Success! You have a shortlist of names for your brand. The weird, the wonderful, they’re all in there. Your investor likes one. You like another. How to decide?

Here at STANCE ® we like to use four metrics to evaluate a name:

  • Likeability
  • Memorability
  • Ownability
  • Digital Suitability

There’s a chance these criteria will take your list of 8 down to 2 or 3, by which time you will probably be unanimous about which you like. If you still can’t decide at that point, it’ll probably come down to the URL. Let’s get into it!

Likeability

You have to get on with your name! Sounds obvious, but if no one likes it, put it in the bin.

Now think beyond your country and see if the rest of the world will like it! Reach out to some friends in your top markets and check the name looks and sounds ok. How it sounds is important—make sure your foreign friends say it out loud.

Finally, you could do a ‘lil Typeform survey with your pals on which name they like the sound of. My friends over at Fiit did this, and clearly, Fiit was the hands-down winner!

Memorability

If you’re making a survey, why not add in a spontaneous recall question! How many names can the audience remember?

You can also play this game in the office. When you get back after the weekend (assuming COVID has passed), get everyone to write down the names they can remember before getting back to the whiteboard or wall of Post Its.

Ownability

This is where some companies get tripped up. You might have found the perfect name, only to find that someone else got there first. Bummer!

Or worse, someone has a name similar enough in the same trademark category. This actually tripped us up at STANCE! For a while, we were going to be called the Start-Up Storytellers, but there was a company called The Storytellers in one of our trademark categories.

Although, every cloud has a silver lining! STANCE is much better!

Here some quick checks we learned from our trademark lawyer:

  • Google
  • App Store
  • GoDaddy
  • Companies House
  • Instagram / Facebook / Linked In

You’re looking for a non-compete in a category different to yours. A photography company called Landscape Artists isn’t a problem if you’re a gardening company of the same name.

Digital Suitability

Finally, how does your name work online and can you get the domain you’re after? For example, LandscapeArtists.com is valued at £15,000!

There are several considerations as to whether you need a .com or a .co.uk or whether you can go with something funkier like:

landscapeartists.club

landscapeartists.pro

landscapeartists.design

These considerations are:

  • How important is SEO to you? The more common domains search better!
  • Do you need people to remember the URL? If so, the common domains come to mind more easily!
  • How much do you want to spend? The common domains come at a premium!

So, if SEO is important, you need something memorable, and the cost is no object… go for the common domain ;)

Other considerations before your new brand launch

In the scheme of things, naming would normally happen after you have completed your work on brand positioning, but before you start work on your visual identity. (Oftentimes, the designer will find an idea for the identity system somewhere in the logo… And you can’t really design a logo until you have a name!)

Really you have two options, which are: Launch a placeholder brand or wait until everything is perfect and launch an awesome brand.

Personally, with STANCE ® I used a placeholder because I wasn’t going for a ‘big bang’ launch and there was merit in operationalising my online courses and email workflows to get a sense of how they worked.

However, the likes of UK energy company Bulb.co.uk and at-home fitness company Fiit.tv both launched an awesome brand and celebrated it with a big bang launch. Both companies are over three years old and more or less have the same branding now as they did at launch.

How do I brainstorm my company name in the first place?

Glad you asked! We have a guide for this that explains all about the various types of name that exist and why you might choose one over another.

After you’ve been introduced to terms like descriptive, associative and abstract, the guide goes into detail on how to structure a naming brainstorm.

Head on over and check it out!

STANCE company naming guide


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