Branding & Naming Expert President of Tungsten Branding
(Excerpts) What should a business consider before beginning the naming process? That’s a great question and one that everyone should ask. There are two primary points I would make. First, the number one question that people need to ask themselves is, ‘What business are you really in?’ I find that most entrepreneur startups, and even companies that are five or ten years along, got into the business they are in because of a particular skill set that manifested through a product or service. The product and service becomes outdated, transitions, or evolves, but they created the identity of the company based on the initial product or service offering, instead of on the skill set or the attributes that originally produced it.
What are the stages of developing a name? We start with a discovery process. Where have you been? What have you done? What have you thought about? Then, how does that compare with who you are as a company? From there you can start the process of saying, ‘What direction do we need to move forward in? Do we need to continue down this path and find a name that works, or do we need to move in a different direction? Take your pivot point, the core essence, the common thread that runs through your business, and then ask, what is the best way to convey that? You marry the essence of the brand with a brand strategy, then you create naming candidates from that list, and then begin the process of winnowing them down. Are they available from a trademark perspective? Linguistically does it sound good? Is it long, is it short? What matters most? Is it the pronunciation, or is it how it appears on the page? What factors are going to make this name the best name out of the bunch? A lot of that is simply a judgment call.
Has the need for a domain name influenced the way you develop names for companies? Yes definitely, on several levels. There are people in my industry who–because of the sparseness of domain names, and sometimes the high-inflated prices that some people ask for their domain names–have avoided naming their companies in ways that are intuitive and natural because they’re trying to circumvent this whole domain thing. Sometimes, people are so afraid of not getting the domain, not getting the right messaging, that they go around and end up with one name and a different domain, and it gets confusing. Our name is this, but online we’re this, and it becomes problematic. Over the years I’ve gotten about 3,000 brand-able domain names. If I have a shoe store, I better have shoes in my shoe store.
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