Brand Power #1 - 7 steps to creating an engaging brand name
Powerful brands rely on two things: Engagement and Differentiation. This is the first of two blogs which cover each of these aspects of effective branding and outline ways to incorporate brand power into your business name.
Creating engagement and differentiation is crucial to effective branding - and it’s a vital element of effective business naming, too.
Brand power #1: Engagement
Branding people often talk about engagement without really unpacking what they mean by it. This is a shame, because it’s full of meaning.
Essentially, engagement is all about making a connection with people. If your branding makes connections, it can get people’s attention and hold it; it can build affinity; it can make your business memorable - and encourage referrals; and it can tell people that your business matters and is relevant to them. So engagement is a very powerful thing.
Branding starts with your business name, so an engaging, catchy business name is great branding opportunity.
There are many ways that you can make a company name engaging - some are obvious, some less so, and some are about what you shouldn’t do. Here are 7 simple tips that will help you to keep focused on engagement when you are naming your business.
1. Keep it simple
A name of few letters, or few syllables, is easier to recall, easier to say, and easier to tell people about. When it comes to business names; the shorter, the better.
2. Consider sound and feel
Without going into much depth about the science of phonosemantics (the relationship between the sound and feel of word elements and what they mean to people), some combinations of letters are associated with certain meanings. So some words will sound rounded, warm and friendly, and some sound angular, cold and clinical. For instance, words where letters p, t or k dominate tend to sound hard, whereas words based on the letters l, m or n will sound softer. Neither is bad - but you should make sure your business name sounds and feels appropriate for your business.
3. Break rules
You can gain people’s attention by being incongruous. If your company name is a surprise - either because it doesn’t follow the conventions of your sector, or because it’s not what people have come to expect for your type of business - then your audience has to get a little bit involved (often subconsciously) in order to make sense of it. People are more engaged because they have to resolve the incongruity.
4. Give hints
A crucial element of engagement is being remembered. By providing a hint, suggestion, or allusion to your business in your name, you can help people to remember who you are and what you do. But be careful to only provide a nudge in the right general direction, without spelling things out, because letting your audience make the connections themselves makes everything more powerful.
5. Be human
Too many businesses are afraid to show that they’re run by people, for people. An effective brand name will have personality and character. There are many ways to demonstrate that you’re human. Your name could be overly-modest, gently witty, or surprising. It could be a bit random or slightly enigmatic. Or quirky or clever. However you do it, choosing a business name that isn’t bland, predictable and anonymous will make for stronger branding.
6. Tell your brand story
For thousands of years, people have bonded by telling each other stories. People who understand branding know this, so they often tell stories about their businesses. Names can play a role in these ‘narratives’. So a name with a rationale, or back story, can be very powerful. Your business could named after the town in which you met your husband or wife, it could be created from the surnames of obscure early pioneers in your industry, or the wood that your office floor is made from - the detail of the story doesn’t really matter. People love a story; so they’re very *engaging*. And - keep this quiet - you can even utilise what’s euphemistically called ‘post-rationalisation’: find a name you like and invent a story to suit.
7. Be brave
Listen to your heart. Naming isn’t about facts and figures. It’s not rational. It’s emotional. So if your proposed name makes you excited, makes you smile or makes you just a little bit nervous, then you’re on to something. If it feels comfortable, familiar or safe, then it’s very unlikely to be engaging and won’t help your business name become a brand name.
The company naming alternative
Naming isn't easy, especially if you want a brand name, not just a name. Novanym offers a smart solution to businesses that are struggling to come up with an engaging business name. Our store sells brandable domains - names with great brand potential, just waiting for the right business to find them and make them their own.
> Read Part #2 of this blog, 7 ways to a brand name that establishes differentiation.