Naming Checklist

March 10, 2016

What’s in a name? When it comes to branding your name makes it easier for people to find you, for people to talk about you and essentially for people to trust you. It’s true that a brand by any other name would smell as sweet, and we don’t recommend you get stuck within the naming process for too long, but remember your brand name will be with you for a very long time. Once you have decided on your favourite handful of names, here is our checklist to make sure you choose a great one.

Make it simple

The best names are short and succinct for a number of reasons - quicker to type in (with mobiles on the rise), efficient to include in length constrained channels (such as Twitter), less chance to be shortened by others, easier to be used as a noun (just Google it). As well as being short, it should also be clear - if people can’t pronounce it they won’t share it.

Make it Memorable

For people to remember your name, it must be unambiguous and distinctive. If it sounds similar to existing names, people won’t remember it. The easier your name can be recalled, the more people you are going to reach. To make sure the name you have chosen is memorable - test it on your peers. If they can’t remember it in a few days time, chances are the rest of the population won’t either.

Make it Repurpose-able

This is where your brands strategy for the future comes into play. You may have a simple and memorable genius brand name for your start-up brand, but if your brands purpose changes down the track it’s important your brand name can grow with the business. For example, it makes no sense to name your company after it’s founder, if you are planning to sell the business in five years time.

Make it Timeless

Just like fashion, technology and our modern world, brand names tend to pick up a new trend every few years. A good example is brands dropping the vowels from common words, such as Flickr or Unbxd. But just like a poorly considered tramp stamp, these trends pass. And so too will your brand. Pick a name that will stand the test of time and you won’t be embarrassed of and want to change in five years time.

Check Your Audience

At this point we assume you have done adequate strategy to define your audience. Your brand should have an appropriate name that conjures the right emotional response from them. Again, testing here is key. Find your ideal client, test your brand name on them and watch for their response.

Check the Availability

Although it may seem obvious, your name needs to be available. Is there another business using your name already? If so, your chosen name might still be okay to use, as long as they don’t conflict with each other. Do you want to register your business on a domestic or global scale? Your chosen name might be available within the Australian market. Check your legal rights to the name (trademark, copyright etc.) and make sure you can acquire the domain name you want. Your website url is really important for search reasons as well as brand consistency.

Be Courageous

With all of your testing and gathering responses, remember that ultimately it is your brand and it is going to be what you make it. There will always be someone that doesn’t like your name, that knows a Julie or Frank that bullied them in school or has some negative connotation for the name you choose. Our best advice is to gather these responses, make educated decisions based on these responses and choose your name with confidence. Whatever name you choose, the story you build around your name will be what makes your audience truly love you.

Want some help with your brand name? Give us a call, we’ve got heaps of good ideas ;)

Illustration by Janne Livonen