Beloved writer, poet, author, visionary, and romantic Shakespeare once said:
“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”
Okay, yes, that’s totally true if you’re thinking about a romantic partner, or perhaps your favorite food item.
But when it comes to your brand name, it’s not quite on point, but it does bring up a few interesting points…
First, let’s talk about the rose…
If we’re using Shakespeare’s timeless quote as a metaphor, the rose in this scenario is the product and service you offer.
First and foremost, it has to smell sweet. Meaning it has to sound marketable, and provide true value to the audience you’re trying to convert.
If your product or service were a rose, would it smell good? Would it stand out from a bunch? Are there minimal thorns? Are you picking up all the metaphors we’re putting down here?
If the answer is yes, then your rose, by any other name, would probably smell just as sweet...but still, it’s your brand name that will encourage people to stop and smell.
What’s in a name?
First of all, just like your own name, it’s the first thing people learn about you and it’s the emblem of remembrance for your unique offering.
“Good brand names are seldom arbitrary. They are carefully curated ambassadors of a brand personality that convey its position, tone, and values...The name is also a way to create an emotional connect with consumers, therefore, it should be something that appeals to their sensibilities and something they’d like to be associated with for times to come.”
Important stuff, eh?
Yes, it’s a science.
Not to get all scientifical on you, but there’s actual science behind a brand name.
Let’s break it down in a digestible way.
When we’re kiddos, we begin learning words. Our experience with those different words forms an emotional association we have with them.
For example, let’s say you first hear the word “dog.” At face value, it’s a four-legged furry canine, but if your neighbor growing up had a mean dog, then you might associate the word “dog” with negative emotions.
That means you might think and feel negatively about them in modern-day.
Flash forward to the average adult, who knows about 30,000 vocabulary words, all with their own associations.
When they first hear a word outside of their vocabulary, with no association for them yet, essentially they become a baby again, and a brand has an opportunity to make it a positive, even attractive one.
What do they have in common? They introduce you to a new word with a new meaning, and a new association that they have the power to influence.
Your domain name matters, too.
It kinda goes without saying that your domain name is an equally important aspect of brand names. It’s literally the central hub of everything you are, do, make, provide, value, etc.
Fortunately, if your brand name is a made-up word (because, science) then it should be easy to snag a domain name that isn’t taken.
But don’t let your domain availability drive your name selection process. You can always modify it (teslamotors, steampowered, slideshare.net, punchy.design)
We can’t write an article about naming without touching on trademarking. It’s the most painful part of the process, yet it must be done. Protecting your name is critical. Why you ask? If you don’t protect it, you can lose it. When you register your name you stop competitors from using your name, or anything bewilderingly similar to it.
DIY Trademark searches are a great place to start. Start with Google, Trademarkia, and TESS, the government’s free trademark database or pay for a professional screening before you commit to a name.
HELP! How do I know if I have a good one?
If all this information may have you feeling a little bit confused. Don’t fret, PUNCHY has your back. We’ve helped over half a dozen brands select names through brainstorming, research, and applying tried-and-true strategies.
When in doubt, ask yourself…”Does it make me smile”.
SMILE: The 5 qualities of winning name
Suggestive — evokes something about your brand
Meaningful — resonates with your audience
Imagery — is visually evocative to aid in memory
Legs — lends itself to a theme for extended mileage
Emotional — moves people
Telling the whole story
Obviously, your brand name (and, by extension, your domain name) is only one piece of the brand storytelling puzzle.
There’s also your logo...a huge part of it.
Because your logo associates a visual with your brand name. Both of these properties, in tandem, are what your audience will remember about you right from initial introduction.
How effective your brand name, logo, and its association with a distinct voice/personality, are the success factors for brand positioning and memorability.
You want people to remember you. Your brand name and logo are arguably the two biggest bits to do it.
Pair that with a sweet-smelling rose (i.e. top-tier products or service) and not only will you be memorable, but you’ll be favorable.