Does your brand name ring a bell? What message does it convey? These are some questions to ask when assessing a name. When naming your brand, there are really no hard and fast rules. A brand may be named after the founder as in the case of Dell, Ford and Dangote or after a geographic location just like Eko Hotels and Suites or Bank of America. You can name your brand after countries, for example Nigerian Breweries and American International Group or even after its operational definition. University Press is an example of a brand named after its operational definition.
Although the decision is yours to make, there are certain “christening” rules that should guide you.
RULE 1: AVOID OVER-USED DESCRIPTIVE TITLES
“First” is a common example of such words. Today there are a lot of brands that have “First” in their names.
RULE 2: CONSIDER THE MEANING OF THE NAME
Never give your brand a name without thinking through. You don’t want to end up with a name that is unpleasant to consumers.
RULE 3: AVOID SHOCK AND AWE
Using shock strategy may grab attention but shocking brand names can also backfire. French Connection UK, FCUK as originally spelt, initially had this problem.
RULE 4: CONSIDER YOUR LOCAL CONTEXT
Consider the environment in which your brand operates. This matters as certain cultures may not accept some names. Find out if your brand name will be accepted in your area of operations.
RULE 5: THINK INTERNATIONAL
A name can mean different things to different people. If you intend to operate beyond your immediate environment, you will need to consider what your brand name means in your target countries or across different cultures.
RULE 6: DON’T STEAL
Don’t copy names of other brands especially well known brands. It is wrong to do so. You may get away with it when you are not well known but the moment you become successful, you could have a law suit on your hands.
RULE 7: CHECK YOUR EGO
Not every name can be a brand name. While there is no harm in naming your brand after yourself, don’t do so unless your name has “brand quality”. Also, stay away from native names that are difficult to pronounce.
RULE 8: AVOID FRIVOLITY
Naming your brand is serious business. Don’t fool around with your brand name. For example Common Sense Limited is not a good name because it says nothing about your brand.
RULE 9: BE CAREFUL ABOUT RELIGION
Religion is a sensitive issue therefore there is a need to be careful about names with heavy religious implication. You do not want to put off people with a different faith unless it is a religious brand.
RULE 10: THINK WEBMAIL
Check for the availability of your name as a domain on the internet. Since most internet names have email extensions, you should consider limitations you will face if your domain name registration presents difficult options.
RULE 11: CHECK SOUND QUALITY
Consider how your brand name sounds particularly over the phone. You don’t want people making faces each time you mention your brand.
In conclusion, a name says a lot about your brand and can be the deciding factor between customer attraction and repulsion. Choose wisely.