We have talked in the past about the importance of branding, what a brand or branding is, where branding comes into play, but not so much about when/where branding begins.
More often than not, most people equate the start of their branding process with their logo. Many clients do come to us to design a new logo or freshen an older logo for their business.
Developing a brand actually starts earlier than that. Naming a brand is one of the most important things a company does, yet many people just go with what “feels good.”
When naming is done well – regardless if its for a business, a band, a product, or a service – it paves the way for a good impression, enticing the listener, reader and prospective customer to come closer.
But when naming goes wrong, it can become the petard upon which the world hoists its grievances, the basis for punny/satirical headlines, and an invitation for social media shaming.
Give it more than a passing thought
Startup business founders who will spend months developing products have been known to go with a name not completely thought out. Often without bothering to examine cultural contexts, competitive landscapes, simple pronunciation, or even how it might read when all smushed together as a domain name.
Conversely, we’ve also seen many companies start out with decent naming concepts and quickly change the spelling or idea altogether just to snag a short web address that is available.
Many don’t understand that the website domain name has an altogether different importance than what the company name, at least for SEO and search ranking purposes. While it feels less than ideal, it’s fine to have a different website name than your company. Consider IFI’s own what-if.com, imagin81.com, westmichigandesign.com, & digital-agency-grand-rapids.com. You could be starting off with a huge disadvantage if you sacrifice your business name for an easy dot-com.
That said, the “Kid’s Exchange” becomes kidsexchange.com, “Therapist Finder” becomes therapistfinder.com and “Swissbit” (a swiss company becomes swissbit.ch (once you see it, its hard NOT to see it forever).
It has also become harder to choose a good name in a booming startup environment. How do you find a unique-sounding name when it seems like everything is taken, or leverage familiarity without sounding derivative? It could be more difficult than simply dropping a vowel – think Flickr, Tumblr or Scribd.
Coming up with a good business name can be a complicated process. You might consider consulting an expert, especially if you’re in a field in which your company name may influence the success of your business. They can advise you against bad name choices and explain why others are good.
There is, obviously, a cost to factored in when calling on the experts. But there also are a number of online tools that are available to you that could shorten the hours the expert need to spend if they have a place to start vs starting from scratch.