Studies show that as much as 75% of all consumer purchases are made because of a name, or more specifically, a brand. A successful brand can fetch a 20% to 30% premium in the marketplace. It can make a company more profitable!
The main objective of a name is clarity and recognition. The average person is bombarded with over 3,000 messages and brands every day. You want to reduce buyer confusion and indifference through the use of your name. You want to stand out. There are five primary considerations when naming your business or product:
- Can the customer relate to it? Does it evoke a positive mental image?
- Is it available? A name may be available in your state, or even in the U.S., but is it available globally?
- Is it protectable? What is the likelihood of getting the name registered in all jurisdictions where you intend to do business now and in the future?
- Will it translate well? Does the name have any negative connotations in other languages?
- Is it extensible? Can the name be used in a series? An example of this is the “Dummies” series of books: Excel for Dummies, Windows for Dummies, Wines for Dummies, etc.
- being distinctive (evoke strong images)
- being descriptive
- being global
- being unique and creative
- being memorable (Yahoo, Google)
- registering and protecting
- being easy to say and spell
Be Careful About
- sounding like a competitor (micro, tech)
- using your own name
- adapting a local or regional name
- sounding like every other business (copycat)
- choosing a name that promotes the category
- using initials
- being cute, too creative
Trends In Naming
The trend in naming a company or product is transparent names, or contrived names. These are names that have no dictionary meaning. They can take on whatever meaning or image the company decides to create for them, since they are not associated with any person, place or thing, in any language. A name like OPTICON, for example, sounds good and can be made to look good with the right creative flair. The advantages are:
- It’s distinct; free and clear of competition
- It’s unlimited in language; free and clear of translation problems
- It’s proprietary; free and clear of restriction
The downside is it’s not descriptive. A company would need to invest heavily in marketing and branding in order to build a favorable, recognizable image for a name like this.
Step-by-Step Process For Naming
- Understand the competition’s names, images they evoke, and messages they convey.
- Brainstorm — be creative.
- Emphasize key strategic advantages; suitability to the audience; positioning in the market.
- Be sensitive to gender, race, religion, geographic biases (words have different meaning to different people).
- Investigate and debate the disadvantages of the name.
- Test the use and applications; test longevity.
- Check availability; search for conflicts, similarities.
- Register and protect; Create a mark around the name (distinctive look and feel with colors, graphics, typestyle).
- Have the name independently evaluated, scored.
- Remember: Trademark searches do not delineate between upper and lower case, dashes, slashes or other characters. Web site domain names don’t either.
Costs of Naming
The average cost to search a name on a national basis is about $1,500, or about $30 per state. Companies spend $25,000 or more just to search a name globally. The cost to register a name with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office also varies depending upon the nature of the application.