In the first article in this series, I went on about what a good namer I am to make you feel comfy trusting my advice. If you like cute little puppies, you should read that story.
I referred to the preliminary work I feel you should do before you even get to naming, which is to know your intention for the name, and I directed you to a bit of my writing on that. One post had a primer exercise and a real live business example so you could see how my process has played out, creatively and with some success.
Then I asked you to get busy brainstorming, or at least gathering people or ideas to help you through a creative process. Open your notebooks, grab a pen, let’s go.
This is where I expect you to be at now, to begin Part II. With your intentions for your business, product, service, domain, or store name set. And some ideas rolling around.
The Zen Part
A nice consultant just told me that perhaps the topic I’m covering in this area (advice on business naming, tagline development, early intentions for your business/product, etc.) really falls under the category of branding services more than writing.
Well, yes, that is true in theory. But I’ve been at this a while and I’m tired of theory. I’ve had enough practice to know what works, and writing this stuff out works. You think about it, talk about it, piece it together, sound it out, make sure it rings true. Then check for domain names. That’s all. It really doesn’t have to be so theoretical.
Sure, you can be especially creative if you like. That will be the art part–the fun part, if you’re into it. Or the hard part, if you’re not.
But neither the creative process nor branding theory matter much with naming your business if they’re going to stress you out, get you stuck or cost you a bunch of time or money you don’t have. That would be silly. Because… and listen to me, here, you listen to me good, because I invented a branding communication strategic theoretical methodology for, like, people on the Mayflower: your name is not your brand.
I repeat. Your name is NOT your brand!!! (ooh. The dreaded 3 exlamation points. This is serious.)
And, more important (as almost everyone messes this one up) your LOGO is not your brand.
Your sign is not your brand. Your letterhead is not your brand. Your catchy slogan is not your brand. Your location is not your brand. So what is?
Your brand is a promise. Your brand is the relationship of value that you promise to your intended audience. What they always know they can count on when they hear your name, see your logo, drive up to your sign, receive your letterhead, enter your location.
You see, in the long run, it only matters a little what you call yourself. You can relax.
Because there are thousands of great brands with crappy and/or boring names. What makes them great, is their promises–strong, clear, valued, kept.
The Art Part
Okay, I get it, you don’t have the benefit of being an old-time pharmacist who also makes soda fountain concoctions with mysterious ingredients so you can’t count on success if you with a brand name that has strange words like Coca- or Pepsi- in front of it. You want to come up with a shiny, cool name that’s unique in your market, which will also stand the test of time and perfectly showcase the brand.
There are ways to try for that. But I wanted you to understand that it certainly isn’t necessary, because it’s not easy. That’s why they pay people the big bucks to do it.
When it comes to DIY attempts, I recommend not freaking out over the Art part, first and foremost. Because of the Zen part.
As you prioritize your investment of time and energy at this stage, it’s far more important for you to move forward with promoting the promise behind a good, solid brand name quickly and with gusto, than it is to waste time coming up with what you think might be a better name. Ooh. That’s good:
It’s far more important for you to move forward with promoting the promise behind a good, solid brand name quickly and with gusto at this point, than it is to waste time coming up with what you think might be a better name.
Here are some rules of engagement for the Art part:
- If it’s been longer than a week, it’s time to pick a name
- Fill at least one journal page with ideas, anything goes (free write)
- Remember the name isn’t as important as you think (don’t panic)
- You can pick any name you like or want (that isn’t owned, look later)
- Consider simple/boring names, like big companies have (Allstate, GE)
- Consider simple related names from your category (Staples, Home Depot)
- Consider unrelated names that you just happen to like (Caribou (?) Coffee)
- Leave your list sit for a day or two, then pick your faves (just a few)
- Try the faves on other people to get a little feedback (beware too much!)
- Go find out which faves are available for you, then
The Naming Part
Again, if it’s been longer than a week, it’s time to pick a name.
I realize those bullets might seem vague. But, give just that much a try if you understand what I’m talking about enough to get your notebook out and go.
If you’re a real novice and you’re still suffering with the naming process, don’t panic. We can solve this problem.
To take a simple approach to ending your suffering with words in general, you can get my 10-Minute Copymaster guide sent to you today. I share three steps that help you take a fresh look at what’s going wrong.
Or, contact me! We’ll figure it out, don’t worry.