The name also counts

By Jose on 10.03.2010 // 8:47 pm in General
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In a world ruled by marketing, the image a company conveys is essential. In this sense, there is nothing as important as the name. The name of the company and its marketed products is similar to the first impression one makes when meeting somebody for the first time. That is, it is the company’s visiting card and therefore key to its success or failure.

A good name must be flexible, differentiating, credible, consistent, outstanding, evocative, legible, easy to pronounce, simple and finally, easy to remember, especially when dealing with products rather than companies. Marketing’s discipline in charge of giving commercial names to products is called naming. Nevertheless, this discipline can also be applied to the naming of the company itself.

To name a product or company is no simple task and requires a great amount of wit, creativity and abstraction capacity. Many companies turn to naming consultancy services to launch new products or to create affiliates. International companies such as  Lekicon, NameLab, Nomen and Idiom are the ones in charge of “giving birth”  to the names of products that will be used worldwide. The problem is that their services are far from cheap: they go from 4,500 to 25,000 euros, amounts that not everybody can afford, especially entrepreneurs.

If such is the case, the alternative is to use one’s imagination to devise the name of the company or the product. Obviously, a professional would do a better job, just like an accountant would also do a better job with our accounts, but it is not always possible to have one. There are some peculiar Internet tools designed to put terms together –generally 2.0 or related with technology- in order to find more or less funny, and generally not so adequate, names. Nevertheless, they can be a good start to get some ideas. Some of these sites are SugestName, Namimg2 2.0 or Domator

Entrepreneur.com offers some advice to find the best name following the steps in theory taken by experts. In this sense, the first thing to do is to define what do we want to communicate.  At the end of the day, the company’s name has to define or bring to mind the business the company is in charge of or at least the vibes it wants to transmit. This is the key, since the rest of the process starts at this point.

From this point, factors such as the sector we are targeting (for example, in retail the market is very segmented, therefore the name must straight away bring to mind what the client is looking for) and the expansion strategy –if we want to be international we can not use elements that geographically limit the name-. In general terms, the name must be evocative, which moreover saves ulterior explanations.

Dictionaries, tools as those previously mentioned, books, magazines… these are excellent sources to look for ideas. Help from relatives and friends, who can give their own personal perspective, is always useful –not to say essential- in this process.  The main idea is to make a reasonable amount of proposals (between 20 and 30) that meet our communication objectives. We will then start working on them and ruling them out.

As soon as we have short-listed the number of alternatives down to more or less five proposals which should be easy to read and express the business nature, we have to start our search in the brand’s register. We need to make sure that our names do not belong to another company already, and if we consider it appropriate, register the brand.

The name of the company is important because it is the company’s first image, the first impression for the client. Nevertheless, if the business is built on solid foundations it will progress. There are thousands of examples of companies with dreadful names that are currently market leaders.

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