The Importance of a Name for a Startup

The Importance of a Name for a Startup

Chevrolet Malibu

Brand Names aren’t all created equal. Some names fail to sell. It’s important to use names to stand out and remain memorable in a market crowded with options for customers.

Think of words that describe your products or service. Choose one word, or string a few together, to find something that sticks in your mind. Does it put a clear a picture of your brand in mind? Will it do the same thing for your target audience? It’s important that a name fit your brand as well as what you want your customer to think of your brand.

The Chevrolet Malibu makes you think of luxurious vacations on the sand with mixed drinks with umbrellas in them. Silk brand non-dairy milks make you think of smooth creaminess sliding down your throat like…well maybe not butter, but something like that. The point is that they put a picture in mind, an expectation that the product may deliver on.

Whether your product can meet the created expectation is irrelevant. The name simply needs to evoke something that will stay with people, pull them in, hold them, and entice them. Good names make the selling process easier because one of the benefits is right there in it. Benefits, what the product or service does for the buyer, are what sell people on them.

Benefits give them something. Your product’s benefits make their lives better in some way and they’ll ultimately be happier for owning them. Remember that when you name your business, when you choose the word or words that will serve as your introduction to customers. Your name should evoke something they’ll be getting.

That way, no one will forget you. The worst thing your name can be is forgettable. If you can tell someone the name of your business and forget it a moment later, you’ve failed. They can’t remember you when they need you, or recommend you to others who do, if they can’t remember you. For that reason, don’t be too artistic or cerebral with the name.

Puzzles don’t sell products. People don’t want to have to guess at the meaning of the name or the purpose of the products a business sells. In the time it takes them to work out a confusing name, they can go to your competition whose name plenty of people know and understand. Even if they could have received a better quality product from you, they might choose another company because of a name.

If you’re going to choose a family name for your business, make sure to associate that name with the product whenever possible. Phrases like “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good,” comes to mind. The name reinforces the product. It becomes the benefit. As long as you do that, keep reinforcing your product and it’ll stay  unforgettable.

To summarize,  the steps to choosing a good name are:

  • Think of words that describe your products or service
  • Choose something that bespeaks a benefit for the customer
  • If using a family name, make sure the tagline still names a benefit, making the name part of the product

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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