You are excited that you finally have a chance to bring your brilliant business idea to life. You have a plan detailing the product or service, and you even have an idea about the ideal location for your new business. But wait a minute; what will you call your brand? The challenge of creating a brand name is faced by every person starting a new business, and the success they register in answering this important question depends on how well they navigate the different aspects/challenges of coming up with a brand name. We discuss some of those challenges below.
After brainstorming possible brand names and coming up with a shortlist, the first hurdle is to establish whether those domain names are available, especially those having the .com extension rather than other lesser known extensions.
If the brand name you came up with is in a highly competitive industry, chances are that someone already beat you to it and acquired the URL you had in mind. Remember, some people scour the internet for URLs they predict will be in high demand years to come and they buy those domains and wait to resell them.
Avoid changing your brand name just because your desired domain/URL isn’t available. Instead, get creative and come up with a URL that is available until you can get your hands on your preferred domain name. For example, if you plan on selling fresh vegetables and had thought veggie.com would be a great domain for you but it isn’t available, add another short word to veggie, especially a word that is part of the business name you had in mind. In this way, you will get a domain name that suits your brand.
Think About the URL’s Sound and Meaning
It is also important for you to reflect about how your chosen URL rolls off the tongue, and the meanings/connotations it may carry. For example, therapistrising.com (from Therapist Rising) could be read by some people as “the-rapist-rising.com.” You don’t want such a negative connotation linked to your brand, do you?
The Sound and Meaning of Your Brand Name in Other Languages/Cultures
Even if you plan to conduct your business activities in the U.S. only, it is important to do some research about the pronunciation, meaning and connotations of your brand name in different cultures. This is because a negative connotation associated to your brand in another culture could alienate your business from a sizeable chunk of the target market.
For example, if your brand is targeting college students, have you done some research to establish whether the brand/domain name doesn’t have any adverse associations/connotations in the slang used by college students?
It would be best to hire a linguist to perform an analysis of your brand name’s connotations and meanings in different cultures, but if resources are tight, make Google your friend and do the search yourself.
Remember that human judgment is a strong factor in branding. When you establish your business and brand it in a way that has positive associations in the minds of the target market, it will be easier for that brand to take off and become a household name in short order. However, if the chosen brand name carries some human judgment “baggage” it will be harder to overcome those biases against your brand and the brand may fail to take off.
As an example, think about Burger King as a brand. Everyone knows what a burger is, so when this company brands itself as Burger King, it is easy for potential clients to make the right association regarding the objective of this fast food chain.
Another important step that business owners creating a brand name need to consider is ensuring that the brand name they have chosen is available for them to use legally. Don’t be tempted to start your entrepreneurial journey without performing this check from the get-go. Copyright/trademark lawsuits are costly, and it is also very costly to rebrand your business after it has gotten some traction on the market.
It is therefore wise to send your chosen brand name over to the legal department or outsource help in establishing that you will not run into any trademark issues over your chosen brand name. When you get the all-clear from your attorney, proceed with the other steps of getting your business off the ground comfortable in the knowledge that you have saved the money that would have gone to recalling products after losing a trademark lawsuit, the money that would have gone to fighting a bruising legal battle over the brand name, and you will have avoided the confusion that comes with changing product names at a time when customers have become used to the previous name/brand.
In closing, coming up with the right brand name is a matter of striking a balance between being creative, understanding human biases and side-stepping any potential legal issues that could arise as a result of the brand name you choose. All these interests must be kept in mind while not forgetting the overarching values that you want your business to be known for. This is no mean feat, and it is worthwhile to avoid rushing over this task.
If you can, hire some expert help so that you avoid having to repeat this process several years down the road. At the end of the day, you want a brand name that resonates with your passion as a business owner while also touching base in the hearts and minds of your target market. Overcoming the challenges in the discussion above will take you closer to branding your business in a way that will stand the test of time.
To Your Success,