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This post was last updated 1 week ago by Yusuf Odukoya.
A brand name is often the first thing that people come in contact with. It presents you with a golden opportunity to make a good first impression.
The real question remains whether you want your target audience’s first encounter with your brand to be original, intriguing, engaging, or you don’t mind taking a “little risk” by going for a brand name that may easily sound or look generic. The issue with the latter is that despite looking like a strategic idea at first, the brand may consequently lose its “attraction” because it would eventually blend with so many other (inferior) brands in your industry.
A great brand name is a vital component for brand success, yet so many startups have not placed enough emphasis on this key component as a fundamental part of a viable branding strategy.
Put your emotions aside — Naming a brand is all about the strategic rationale; It’s actually not about you but your target audience.
In this article, we have put together the Top 6 factors to consider when naming a brand.
1. Think about the message
A good brand message should not only convey specific services or benefits but should also be characteristic of your brand values. The wrong message can fail to connect with your customers, or even worse, land you in a legal feud.
A tagline (or slogan) may help to further add some power to your brand message in a few succinct words.
2. Avoid hard-to-spell names.
You don’t want your potential customers to have to rely on Google’s auto-correct algorithm to find your business online.
Choosing to go with a hard-to-spell brand name is a sure way to limit your brand’s online reach due to the following reasons;
- First-timers may find it difficult to type your domain name correctly and may give up after just a few attempts.
- If it is a new brand, it would take far more time than usual for search engines like Google.com to start auto-suggesting it to erring users.
- It would be difficult to memorize.
In summary, if you want to avoid having to continually correct the misspelt version of your brand name both online and offline, just keep it simple from the beginning.
3. Avoid using dictionary words*
You might feel hesitant to agree with me on this one, but I can confidently assure you that the benefits of choosing a non-dictionary name outweigh the detriments — especially as an emerging brand.
Choosing a dictionary word as your brand name means that you already have a strong keyword competition waiting for you. It is very unlikely that your brand would rank above dictionary words on search engine result pages. It would cost you a lot of money, effort and time to even make an appearance on the first page due to the keyword difficulty.
Would you want to put your brand in such a position? Think about it again.
DO NOT use a dictionary word as your brand name if:
- You are a small or medium-scale business
- Search engine optimization and marketing is a big part of your online marketing strategy
- You don’t have an exceptionally huge marketing budget
You may consider using a dictionary word if:
- You have a multi-million dollar marketing budget like Uber, SHARP, etc.
- You have a dedicated search engine optimization team
- Your target audience is largely based offline
4. Rethink your Brand Scope
Brand scope (or brand frame of reference) is a set of products, services, communications and actions that both the stakeholders and the target audience expect from a brand. The brand scope defines the limits to these actions and narrows down what’s “possible” in the future.
Rethinking your brand scope when choosing a brand name allows you to consciously choose between a niche-specific brand name and a more ambiguous one.
If you plan to expand your brand’s scope in the future, you must opt for a less-limiting brand name.
Imagine if Jeff Bezos had picked the name “OnlineBooksUSA” instead of “Amazon.”
5. Domain name availability
Your domain name is crucial to the success of your brand on the world wide web.
The .com TLD is by far the most popular domain extension and generally the best choice for businesses.
TLD stands for ‘top-level domain’ and refers to the rightmost part of every domain name. In branditechture.agency, ‘branditechture’ is the domain name, and ‘.agency’ is the TLD.
There are dozens of domain extensions to choose from asides from the popular .com, however, I strongly advise that you should first consider acquiring a .com domain for your brand even if you would love to acquire an additional “New TLD” or brand TLD.
Here’s a big tip: if a .com TLD still available for the exact spelling of your brand name, then it may be a good indicator of the uniqueness of that brand name.
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Keep in mind, however, that your domain name doesn’t have to be an exact match to your business name (e.g. www.getharvest.com) 👆, but it is generally better if it is.
It is also good to check the availability of your new brand’s potential social media handles.
You can use tools like NameChk.com to easily check the availability of your brand’s social media handle(s) across dozens of social platforms in just a click.
6. Trademark it
By simply having a brand name, you have what is known as a common law trademark for your logo. That means with no additional paperwork, you have the sole legal right to use and amend that logo as you deem fit. However, without an officially registered trademark, your right to ownership of your brand name isn’t as secure as it could be.
A trademark officially confirms ownership of your brand name.
Does my brand name qualify for trademark protection?
If it’s unique enough, it will. If it’s not unique enough, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( or USPTO ), or your country’s trademark office will reject it.
Is a trademark enforceable around the world?
No. Trademarking your brand name only grants you trademark protection in the country where you filed for the trademark. You can apply for a trademark of your brand name in as many countries as you wish.
How long does it take to trademark my brand name?
Trademarking a brand name usually takes between six and nine months from the date of filing an application to issuance. However, it can take up to three years depending on the complexity of your situation and of course, region.
How much does it cost to trademark a brand name?
The cost of trademarking a brand name varies by country.
In the US, trademarking a brand name with the USPTO would cost you anywhere between $275 and $660 including legal fees.
Do I need to work with a lawyer to trademark my brand name?
No. You can absolutely do it yourself. However, liaising with an experienced lawyer may help ease the process.