Every start-up business dreams of the day their name becomes a household word. There is no easier way to judge a brand’s success than by listening for it in everyday speech. Just think of the last time you asked for a Kleenex or a Post-It. Those brand names have become synonymous with the industry itself. In reality, not all facial tissues are from the Kleenex Company, which is owned by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. There are actually multitudes of companies that produce facial tissues, each one trying to get out from under Kleenex’s hold on the industry.
Post-It Notes have also become household names, regardless of whether or not the note in question was actually produced by 3M, the maker of Post-It Notes. Despite the other brands in the industry, most people refer to a small note with adhesive on the backside as a Post-It Note.
There are many other examples of brand names that have become so popular they are engrained in society’s daily language. One of the best examples is obviously Google. Although the Internet search engine is now immensely successful, it started out as a simple idea. When Larry Paige and Sergey Brin developed the company and registered the domain Google.com in 1997, they had no idea what was in store for them. Nobody had ever heard the word “google” before and even today most don’t know that the company name refers to “googol,” a mathematic terms for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. Paige and Brin chose the name to reflect their mission of organizing a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.
Today, “Google” is a household name and is often used as a verb. Spend the next couple of days listening for the various ways the name is used. People often talk about “googling” something even if they don’t intentionally use the Google search engine. “Googling” and “searching” have become virtually synonymous. As a result, any new product with the Google name on it enjoys instant popularity and credibility. Less than twenty years after creating the name “Google” by manipulating an existing word, Paige and Brin have completely transformed the industry.
In addition to being creative and memorable, a brand name needs to fit into the industry of which it belongs. Technology based companies often choose a name that is indicative of the innovative, trendy, and futuristic nature of the industry. Likewise, children’s toys and games need fun and whimsical names in order to affectively appeal to their target market. Regardless of the industry, if a name does not catch on and become repeatedly used, it will likely not enjoy great success and popularity. The goal of any brand name is to pop into someone’s head when he/she thinks about a particular product. Thirsty for a soda? Coca-Cola spends a great deal of money trying to insure their soda is the one you reach for.
Creating the best product in the industry will be worthless if nobody knows you exist. That is why your business name is so vitally important. Spending your time in obscurity will inevitably lead to failure. Although you may never enjoy the same rapid and universal success as a company like Google and Coca-Cola, a creative and industry-specific business name can be your first big step towards realizing your goals.
Social media can provide a fascinating look at the branding process. The sites that are the most successful are those that have made the proper name decision with their target markets in mind. Some networks are geared towards the younger generation or people with a certain disposition. Others are intended for business professionals and young entrepreneurs.
Take the names “Twitter” and “LinkedIn.” It isn’t difficult to see which terms apply to which target market. Twitter markets itself as a laid-back social network that can keep people connected and up to date on all the latest news and gossip. The younger generation (also known as the Millennials) have virtually grown up using Twitter and have thoroughly embraced that method of communication. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is geared towards a serious, business-minded crowd. The name reflects that level of sophistication and significance.
Choosing the right name for your business can be one of the most important decisions you make. Analyzing your target market and understanding the industry you are trying to break into are key components of that decision. Once you recognize who you are as a company and determine what you are trying to accomplish, you can choose a name indicative of those goals. Creativity is important if you want to stand out from the competition. Don’t do what has already been done; forge your own path.
At Brandroot, our names are meticulously chosen and developed to give you an abundance of quality, inventive names from which to choose. Before you make your decision, ask yourself a few questions: What do I want my brand name to say? What is my target market looking for? How can I separate myself from the competition? What is the best way to infuse myself into the industry? Knowing the answers to these and other related questions can help you choose the name that will give you the best opportunity for success.