Branding · Marketing · Starting Out

How To Choose A Name For Your Business

Brand Equity
When choosing a business or company name, you have to consider the overall branding you want to achieve and how you want your business to be perceived by customers. A brand is much more than a logo or a name. It is the whole ethos of a company and it exists in your customers’ mind or at least you should want it to. A brand tells a customer what they can expect from you, your products and services. In my case with The Sarky Cow, I wanted it to be perceived as a fun, playful and quirky business that also had a dedication to flawless customer service. These attibutes are what I considered my customers wanted from me, so I wanted it to be clear from the outset that this is what I would give them.

Brand Positioning
It is also important for you to consider where you place or position your brand within the market. The easiest example I can give for this is to think about the UK supermarkets (or if you are overseas, your big named supermarkets). Marks and Spencers and Waitrose and Sainsburys have positioned themselves to be high end, slightly more expensive but with great quality, where as Lidl and Aldi have positioned themselves to be inexpensive, basic foods, often non branded but ok quality. Both of these models are completely viable but once you have labelled yourself as a particular type, it is difficult to reposition. I mean, imagine if Lidl tried to be luxury or Marks and Spencers decided to go cheap, this would confuse us wouldn’t it? They are both going for different markets and are both definite in that positioning. You also then have Asda, Tesco and Morrisons. These have positioned themselves in the middle and want to be perceived as decent quality but affordable with mid line pricing. There are markets for all of these types of business and if you think about other sectors, you can clearly see where they have positioned themselves.. Would a BMW 1 series buyer suddenly switch to a Ford Fiesta? I very much doubt it but both have very successful business and have branded themselves to be exactly where they want to be.

Of course, both of these things are much more than a name, but while thinking of a name, it is important to consider these aspects. If you were to use the term ‘exquisitve or luxury’ in your name, but then positioned yourself to make them cheap and stack em high, it would not match. Anyway, just something to ponder.

Choosing A Name
So, while keeping in mind about brand equity and positioning, I have also made a list of things to consider while choosing a name.

  1. Make sure it represents your overall brand, products and target market. For example, The Sarky Cow, suggests that it is going to be fun. A friends business is named Pampered Pooch which I think is really obvious. She caters for dogs, not only any dog though a pampered dog. (She actually makes quality leads and collars mainly but they completely fit in with her brand).
  2. It should be easy to say, pronounce and spell. You want a customer to easily remember the name of your business and also be able to spell it when they are looking for you on the internet, cause they will be eventually I promise.
  3. It shouldn’t limit you. You may want to add other products, or even take some away in the long term. I made this mistake with my flower shop years ago and called it About Flowers (I actually did this because back then people used the yellow pages and not Google, so I was always on the first page), much easier to get the front of search back then. But it restricted me to flowers although I did expand my offerings, my name did not suggest it and if I had my time again, this is something I would consider.
  4. Check the domain name and trademark list for it. Just in case someone else is working on a business with the same name, doing the same thing. This is honestly more popular than you think and you don’t want to put all that effort in, for someone to come along and make you change it.
  5. Make it short. I know a longer sentence may explain what you do more, but is anyone going to remember it? Short and punchy is definitely the way forward in my opinion. Maybe even something that you can put some imagery with so that it is easy to recognise too. Logos are a whole different blog though that I will definitely do.
  6. If you are in the UK, it might be worth checking companies house to see if any limited companies have registered the name. This is different to trademarks and ultimately really doesn’t that much as if you do decide to eventually become LTD you can still trade under your name and call your company an alternative name. But, you might want to have something totally unique and this is another way of checking. Not all limited companies are trademarked. I know I wasn’t when I had the flower shop and I became limited.

Ways To Brainstorm
1. Write down words that describe your business, products or services. Is it hip, glam, funny, luxury, classy?
2. Look through the theasaurus to get alternative names for the initial ones until you have a full sheet of them.
3. Think about where you work from. Is it a workshop, a mill, a studio, cellar, basement, loft?
4. Think about who you work with or what you eventually want to? A crew, a pack, a tribe, a troop, a mob, a squad.

A couple of ideas from just thinking above, off the top of my head would be ‘The Hip Squad’, which could indicated you sell trendy stuff to trendy people. The chic loft would suggest you sell really classy and chic designs and your space is very much en trend giving it that extra air of sophistication (if this is the brand positioning you are going for).

There are many more ways to brainstorm a new name but this will definitely get you on the right track for sure. Another way is to talk to friends and family, the ones with imagination. I sat with my husband and daughter and words and phrases were literally getting thrown about everywhere until The Sarky Cow was mentioned and we knew that was literally the one.

I hope you find this helpful when choosing a name. If you would like to hear about when I publish my next blog please sign up to be a ‘Grafter’ and I will email you with the relevant link.

Until then keep on grafting…