Creating New Business - What's in a name? Part 1

Ever shuddered from a soon-to-be parent giving you the 'what we want to name our baby' speech? It should be a simple procedure; think of a few syllables that sound nice that don't remind you of someone you dislike and voila! But no, once some ideas are started you then open up to more and more, and before too long they're touting something like "Anastasia-Dakota-Mango" whilst forgetting what you were meant to achieve in the first place, causing difficulties in the schoolyard, sports and everything else. Branding and business names are much the same, focus too much on your own pride and wittiness and your actual end product gets left behind. Your name may not connect to client needs or be memorable enough to have any effect.

In the online world it is crucial that your name brings early attraction and attention when you need it the most, and carries the value of your business into every space it touches. It is the first touch point that carries your value proposition textually and visually, and the longest lasting asset you have, but don't let that stress you out! Let's look into some different ways you can approach the naming process and important naming categories that should help you formulate ideas to be proud of.


Name Types


This is where 'what you do' or 'how it's done' is imprinted into the name itself. This can be as basic as 'Sydney Massage' where you're following a well-known grain that helps people identify what you do very quickly. This is usually preferable if you're not trying to break the mould with your service, but rather cater to a particular area or customer base.
On the other hand, if you'd like your core benefit and what sets you apart to be as clear as possible you can get more involved. For example: 'Vistaprint' puts a nice visual term and the core service of printing into one new word. 'Lite n' easy' describes their product, hints that it is a food category, and sets them up for a branding personality in just 9 letters. 'Hotmail' and 'Gmail' are product names of larger entities that have made their positioning very simple for all users.

  • Efficient branding and customer understanding
  • Great benefits for your URLs and SEO if you can claim your name
  • Opportunities to re-use the name on different products and visual spaces
  • May limit your expansion further down the track
  • Can be difficult to find a niche that doesn't have similar competitors


Metaphoric / Emotion-relative

Amazon don't sell rainforests, and ebay don't sell bays. What they have in common is that they give you the feeling of a large and expansive place where anything is possible. For this reason they can move into just about any area they please.
An example of the emotion-relative notion is easily explained when you look at French sounding names in the fashion and fragrances industries. If it's more difficult to pronounce, chances are you'll be paying more for a premium product. Have you noticed how Target has been promoting the use of the French "tar-jay" pronunciation? Funnily enough their clothing lines seem to have risen in price.
A big online trend in metaphoric naming and logo use has been the influx of anthropomorphism. Firefox, Linux, Bronto and many more use animals to give you different feelings instantly. The Firefox fox is quick and cunning, and makes you want to befriend and attach yourself to it a lot more than a large 'e'. If you want to go down this path, be sure to match what makes you stand out to how you your audience should feel when they become involved with your business.
  • Quick connotations about your brand personality help alleviate 'complex' services offerings
  • Allows you to expand into different offerings more easily further down the track
  • Requires strong, ongoing marketing to stand out in the consumer's mind
  • Deviating from the 'feeling' that your logo and name give could weaken your overall image


Personal name progression

Some of the largest and longest running companies in the world started as the founder's surname. With this technique you can avoid several branding pitfalls simultaneously as a human name doesn't necessarily make promises.
  • You can use this in conjunction with the function-specific approach and always come across highly professional. Eg: 'Smithson Therapy'
  • Used by itself it is unlikely that you will ever need to change the name
  • People are more accustomed to remembering names in their day to day dealings
  • If you are a services business, you can use the name's owner as a figurehead for the quality of your work to help drive expectations and create a great brand story
  • You will have to get more creative with making a relevant logo
  • You may also miss out on the early benefits of the first two techniques, especially for SEO
These name categories should give you a better idea of the direction your business would like to take. In the next article we will be looking into how to link the name to a logo, common mistakes to avoid and plan your name for online readiness.


Crank Films and Cambodian Kids Can - One Good Turn Deserves Another

Many of our clients and readers will be aware that for over five years we have supported Cambodian Kids Can which provides a home for underprivileged girls in rural Cambodia. We are also supporting a library, an English and IT school and developing various social enterprises in the provinces to develop self-sufficiency. Quite 'out of the blue,' Crank, an Australian film group contacted us to develop a promotional video from concept to post production. Crank are a media production company geared towards telling stories across all mediums - television commercials, new media content, music videos, documentaries, feature films, and video games.
This brilliantly shot and touching piece highlights the discrepancy between a girls upbringing in rural Cambodia against places such as Australia. Might we suggest that if your business or company is looking for a marketing edge through film or video, Crank Films would be great people to talk to, or refer someone to, as ... "one good turn" deserves your support!
You can view what they have produced here


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