Bareknuckle Branding

The name of a business is more than just something that will be on your logo, and it sure as hell shouldn’t be a last minute thought. Naming your business lays the foundation for the success of your company. Just like the name of a person, it carries the very root of a business’s identity. Also, like a person, you may not name your business for what it is, but instead for the future you envision for it.

It isn’t just the name of the company we are talking about, either. Every name, from product or service you provide to the titles used to navigate the website, ALL of them matter, because they are all are speaking the language of your business. So then, what language should your business speak? What do you plan for your business to accomplish under this name?

We’ve been around the block a few times, and boy have we seen some less than successful business names. If you are a new business, or if you are considering rebranding your existing business, take a look at the mistakes we’ve seen, so you can skip that mess altogether.

  1. Consulting the Collective: The identity of your business is not up for debate, at least not to your closest company. Sure, input can be helpful, but the fact of the matter is, nobody knows your business better than you, and including friends and family on such a big decision can muddy the waters when it comes time to decide.
  2. Plain, Boring Text: There is a recent trend in boiling down a company to a definitive descriptor word. (Sup or Burger, you get the idea). This can be extremely effective, if you choose the right word. If you deliver a very specific product, even better! On the flip side,his gets tricky with service companies that offer a large selection of services because the title doesn’t encompass the full capabilities of the business.
  3. Revealing Your Secret Weapon: If you are a good business owner,  there’s no doubt you’re wildly passionate about the unique process or ingredient that sets you apart from the competition. Developing a name from this secret weapon will only dilute the power of it. Think of it this way: as people, we don’t walk around with our greatest characteristic plastered on our foreheads. Avoid merging your best quality with your business name.
  4. Default to the Region: Typically, including the name of your state, town or region in your business name can potentially place a cap on growth, making your company appear irrelevant once it expands past the region it is named after. If you don’t plan on growing any larger than your town or state, then ignore this advice entirely.
  5. Cliche Trap: Hackneyed anything is a nightmare. A common cliche derives from most companies considering themselves as the top option in their industry and therefore choose names like Summit or Premier. However, metaphors can work, if selected carefully.
  6. Obscurity: Understanding the product or service that your company provides will help distinguish whether it can handle a more obscure name. Basic products like cookies should probably stay away from naming the company after the baker who first used artificial ingredients, for example. Companies offering creative services have more freedom with this, but as a general rule, try not confuse your potential customers.
  7. Invention: Creating a name out of thin air, or combining two words to make something new can certainly work (look at Xerox!). However, because you are creating a whole new name, the business will have to rely heavily on advertising to “make a name” for it’s name. SEO will also present itself as more of an obstacle. Likewise, if you have a title that you can’t even spell, it’s safe to assume potential customers will have a difficulty remembering your business at all.