Posted by:Sanket Nikte
The brand name is a very important factor in your plans, for obvious reasons. It is the representation of all the distinguishing factors that separate you from the herd. When consumers remember your product or service, they are going to remember it by the brand name and not it’s USP. It is reflective of the pull you exert over your corner of the market. Every marketing strategy, at its core, is designed with the objective of promoting your brand name- increasing its visibility, its recall etc. It is the identity of the company and deserves as much thought as any other aspect. We all know the famous anecdotes of names inspired by a coin toss, concepts or misspelled brands- HP, Amazon and Google, respectively (for these anecdotes, click here). Even if the coin toss did become a famous name, it is better not to leave such things to the finicky fate.
Representative vs. Unique
There are 2 diverse schools of thought in deciding a brand name. One says that a name should be descriptive and representative such that it overtly states your product or problem that you intend to solve or the product offering. Housing.com, Cardekho.com, Snapdeal, JustEat, Facebook, all fall in this category. Another school proposes a distinctive and unique name that bears no relation to the product- Google, Goqii, DuckDuckGo, Apple, Practo etc. are examples of this category.
Both options have their pros and cons. Naming the brand after the product makes the offering easy to recognize and easier to stick in consumer’s minds. Housing.com for example; anybody hearing it even for the first time won’t need an explanation as to what it does. That being said, there is also the fear of it being too generic and eponymous with the product. Although that can be a good thing, an excess of it can be destructive as your brand can eventually come to simply define the category of the product it offers and be forgotten as a brand. This can have a negative effect of diminishing the brand value and also increase the chances of somebody piggy backing on your efforts. The efforts of every marketing manager are to make their brand synonymous with the product but this can be a double edged sword. Xerox became eponymous of its category and was later forgotten as a brand. Always be cognizant of falling into this trap.
On the other hand, giving it a distinctive name will always ensure that your brand stands out, much like Apple (although there wasn’t any deliberation behind it; the product spoke for itself) or Goqii. This does increase your efforts and cost of building up the brand name and increasing its recall value but the efforts are worth it, if successful.
Beyond these subjective considerations, there can also be an analytical process to selecting a brand name. Create a matrix of various names and plot them against the various attributes they fulfill. The attributes that you might showcase through the brand name can include but are not restricted to; recall value, ease of pronunciation, product depiction, onomatopoeic, character/ personality, connection with target audience. Tick the attributes that every brand name fulfills and grade them on it. The results may be contradictory with the results based on subjective reasoning.
All said and done, selecting a brand name is more art than science. End of the day, it has to be a name that you are comfortable with and creates a zing in your mind; very much like Apple- a name that doesn’t mean anything but find anybody who claims to have not heard of it and you will find a liar.
Check Before You Finalise
Do a quick Google search (DuckDuckGo search) before you finalise. Make sure that the domain is available. Also, check if it’s available in the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) records. You can find it here. You don’t want to be caught in the unenviable position of deciding on a name only to find that the domain is taken or the brand is already registered.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
Before you take the leap of faith, quit your job and start creating your own unicorn, take a deep breath and consider if all the basic foundation stones are in place. “Don’t forget the fundamentals”, is the primary advice of Vinay Rao to all aspiring entrepreneurs. In this age of crazy valuations and jaw dropping sums of capital being poured in, it is easy to lose sight of the small things but very often as we learn very late, it is the small things that bore the greatest weight. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Learn from the mistakes that countess others have done before you. Live long and prosper.