What is in a name?

There is a common misconception that a good name is picked in a moment of divine inspiration, or that if you put enough supposedly creative minds in the same room that you will leave said room with a winner that is sure to capture the imagination.

Naming a company, brand, or product could never be described as an exact science. It is however, a strategic process, and one that needs to be taken seriously. Hit a bum note with your name and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle from that moment onwards.

The right name should be timeless and it must be viewed as an asset. Think how often it will be used, not only by your consumers, but in meetings, presentations, emails, on business cards, and across your marketing efforts. Your name says a lot about you as a business, it is often the first point of contact for your brand, so the enormity of the task at hand should not be underestimated or undervalued.

The first port of call is, as always, research. Utilise the results of competitive and language audits to see what terminology exists in your market, and find out where the white space is. Now, this doesn’t mean differentiation for the sake of it, but rather getting a clear idea of what everyone else is doing, of what works and what doesn’t, and then building an evidence-based framework from which to choose a name.

A common mistake that so many new companies make is to position themselves too close to their competition. Why choose a name that invites comparison and then spend great swathes of your marketing budget trying to stand out? Imitation does not equal flattery when it comes to branding.

There is, unfortunately, no escaping the inevitable brainstorming sessions. This will involve hundreds and sometimes even thousands of suggestions and permutations, which then have to undergo trademark screening, language analysis, and domain testing before potentially being worked into a naming architecture, which would then have to be future-proofed to ensure you don’t run into any embarrassing issues further down the line. It is an iterative process that is often dull and frustrating, but in the end if you get it right, entirely worth it.