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Do's & Don't of good naming

- min read By Asher Ali

16 August, 2019

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Figuring out the best domain name for your brand is one task. An even tougher task is to figure out the brand’s name itself. Gone are the days when a blank piece of paper, a pen and a cup of steaming hot coffee could do the trick!

Too often, naming is an informal exercise. Startup founders who spend months meticulously developing products have been known to go with a name that just feels good,without bothering to examine cultural contexts, competitive landscapes, or even simple pronunciation.

At Winnerbrands, we have mastered the art of naming a brand and have arrived at the 6 critical steps that any organisation needs to follow in order to come up with their brand’s name.

1. Define your business, category and consumer

This is the what, why and who of the question. When naming is done well—be it for a business, a band, a product, or anything—it paves the way for a good impression, enticing the listener or reader to come in closer.

For example, the Red Cross logo is so ingrained into our collective consciousness that we automatically associate it with medical assistance. Some of us have never interacted with the Red Cross, yet we perfectly know what it stands for and how it changes people's lives across the world. We are able to recognise its logo anywhere.

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2. Define your archetype

The concept of the archetype is derived from Jungian psychology, but there is no need to go deep into that

For the purpose of branding, its only necessary to understand that the avatar is the personification of your customer and the archetype is the personification of your company, along with its products or services.

Another helpful way to think of this is to ask yourself how your brand will create an emotional resonance with your intended customers.

There are 12 brand archetypes most easily identifiable. The Hero, The Innocent, and The Outlaw, to name a few

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The best example of a brand name that follows from a popular archetype is that of Apple. Apple follows the creator archetype - standing for innovation, boldness and out of the box thinking. Much like the famous story of the apple that fell on Newton’s head, thus explaining the laws of gravity!

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3. Get inspired by where your consumer will interact with you

All of the top brands offer the 'go to' product or service within its market.

For example, is your brand going to be available in a busy supermarket, or in a mall? Come up with a name that suits the place in which your consumer will interact with you.

If you want a quick sandwich made with care, you think of Subway. Some people might consider them great simply because of the product or service that backs up the brand: ultimately, that's what it's all about

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4. Make up an interesting word from the brand’s founders

Sometimes, the inspiration comes from the owners of the company itself. While many status brands usually take the name of the inventor or the designer, sometimes an iconic brand can be invented through a clever use of the founders names.

Take Levi’s Strauss for example. The name of Levi’s comes from Claude Levi Strauss - the famous German-American businessman who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm of Levi Strauss & Co. began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

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Or even Adidas. Although it is a popular urban myth that the name is an acronym for All Day I Dream About Sports, that phrase is a "backronym"; the name is a portmanteau formed from "Adi" (a nickname for Adolf) and "Das" (from Dassler”).

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And finally, when youre separating the good names from the bad, consider naming expert, Alexandra Watkins’, SCRATCH principle: you should consider your name less than ideal if it’s:

  • Spelling-challenged
  • A Copycat
  • Restrictive
  • Annoying
  • Too Tame
  • Cursed by jargon
  • Or Hard to pronounce

These tips will help you to come up with a unique, memorable and iconic brand name for your next venture. Happy naming!

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