What Makes A Brand Name Great, And How To Get One

December 22, 2020

Did you know branding is the lifeblood of any business, yet lots of entrepreneurs don’t take the time to define their brand?

Now, before you raise those flags that an increase in cash flow, high-quality products, and market growth are the only things your business needs, it's important to understand that the most fundamental goal of every business, before profit-making, is to survive, and for a business to do this, it needs to maintain its brand.

Don’t get us wrong, high-quality products and an increase in cash flow are both great, but they both mean little if your business has a weak brand.

Psychologists unanimously agree—and that doesn’t happen every day—that customers can decide to either deal with, or ditch, your products in less than a second. 

The market is a literal war-zone, and the only way your business can make a great first impression and win the hearts and minds of your customers is by having an appealing brand image.

Microsoft’s former CEO, Steve Balmer, once said "There's nothing more important at Microsoft than Windows". And this very statement reveals why Microsoft’s Windows has a poor brand image, and it’s because they disregard what their customers really want.

Microsoft would rather spawn generic services than build a worthy experience like Apple, and Google.

So, how do you avoid making the same mistake as Windows? Simple. Branding.

Why Branding?

Understand that brands can be created intentionally, or unintentionally. But don’t let that scare you, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Branding is all about creating an experience for your customers, so that happy memories are triggered whenever they think about your brand. A solid brand can assist your marketing campaigns and also create a super-loyal customer community for your business, like what Tesla has.

But for your brand to be deeply rooted in the minds of your customers, it needs a great brand name. Why? Because your brand name is the foundation for the success of your business. It’s the reason customers won’t pull back after encountering your products.

What Makes a Great Brand Name?

Well, for a brand name to be great, it must have these characteristics.

It Must Be Unique

One key thing that separates a great brand name from its generic cousins is its uniqueness. So, to stand out, your brand name must be unique. It needs to be fresh, exciting, and different.

Apple captured customer's interest because its name wasn’t similar to bland, unemotional names like IBM. But it’s not just Apple, other brands like Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix have made outstanding achievements, all because their names were unique.

It Must Sound Nice

Besides being unique, your brand name needs to be short, sound nice, and easy to say. There’s no point choosing a name your customers can’t say. So, use Audience Testing to make sure your brand name meets these standards. Your goal is to create a name that’s going to get stuck in the head of your customers.

It Must Target the Right Audience

Accept the fact that not every customer in the market is—or would be—yours. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Customers have different tastes, needs, and expectations, so make sure you choose a brand name that’ll communicate your business to them clearly.

Remember, don’t beat yourself to a pulp trying to satisfy everyone. Focus on a specific customer demographic. Not everyone uses Apple’s iPhones, even though it’s a trillion-dollar company with a solid brand.

Here’s How To Get the Best Brand Name

Before we explore the light at the end of the tunnel, note that a great brand name is business gold, the most important asset of your business.

So, make sure you:

  1. Establish Your Brand’s Naming Guidelines

Except you’re a god-level professional branding expert, generating a brand name is going to involve a lot of work. And to effectively generate the best name, you’d need a team.

Now, although two minds are better than one, your team would hit a dead-end if you don’t set predetermined guidelines for your brand name.

Branding guidelines are a set of conditions that defines your brand’s tone, values, mission, goals, and value proposition. They’d not only help you define your business, its position in the industry, but also help you get a great name.

  1. Brainstorm

Don’t underestimate the power of brainstorming. Get your team together and write as many names that fit your criteria as you can. The best part about brainstorming is that it can be done anywhere, at any time.

But if you hit a creative block, then it's time to turn to name generators. Squadhelp’s business name generator can support your efforts by suggesting great business names that fit your industry.

  1. Get it Tested, Get Feedback

Now that you’ve brainstormed a few names that meet your naming criteria, it's time to get your customers involved. Their input would help you generate the perfect name for your business.

Customer’s feedback help determine if a potential brand name is easy to say, triggers an emotional response, and communicates the right tone.

But to make sure your feedback stays pure, make sure they’re gotten from industry professionals, potential customers, or your branding team, but don’t ask for feedback from members of your family because they’ll only skew your results.

  1. Secure Your Pick

The last thing you need is to receive a lawsuit for trademark violation. So make sure you get your brand name trademarked, and the best way to do this is by visiting the USPTO website. 

Your Next Move

It doesn’t matter what phase you currently are in business, if you don’t have a solid brand name, you might as well be running in circles, wasting valuable time, resources, and getting very little in return. Take the time to craft a winning brand name for your amazing business.

Grant Polachek

Grant Polachek is the Head of Branding at Inc 500 company, the worlds #1 naming platform, with 25,000+ customers from early-stage startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning business name ideas.

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