Starting a business isn’t just about hanging up a sign and serving customers. Online presence and branding are more important than ever. More and more, buyers seek out relatable businesses, ones that inspire a sense of trust and expertise and ones that seem to reflect their values. The shift from people buying from nationwide, big-box stores makes branding increasingly crucial for small and medium-sized businesses.
Building your brand includes creating a personality for your business, but it all starts with finding the right name for your brand. We’re talking today about how to choose the right brand name for your business and why it’s essential for your marketing initiatives.
Your brand name is how customers remember you. Potential buyers want to quickly identify what kind of business you have and what they can expect when shopping with you. Do you offer fast and easy service? Are you a trusted expert in law, taxes, or security? Are you a high-end boutique or a budget-friendly one-stop shop for anything a family needs? Your brand name identifies your business and is often the first impression buyers have of you.
Beyond stating what kind of business you have, a good brand name is also memorable and sets you apart from the competition. A great brand name can be your most valuable asset, drawing people in and engaging them. Great brands can make your marketing more cohesive, from the logo to your business’s cachet. Consider Apple. It started life as a computer brand, then became the face of innovative technology. From the symbolism of an apple to the iconic bite of the logo, the brand name Apple conjures up a specific perception of both the product and the consumer.
You may not be the next Apple, but with the right brand name, you, too, can craft the image of your business that sets you apart.
Selecting the right name to convey who you are as a business means taking a look at the “heart” of your business. Ask yourself a few questions to create a personality for your business, which can help with your brand name and overall marketing and branding.
Once you have a sense of who you are as a business and brand, it’s now time to examine what you do and who you are. These are what makes you different from your competitors. It would be best if you considered performing a competitive analysis of other businesses like yours in the area and then use this information to find your voice. You may notice through your appraisal that you offer niche services or goods that many others may not, and capitalizing on this niche market can help you find a name that appeals to your niche customers.
If you see something that makes you stand out, keep it in mind when you begin brainstorming your brand name.
Choosing a great brand name is an exercise in creativity, and it starts with brainstorming. Brainstorming helps get the creative process started, allowing your mind to flow and ideas to piggyback off one another. During the brainstorming process, no ideas are bad ideas. Just let the process flow, and feel free to grab a friend or your business partner to help with the process.
As you brainstorm, write down everything that comes to mind, including words that refer to your business or phrases that make you think about your business and what you offer. Don’t worry if some things sound lame – the point is to allow word associations and mindful consideration of your business to flow. Once you’ve exhausted your creative process, you should have plenty of options.
The next step to creating your ideal brand name is to parse down the ideas you came up with during the brainstorming process. You can start by ruling out ideas that are not a good fit and shortlist potential names. You may find, during this process, that you can combine some of the names into new combinations.
Create your shortlist, then ask for feedback. You may be able to reach out to others in your industry through your professional connections or your area’s Chamber of Commerce. This is an agency that promotes local businesses and is a resource for business owners. The Chamber itself may also be a resource for you, so feel free to reach out and ask for input from others.
When asking for feedback, have people say their perception of that business and what they’d expect if they patronized it. You may find that some names you like don’t actually convey your ideas to customers or that the names don’t quite represent the image you wish to project. This can help you get an outside view of what potential customers will think about your brand.
The perfect brand name can vary from industry to industry, but a few key things genuinely make a brand memorable and relatable. Your name should be:
These criteria can help you vet your shortlist of names, but ultimately, the correct name should resonate with your customers and pique their interest.
The right brand name may not happen immediately, and it may take a while to find one that resonates with you. However, It’s essential to have an authentic brand name, one that’s memorable as well as one that conveys who your business is and what you’re all about. Plus, once you’ve set the right band name, you can begin building your brand, using social media and more traditional marketing practices to increase your customer base and generate new leads. Effective branding is an integral part of building your business.