This is one of the questions I get asked a lot. There really is not one single answer.
In the past company names and brand names where treated as one. Company names or brand names were not seen as important and it was quite common to just use your name for both.
Times have changed and the company image or branding has become everything. You have a choice to call your company or brand anything you want if it hasn’t already been chosen and secured by someone else. If you have some ideas about names make sure to check it out and see if anyone is already using it and what people relate that name to. This also counts for people names. If your name is Tony Robbins, you will struggle using this name as it’s already firmly established and probably secured as well.
Your company name does not have to be the same as your brand name. But many company names have turned into brand names. Any brand name needs a connection to a product, service or person. For example if you think about names like Harley Davidson, you’ll probably know that this is the name of the person who started the company. But today we don’t relate the name to that person anymore but to the products, the bikes.
That’s why we are often look for words which already describe the product or service. This is generally a good idea, but you’re not the only one and available words become more rare.
If you are a consultant and the work you do depends only on you, your name could be the simplest solution. There are many successful people out there using their name as their brand. Tony Robbins, Armani, Ducati, Louis Vuitton, to name a few.
Having your name as a brand name ties you directly to the brand. This can be good or bad. If you know that your business will be about you it’s a very good choice. But if you’re thinking about selling the brand one day or getting other people involved at the fore-front of the business, this might not be a good solution. In most cases your name does not really tell anyone what it is you’re doing. This could be a disadvantage.
You should also consider if your personal name fits the product or service you want to offer. If your name is Jonny Fat and you’re planning to sell diet products, your name might be a disadvantage as a brand name. Keep that in mind and google it first to see what your name is related to in the market.
Otherwise there is no specific formula for brand names. If you look at names like Google, you probably wonder who came up with this. Today Google is one of the biggest brands in the world and the name has already turned into a verb. That should give you a hint why google was chosen.
- Be very clear about your target market and the products and services you’re going to offer
- Understand the language of your target market
- If you work internationally, make sure the name you choose does not have a different meaning in a different language
- Because most likely your brand name will become your website, Facebook page and email address, make sure it can be spelled easily
- For the same reason check that the name is available online
Take some sticky notes and start with the obvious like your products and services.
For each of them use a different sticky note and stick them to a board or table.
Define the local area you work in and sum it up. If you work only in Italy write Italian on a sticky note. If you cover a bigger area, group and name that area (Europe, Asia, America, etc)
Next look at your target market and define it in the same way. If you work mainly for universities, write students on a note.
Now play with it and put the notes together in different order. Or group them and define a name for the group and use that. If your result is too large, see if you can meaningful abbreviate it.
For example I work with an organisation on their Business Booster Mentor Program. The organisation is called “European Students of Industrial Engineering and Management”. That is a mouth full so they came up with “ESTIEM“.
Abbreviations don’t always work and are best if they can be pronounced like a word not just a combination of letters. HPLU is much harder to say than PUHL.
If you’re not sure or need more answers, join me on my Facebook group EA Pioneer Group and lets see if we can’t give you some more pointers specific to your business.
Enjoy the process and tell me:
What is your brand name?