It will follow you everywhere. It will stick to your skin.
We're not talking about this snapshot posted on Facebook of a foam party in 2007 (what happens in La Grande-Motte should stay in La Grande-Motte), but your brand name!
If you don't have a physical store, this name will act as a real showcase for your business: it is often the first thing your potential customers will see or hear. That's why you'll have to take special care in choosing it: in a world where we tend to stop at first impressions (hello, Tinder and all the rest), taking care of your brand name will be fundamental. If you want to attract the right swipe, there are some basic rules to follow.
There are seven, to be precise.
Yes, seven rules that we will share with you in this article. We really can't hide anything from you.
Before we jump in, let's dip our toe in the water by taking a tour of the types of brand names available to you... Alleeeez, I promise, it's super good once you're in!
The different styles of brand names
You have the soul of an artist. Yes, yes, you do, even you, the entrepreneurs in search of fortune! Your artistic soul is there, somewhere under your Linkedin post ideas and your desires of owning a yacht with your pal Bill Gates. So why not make the most of this artistic soul and be creative with your name?
This is the bet that some brands take by creating their name from scratch. Among them, Ikea, Google, Adidas, TPOP (do you know it? It's really nice),... This category of name imposes few limits except that the name should sound good, be easily pronounceable and not too long. These brand names also have an advantage, and not the least: most of the time, they will be available for registration, since, well, they come directly from your imagination. Note, however, that they have the disadvantage of not being explicit: your customers won't know at first glance what sector you belong to.
Creativity or not, sometimes it's also good to stay classic: just take the example of the very simple and yet so glorious gratin dauphinois. The suggestive name is the perfect option for those who want to get straight to the point without too many detours: it makes the reader understand the activity of a brand... Without being TOO descriptive, like Air France, Caisse d'Épargne, Crédit Lyonnais or Chauffeur Privé. Yes, this kind of name is often rejected because it is too obvious and not very distinctive.
For a relevant but not too blatant name, several techniques are available to you:
- Create a name from a word that describes your brand or industry. Examples: Deliveroo (for the delivery aspect), ChronoPost (refers to speed), Groupon (related to the group buying concept)
- Associate two words describing your brand (Facebook, YouTube, Carglass, Photoshop,...)
- Names that appeal to emotions, based on the storytelling of the experience that the product or service provides (Mon Chéri, Dove, Supreme, Huggies...)
Very common in the fashion industry and more particularly in the luxury sector, the proper name can be an option to consider. Be careful though, because it implies that the designer becomes an ambassador of his brand... Is this something you want to do? Moreover, it's classy when it's a prestigious brand like Louis Vuitton or Christian Dior, a little less so when you're still a dark unknown. Would you like a Martine Lafouille bag? We don't either, to tell the truth. To sum up, this is not a possibility that we encourage for the creation of your e-commerce brand, but we wanted to point out that it exists. That's it. We've done it.
You may have already noticed, but wordplay is an ancient art that we at TPOP are particularly fond of... It also happens to be befriended by a certain number of business-owners in search of a brand name.
Puns are nice: they provoke laughter easily, it's a rather universal type of humor. As a brand name, it will attract attention and have a high chance of being remembered by the reader.
Okay. So. On the other hand. We're going to be a little cautious because we don't want to incur the wrath of the hairdressers' lobby, but puns aren't always ideal for representing a brand. It's not necessarily in good taste and can make your store look cheap; that usually doesn't go down well. Proof with a list of images.
Okay, it's funny, but would you buy an Indiana Jean? On our side, we have some reservations.
So we'd advise you to be careful with pun names: not taking yourself too seriously is the best, but we're serious about the future of your brand.
Now that we've had a quick look around, we'll let you grab your notebook and pen: it's time for some tips.
Seven tips for choosing the right brand name
Tip #1: Keep it short and simple
The customer doesn't have time to look for you. Or laziness. Or both, simultaneously. Whatever the case, you must know how to take him by the hand, show him the way, give him a sandwich for the road... In short, make it as easy as possible for him to get to your store!
This is why we advise you to choose a short and simple name for your brand. You'll have to make sure that it is easily memorized, pronounced and typed by the interested parties. Unless it is really meaningful, therefore, avoid letters that cannot be heard or special characters to facilitate word-of-mouth. Unlike X Æ A-Ⅻ, the son of Elon Musk and Grimes, your brand is unfortunately not born with the eyes of the world on it... So it's up to you to maximize its discovery.
Tip #2: Be original
Let's face it: the worst thing for a brand is not to stand out. The winning cocktail is somewhere between originality and evocation: it is better that the potential customer understands what your activity is without it being too obvious, at the risk that your brand is confused with others. It is first of all relevant to be found by your future fans, but also to be referenced by search engines, which will not prioritize a newcomer if your name is too similar to others!
Original, but suggestive, but not too much. so.. That's a lot of criteria, but finding the right one is a real source of joy, and we hope you'll benefit from it as soon as possible.
Tip #3: Think international
Unless your niche is "the architectural wonders of Kansas", you shouldn't limit your brand awareness to one nationality or language: this is one of the reasons why brands like Hoegaarden, Krisprolls, Napapijri, Fjallraven or Schwarzkopf have had difficulties to grown at the beginning.
The same goes for brand names that are not easily translatable: thoughtful thoughts for Lumia cell phones (translates to "prostitute" in Spanish), the Ghanaian drink brand Pee-Cola or Mazda's Laputa model.
In short, don't put a linguistic thorn in your side: your brand deserves a FULGURING rise.
Tip #4: Stay relevant with your identity
Elementary, my dear Watson, but not always obvious. Your brand is not only your sector or your products: it is a real identity created from scratch that you will be able to convey! Before deciding on a name, it will be wise to define your mission, your way of being, your values, but also your target. Let's take the example of TikTok: its name is fresh, catchy, easily memorable: ideal for its target of 13-25 years old with a capacity of concentration that is in some cases as low as you can get.
Being consistent with your identity is about solidifying the link that consumers will make between your brand and your name, so again, making finding your store a breeze. We won't lie, it's work, but it's work that pays off... And that's the kind of work we like.
Tip #5: Don't choose on the trendy side
It may seem contradictory at first, but I promise you, choosing a trendy or dated name is never a very good idea. An example? Sport2000, which must have sounded futuristic in the 80's but hasn't really been for more than twenty years. In a more subtle way, we advise you to stay out of the trends in terms of formulations: right now, suffixes like -ify or -ly aretrendy, but will they be in fifteen years? Nothing is less certain. Don't give your brand an expiration date: it deserves a better fate than the old ricotta cheese lost at the back of your fridge.
Tip #6: Avoid plagiarism
Some of your competitors are successful: that's good, good for them. We know that you want to experience the same thing, that's all we hope for you (and more).
Some will push this desire a little too far by imitating a competitor, so that we confuse them and opt for their products. Let's face it: this is not the idea of the century, no way. First of all for obvious legal reasons, but also because it will make a business look dishonest and unreliable. Let's take as an example these restaurants vaguely reminding of a certain fast-food chain:
For these brands, choosing a confusing name will ultimately be counterproductive and unattractive. So here's a golden rule: be yourself! Your beautiful products deserve to be bought by choice and not by accident.
Tip #7: Don't limit your activity
Your potential? Excessive. Unlimited. Infinite. We're absolutely convinced of this, and not just because we love you.
Based on this proven fact, it would be a shame to put barriers in your way, especially by limiting yourself to one type of product. Let's explain: if your brand is called "Sophie's mugs" and in 2 years, at the top of your career, you decide to diversify into clothing products... What will you do? This is a little bit what happened to Starbucks, which was called "Starbucks Coffee" until 2011, when the brand decided to remove the 2nd part of its name, which was too reductive compared to the scope of its menu.
Don't be like them, avoid the awkward moment when you have to rename yourself: it would be a shame to lose some customers on the way.
"Wait, I'll Google that," "Can you give me a Post-it?","I need a new Chapstick"
That's the dream we have for your brand: to become so famous that its name becomes part of the collective vocabulary. Before you get to that point, that name will probably follow you around for several years, so it's absolutely essential that you and your target audience like it. We have lovingly AND passionately concocted a mix of the best tips to apply to your brand name: from now on, its destiny is in your hands. Your turn!