⏱ 5 min reading
A few weeks ago, a survey that was released became a trending topic across many forms of social media and news outlets. The survey said that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beers any longer. While the accuracy of the results of the survey are doubted, news channels and social media took the story and claimed that the new pandemic was hurting beverage sales tremendously. Now Corona is releasing poorly timed ads, they are receiving additional criticism.
Unfortunately, Corona is dealing with an example of a negative name connotation based on world events. A brand name can have a significant impact on a company’s primary activities. In fact, scientists found that stocks with a simpler to pronounce name performed better than those with progressively hard to pronounce names. These are genuine results of untested or misguided name choices. A brand name is the mission statement and the first impression folded into one. It’s essential to have a name that immediately captivates potential customers and leaves them needing more.
Coming up with a lasting name for your company is one of the most challenging parts of the creative process. While it is impossible to predict the next news cycle or global health crisis, these are four ways to find a name with meaning during the precarious times we live in.
1. Understanding naming constructions
What’s in a name? Everything. The first step to selecting a long-standing brand name is to understand naming constructions. The vast majority of brand names fit into one of five styles: classic, clever, pragmatic, emotional, or modern. The style of your brand’s name determines the tone of your brand, which in turn affects your audience’s perception of your company.
Every style has different advantages that depend on your business and the preferences of your target audience. Cautiously consider each category, because styles that work well for some companies perform terrible for other brands.
Embracing a naming style that represents your business and values (classic, clever, pragmatic, emotional, modern) will allow you to move forward in a clearer direction. It will also allow you to immediately take ideas off the table that are not a good fit for your business model, goals, and strategies.
Names that last usually come from productive brainstorming. It may feel like all the good names are already taken. After all, over 600,000 new businesses open every year. Finding a quality name sometimes seems nearly impossible. You should not, however, let that discourage you. Find your innovative self.
The first part of the process is brainstorming. It is important to focus on capturing a single essential element instead of finding one or two words that sum up the entire brand, product, and values. This means you have to start looking at your brand attributes and values and it may mean you have to look past your product or business model.
You start with an idea or an image that helps you create various versions of this idea or image, using different names. Try to get your team involved with this process. The creativity that comes from diversity will spark up thoughts that you would otherwise not have had yourself. This can range from visual descriptions and compound phrases to plays on words. These sessions will get your creative juices flowing.
3. Ask the people
Unfortunately, we, the people, usually have a preference that is based on our own assumptions or unconscious bias. This is a good reason to make sure to ask for feedback when coming up with new ideas. It is important to understand that there will always be people that take offense to certain names. It seems like there are hordes of people that have a full-time job looking for things that people could get offended by. And usually, the loudest people are not even the ones that are offended, they just seem to be looking for attention. They do this, for their own personal gain. That is why it is important to find feedback with a relatively large group before implementing any ideas.
After brainstorming, it is very important to audience test. Audience testing will offer valuable insights into the names that will appeal to your target market. There are multiple ways to test audiences that include Facebook groups, survey platforms, or Google forms. While the results are coming in, you may discover that the name you initially loved does not resonate with your audience. Or even worse, you may find that the names are actually “offensive”.
Be prepared to give up on your favorites if they don’t connect with audiences. It’s also not uncommon for audiences to resonate with unexpected names from your shortlist. Audience tests are so helpful because they allow you to look past your own perspective and dive into the mindset of your eventual target demographic.
4. Function over form
After you’ve narrowed down your list of potential names, it’s important to put these names through some hoops to ensure that they resonate with your customers. A major aspect of brand naming that many people don’t consider is functionality. In naming, functionality refers to how easy it is to communicate your name through speech and print.
There are three main parts of functionality to consider:
After you found your list of potential names, you should know that it’s important to make sure it resonates with your customers. An important aspect that you should consider is the functionality of the name. This refers to how easy it is to communicate your name through print and speech.
These are the three parts of functionality that you should consider:
- Pronunciation: Can people easily say the name aloud after reading it? Are they able to pronounce the name correctly?
- Easy to spell: Can someone easily spell your name after hearing it? Would they be able to Google search it after hearing it once or look your business up on social media?
- Easy to hear: Discover if your name passes the “crowded bar test.” Would someone be able to clearly understand your brand name even if it was spoken in a crowded bar? Would whoever heard it be able to repeat the name back in the same situation?
Sometimes you want people talking about your brand to spread organic referrals. For this to happen, the brand has to have a highly functional meaning. It is important to make sure your name is clear and functional, as well as able to communicate the core values of your business in order to create a name with a long-term impact.