Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to name a Business or a Brand ?

As a Brand Consultant, I meet a lot of people working on their start-ups or products and also re-branding their 'business'. Most often, the way they choose the names for their businesses is anything but logical. It is usually a name suggested by a friend, the name of their first child or even a suggestion from their old grandmother. While trying to make the Business as unique and 'their own', people seem to forget the Science of naming and how this influences their business at large.

The name of a Business or a Brand goes a long way in its perception in various market and social scenarios. Naming, therefore is a strategic exercise than a something you do before running to the printer to get your business cards done. The more thought you give to it, the better. Here are a few things to be kept in mind while choosing a name for a business.

Clarity: If you want your customers to understand the meaning or message of your brand and this is important to your business, then make sure the name and the message is as clear as possible. For instance, if you sell herbal beauty products and your brand is named after the greek goddess of beauty, then try to make this communication as clear as possible in your by-lines, sales literature and the design of the logo itself. Dont try to use too many elements in your design of the logo and the description of the product or business, it is confusing.

Audience: Like I always say, your brand exists in the minds of your customers, employees, distributors, investors and other stakehholders. Your job is to communicate this brand and its image to them. Everything you do in your business contributes to your brand value and the way it is perceived. An understanding of your target audience, in this case all the people in the above list is ideal in working out a great name for a brand. You want to be sure that your name communicates the right message to the right people, and for this reason understanding your audience is important. Think exposure, education, lifestyles, tastes and anything else that will let you understand them better.

Cultural Context: This is of atmost importance when you are trying to target differnt markets and mixed demographics. What does your brand name mean to people in other places, cultures, languages and countries. If your research shows that the name means anything other than what you want it to say, its time to re-think. The 'Cock Flavored' soup from Jamaica featured here is a classic example of lack of research or ignorance.

Remember, your Brand & the image is here to stay. So make sure the name works for you in the long run. If you are planning to expand to another product range or enter a new segment or try different marketing channels in the future, your name should work seemlessly through all these efforts.

More on How to name your Business or Brand later.

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