers to one that does such actions. Setster.com now defines the product and sets a tone more memorably than a keyword could.
- Pick an available .com domain for your brand name. Why? Today, your web address is more important than your brick and mortar address. Avoid the nightmare of building a foundation on a name only to have your .com dreams crumble into a pile of disappointment at the only available .org. Although the lack of a .com address may not spell disaster, .net and .org lack the online clout you need.
- Pay careful attention to your word components. In terms of length, the shorter the better. If directory listings will be critical, keep alphabetical order in mind. Choosing the right word parts will bring intuitive meaning to your brand name. These technical details are what gives the name its look, tone, and memorability. Giving your brand a short yet familiar sounding name will make it memorable. The parts of the word are what gives the unique name a strong connotation that relates to implicit benefits or positive outcomes. Using familiar pieces of a word allows you to avoid standard keywords. For example, ’sym’ or ’syn’ when attached to the beginning of a word will automatically make prospects think of togetherness and collaboration. The name symbiota.com and synovum.com are perfect examples; they have a strong connotation while still being a unique word and name. Use classic roots of words and good old Latin as you brainstorm the creation of your name.
- Make your name memorable in a positive way, even if it doesn’t have an obvious connection to your product’s functionality. Names like Google and Bing are memorable because they are short and roll off of the tongue nicely, even though they have no obvious intrinsic product connection. Google’s name came from a spelling error of the word googol and bing.com is a sound effect. Neither really imply what the business does. But, now we can’t get them out of our minds. Even better, Google has become a verb.
If your name is easy to say, to spell, and to remember without sounding silly, your customers will happily spread the word for you all over the net and into the real world. You don’t have to spell your new word/name a specific way but spell it how it naturally ends up – flickr.com misses their ‘e’ but we don’t need it.
- Pick a name that will retain meaning as you grow and evolve. Southwest Airlines began with a perfect name for its initial Texas route structure. Now it flies all over so the name itself no longer fits. Edward’s scheduling service, Setster, has developed into more than just a ‘book now’ service, but hasn’t outgrown its brand. Make sure that your name will allow you to expand beyond your initial market without needing to consider a painful rebranding.
- Be careful of trademark conflicts, even if the domain you covet is available. Find out if anyone has staked a claim over the name. Searching for the .com first often helps speed up the trademark process. You should avoid any conflict with an existing trademark to avoid expensive future legal issues.
These six elements give you the keys to creating a memorable, meaningful, and long-lasting name. They add up to powerful brandability that will accelerate your product take off and develop even more strength over time.
Want to know how your name ideas stack up on brandability? Use our handy tool to grade your web-based brand name.
For those of you who want to know how your current or future names rate in terms of brandability, we can help you score your domain mathematically. Visit us at: http://www.brandbucket.com/tools.
Summing up: Your brand name can make all the difference in transforming your big idea into a huge success. Use our 6 secrets to tap into your creative side. Don’t be afraid to be bold and inventive. Naming is the first step in branding. So make that first step a big strong leap.
Note from Newt: If you are like a number of my clients and could really benefit from easy online scheduling and related functionality, be sure to check out Setster.com, which can now help you with booking, payments, and e-commerce transactions. Their software now also works collaboratively with Quickbooks and Freshbook.
Needless to say, you’ll be able to learn even more about branding issues from Caitlin and the team at BrandBucket. Give them a visit, too.
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