3 Ways to Find The Perfect Name For Your Brand
There's so many cool things you could learn simply from speaking with startup founders. Personally, I've heard some of the most intriguing, funny, and quite frankly—craziest stories from startup founders about how they were able to bring a thought in their head to life by starting their business.
Amongst the craziest of stories I’ve heard from startup founders, many involve just how arduous and nerve-wrecking of a process they went through when it came to choosing a name for their business.
From not being able to sleep at night due to thinking about it. To playing Scrabble incessantly hoping the right word would magically appear. Even going to see hypnotherapists to help put them under so they could conjure up the ideal name or have an epiphanic moment in a dream; when it comes to finding the right name for their business—founders have gone through great lengths to make it happen.
If you already have a great idea for your brand, understand how you’ll get it off the ground, and you’re ready to take the leap of faith to bringing it to life but just need to find the perfect name—here’s a few ways to do it (and no, it does not involve hypnosis).
The specific approach
This may be hard to believe, but many founders have said that the process of coming up with the right name for their business was more difficult than the process of deciding the first and middle names of their actual children! Isn’t that crazy?
A great way to simplify the process of choosing the right name for your brand or company and alleviate the stress and brain cramps that come along with it, is by specifying the message that you want to convey to not only the general public—but specifically to your target audience.
That begins by thinking of just what picture you want to paint on the canvas that is your audience’s mind whenever they see, read, or hear the name of your brand.
“Specific names that conjure up mental images are more powerful than abstract names.” Writes author and brand positioning expert, Laura Ries, in her book, Battlecry. “Burger King is a better name for a food chain than Sandwich King. Red Lobster is a better name for a seafood chain than Red Seafood. Boston Chicken is a better name than Boston Market; chicken is a lot more specific than market.”
One way to be specific with your name is by combining two words that either describe what your business will provide to its customers or what it aspires to become. For example, ThoughtSpot (formerly known as Scailigent) is a Silicon Valley-based AI-powered startup that allows users to receive insights and answers to questions pertaining to their business.
Whenever users need to search across billions of rows of data in seconds to find information pertaining to their business, they turn to ThoughtSpot—which like NetFlix, is a brand name that specifies exactly what the company wants to be known for (needless to say, ThoughtSpot is a much better name than Scailigent).
Also, a bonus benefit for being specific when naming your brand is that it also helps people remember your brand’s slogans. As stated in Battlecry, “Specific names are much more effective than abstract names. They also make more memorable slogans.”
The symbolic approach
Since the beginning of time, humans have always been susceptible to receiving a great story. Which is why another one of the top ways to choose the perfect name for your brand is by connecting it to a great story. Especially a story that is symbolic of what you want your brand to represent.
For example, there was a goddess in Greek mythology who was known to personify greatness in all fields. From war, art, music, to athletics, this goddess was the personification of victory in every domain.
Unfortunately, if you were thinking of associating your brand’s name to this symbolic figure, someone has already beaten you to the punch. And that founder's name is Phil Knight. And the name of his brand and that Greek goddess is Nike.
Many other iconic founders have also taken the symbolic approach by connecting their brand’s name to a great story. These are a few you may have heard of:
Apple — The apple is symbolic of the falling apple observed by Sir Isaac Newton which led Newton towards the concept of gravity. Today, Apple is a brand that is synonymous with innovation and brilliance—as was Sir Isaac Newton.
Mustang — What’s the first thing you think of when you picture a wild mustang? Powerful? Fast? Graceful? Beautiful? It’s no coincidence that you probably think of Mustang vehicles the same way.
Tesla — Named after famed Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, much like its namesake, Tesla is a brand known for being future-forward and ahead of its contemporaries.
The key to a successful symbolic approach when coming up with a perfect name for your brand is that there must be a sensical connection between what your brand represents and the symbol. So, while Nike is a great name for an athletic apparel company, it would be a terrible name for a fast-food franchise.
The definitive approach
If neither the specific nor the symbolic approaches have fostered an ideal name for your brand, another great option to find one is what I call the definitive approach.
Definitive named brands are brands whose names either literally or figuratively define what they do or want to be known for within the definition of the word.
These are a few brands that have hit home runs by taking the definitive approach with their names:
Kind — The word kind is defined as, “Generous, helpful, and thinking about other people's feelings.” A great name for a snack food brand that’s on a mission to positively impact the world.
Prudential — The definition of prudential is, “Exercising prudence especially in business matters.” A perfect name for a financial services brand.
Replenish — The definition of replenish is, “To fill something up again.” Which is why it’s an ideal name for a hydration beverage brand.
As with the previous two approaches, in order for the definitive approach to truly resonate with your brand’s target audience, there needs to be a logical link between the word you choose and what your brand does, what it stands for, and what it aspires to represent.
Although choosing the perfect name for your brand could be quite the daunting task, by taking one of the three approaches listed above, it’ll become much easier to find a name for your brand that both you and your audience will love.
If you’d like further help with selecting the perfect name for your brand, contact us to become a Decryption client and collaboratively—we’ll come up with a name that’ll make all of your competitors jealous.