Branding Your Business
So, you're going to start your own business. That's great! But not too sure on where to begin with the branding? Take a look at our tips below on how to conjure up a name and a logo suitable for your new business endeavour.
What are you going to name this fantastic new enterprise of yours?
Steve Jobs named the biggest company the world after allegedly throwing an apple out of a car window.
Amstrad stands from Alan Michael Sugar Trading.
B & Q – from the initials of its founders, Richard Block and David Quayle.
So what's yours going to be?
The name of your business can have a tremendous impact on how customers and investors view you, and in today’s small world, it’s a world-wide decision.
Here's a guide on choosing a name:
1. Unique and Unforgettable
In the trade, this is called “stickiness.” But the issue of stickiness turns out to be kind of, well, sticky. Every company wants a name that stands out from the crowd, a catchy handle that will remain fresh and memorable over time. That’s a challenge because naming trends change, often year by year, making timeless names hard to find (remember the dot.coms).
2. Avoid Unusual Spellings
When creating a name, stay with words that can easily be spelled by customers. Some startup founders try unusual word spellings to make their business stand out, but this can be trouble when customers "Google’" your business to find you, or try to refer you to others. Stay with traditional word spelling, and avoid those catchy words that you love to explain at cocktail parties.
3. Easy to Pronounce and Remember
Forget made-up words and nonsense phrases. Make your business name one that customers can pronounce and remember easily. Skip the acronyms, which mean nothing to most people. When choosing an identity for a company or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style, and cost less to brand.
4. Keep it simple
The shorter in length, the better. Limit it to two syllables. Avoid using hyphens and other special characters. Since certain algorithms and directory listings work alphabetically, pick a name closer to A than Z. These days, it even helps if the name can easily be turned into a verb, like Google me.
5. Make Some Sense
Occasionally, business owners will choose names that are nonsense words. Quirky words (Yahoo, Google, Fogdog) or trademark-proof names concocted from scratch (Novartis, Aventis, Lycos) are a big risk. Always check the international implications. More than one company has been embarrassed by a new name that had negative and even obscene connotations in another language.
6. Give a Clue
Try to adopt a business name that provides some information about what your business does. Calling your landscaping business “Lawn and Order” is appropriate, but the same name would not do well for a handyman business. Your business name should match your business in order to remind customers what services you provide.
7. Make Sure the Name is Available
This may sound obvious, but a miss here will cost you dearly. Your company name and Internet domain name should probably be the same, so check out your preferred names with Companies House online.
8. Favour Common Suffixes
Everyone will assume that your company name is your domain name minus the suffix “.com” or "co.uk" or the standard suffix for your country. If these suffixes are not available for the name you prefer, pick a new name rather than settling for an alternate suffix like “.net” or “.info.” Get all three suffixes if you can.
9. Don't Box Yourself In
Avoid picking names that don't allow your business to move around or add to its product line. This means avoiding geographic locations or product categories to your business name. With these specifics, customers will be confused if you expand your business to different locations or add on to your product line.
10. Sample Potential Customers
Come up with a few different name choices and try them out on potential customers, investors, and co-workers. Skip your family and friends who know too much. Ask questions about the names to see if they give off the impression you desire.
The logo. That little picture that you spend hours and hours working on and then proudly display it for everyone to see. Even getting a phone cover with it proudly on.
Heads up. Nobody gives a hoot about your logo.
Sorry designers. Answer me this. Have you ever flicked through a magazine or directory and suddenly stopped and said "O.M.G. look at that logo. Get the phone"?
No you haven't. Don't get me wrong, it's good to have a nice logo and it certainly helps with your brand, but get a designer to come up with one for you. Go on fiverr.com and someone will make you one for literally 5 dollars.
Please don't wast valuable time in the early days of your business designing your logo. Nobody cares…
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at the following blog posts we have on starting your own business:
- Becoming an Entrepreneur
- Raising Finances for your New Business
- Starting Your Own Business: Types of Company
- The Essentials to Starting a New Business