I’m often surprised by how many times I’ve been asked by friends & clients to help them name a business or service, as they believe, once they have the name sorted, everything else will fall into place, but this isn’t the best way to do it (but it can work sometimes). What comes first the product or the name? (when I say product I’m referring to your company, services, products), hopefully you will say the product.
Depending on how you market yourself, ie your company name explaining what you do as a company may be vital, or it may be irrelevant. eg Kwik-Print informs you that they’re a printers and they’re quick, while the name MacDonalds has nothing to do with fast food. You should try avoiding negative connotations within the name, and if you’re using a descriptive name you need to get to the point, plus whatever you end up with it should be as memorable as possible or even unforgettable. Of course you can break all the rules and end up with a name that’s descriptive, an oxymoron, has negative connotations yet still unforgettable. I own no paper™, it has the word “no” in the name (can’t get much more negative than that!), it’s descriptive yet an oxymoron, as it says exactly what we don’t do as a company, we don’t do anything that involves using paper, yet it’s unforgettable.
So if you agree that the product comes first, then surely the next step is, defining your goals, your service offerings, your branding etc well, not exactly, the most important aspect of your business, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s your customers, without them you don’t have a business, plain and simple, so what your customers get out of your product is key to everything. The more you can make your name about what they want & not what you do, the better. Here’s an example, if the benefits for you customers is to help them in their day to day lives and to help them achieve new goals etc, then you’re obviously having a positive affect on them. So, you should be focusing your naming efforts on the outcome for your clients and not on you & your services. You should be looking at the positive results of your service, not the service itself, your audience & customers will only be interested in the results, so that’s where you need to hook them.
Here’s a list of things you should consider before finalising your name and in this order as well.
Your Core Values
Your Unique Selling Point
Your Emotional Selling Point
Your Tagline / Strapline
Your name (Yeah sorry about that, but it’s way down here!)
Briefly, your mission sets the goal for your organisation, it’s purpose. Your vision is more personal and motivational, a driver to help you fulfill your mission. Your core values are the very essence of what you or your company stand for, strip away everything else and the core values remain, they will be your compass in good times and bad times. Before I move on it’s important to understand the importance of this. Your values become the very glue that holds your company together, your values are things you either know already or discover, you can’t invent them or fake them. Plus they must not be confused with your service offering (ie Disney’s core purpose is to make people happy, not build theme parks or make cartoons). Your unique selling point is what makes you different from the competition. The emotional selling point is how customers will feel about using you or your service. Your Brand is your promise, it reflects your Core Values, but note your brand is what your customers think & perceive about you, it’s what they walk away with, it’s important that you live up to your promises and deliver them. Your tagline, supports your brand, it says in words what you can’t necessarily express with a picture or icon. Your identity is the visual element that supports your brand & it’s message (note that, audio, smell, taste & touch are elements to some companies/products identity & brand). Then we get to the the name & eventually your logo.
Of course you can always ignore this entirely, and just come up with a name that has absolutely nothing to do with your product, then market the hell out of it. Egg did it with their credit card & bank services, it’s not unforgettable, but it’s certainly memorable, plus it’s been very successful. Of course marketing alone won’t make your business a success, it’s your customers that make your business a success, so focus your efforts on your customers, as they’re the best viral marketing campaign you can ever have, remember, make your business viral, not your marketing.