Define and Relate to your Target Audience
This means understanding your audience’s age, sex, ethnicity, income, education level and locale. What motivates them to buy? How do they think? What are their hot buttons? Set up customer profiles, even if it’s just in a simple spreadsheet. If you've done your homework in Step 3 and created your business plan, chances are you already have your target audience defined.
Choose a Brand Name
While your name is certainly not everything, it is an important piece to building a lasting brand.
Great brand names:
- Are emotional
- Stick on the brain
- Have personalities
- Have depth to tell stories and communicate with
As soon as you pick a name for your company, secure a domain name that is consistent with your brand name. You should also research trademark availability.
Should a name be literal and descriptive or obscure and emotional? There are strong arguments on both sides. Leaning toward the obscure and emotional can lead to very distinctive brands, which the literal and descriptive can speed up the process of communicating your message to your audience. Each case is unique and sometimes brand names get passed down and changing them would take an act of Congress.
Generic names like Computer Solutions, Performance Printing, or Innovative Technologies will just make you spend more and work harder at building a brand. They don’t have legs and will likely drown in the sea of sameness. Being descriptive - as opposed to being generic - is not a bad thing for names. Given your limited budget, it can actually be a great way to go. Try to be original so your name stands out, so it means something, so you can own it, and so it will be much harder to copy.
Avoid names that are hard to spell or pronounce
Name availability tools
BizFilings provides inexpensive solutions to check for and reserve your business name.
Ask yourself, how will the market receive the name? With supporting context, will the market get it? Will it jive with your strategic positioning of the brand? Are there negative connotations or associations with the name?
Is there a magic, fool-proof method for testing names?
No. In fact, sometimes too much analysis just delays decisions and defeats the whole mission of naming your brand before the next decade. I recommend that you test a little, listen a little to people you respect, listen to your gut feelings, and proceed with a choice.
While the brand name is very important, a brand cannot survive on name alone. The brand name and how the brand is executed are equally vital for a successful and sustained brand life. A great brand name can serve as the anchor to your cause, a symbol to your story, a point of difference in your marketplace, a memory trigger, or just one important part of your branding arsenal.