Step 1: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid Rule
Step 2: Choosing A Brand Name
When selecting a name, remember to adhere to the KISS principle by keeping it brief. Choose a name that is no longer than 7 letters, and utilize words that represent your services or your intended audience. For instance, if your target market consists of automobile owners, it is wise to use words like drivers, drive, or cars in your name.
- To generate an extensive roster of names for consideration, commence by brainstorming 50 or more options.
- Subsequently, gather insights from a variety of sources, particularly prospective customers, by conducting a survey to garner name ideas.
- Once you have accumulated an adequate list, prioritize the options from most potent to least, and hone in on the top three candidates.
Step 3: Check Availability & Usability
The task of generating a memorable and easily comprehensible name is only half the struggle. The remaining challenge is to confirm its availability and ensure its security and protection. Prior to finalizing your decision on a company or brand name, it is vital to check if it can be secured and protected on various levels such as state, national, domain name, and social media. In the event of unavailability, it is recommended to revert back to the second step.
Determine Availability & Usability
- Conduct a search on Google
- Check state records
- Check national records to see if a trademark exists.
- Conduct a domain name reservation search.
- Conduct a social media search on top 5 sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube
Make sure no other company has a similar name, especially in the same or similar industry.
Important: Entrepreneurs often mistakenly assume that just because they can register a company name in their state, it automatically means it’s available for commercial use. However, even if the name is successfully incorporated at the state level, there’s still a chance of infringing on an existing company or trademark. Even registering a Fictitious Name won’t absolve one of such potential conflicts. Hence, incorporating a name is not enough assurance of exclusivity. It’s crucial to check both state and federal laws to ensure compliance with registration and incorporation requirements.
Step 4: Brand Identity
Consider one of the three options when developing a brand identity strategy:
Option 1: Company Name with Product Brand
- Microsoft – Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Xbox (microsoft.com)
- Samsung – Samsung Galaxy (Samsung.com)
- Apple – Apple iMac, Apple TV (apple.com)
- Amazon – Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Prime, Amazon Tap (Amazon.com)
Most Popular Use: Multi-Faceted Tech Companies
Option 2: Company Name & Product Name
- Twitter (Twitter.com)
- Facebook (facebook.com)
- Snapchat (snapchat.com)
- Evernote (evernote.com)
- UpWork (upwork.com)
- Petco (petco.com)
- Blue Apron (blueapron.com)
- TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com)
- Legal Zoom (legalzoom.com)
Most Popular Use: Niche Application or Service Providers
Option 3: Company Name Different From Product Name
- Proctor & Gable (P&G) – Tide, Bounty, Charmin, Febreze (pg.com & febreze.com)
- Unilever – Dove, Axe, Degree (unilever.com, axe.us)
- Frito-Lay – Doritos, Cheetos, Sun Chips (fritolay.com, doritos.com)
Most Popular Use: Consumer Products
Hint: Notice the strongest brands in the world use KISS. Notice the simplicity and continuity between the name and the domain name.
Your brand identity and strategy should align with the nature of your business and target audience. Choosing a simple corporate name can be a strategic decision to build brand awareness among customers and potential customers. This approach is particularly effective for certain types of businesses.
Step 5: Brand Promise
A brand promise is conveyed to the public through a name, icon, or logo. It signifies the values that your company holds dear. In essence, it is a pledge to your customers. When someone hears or sees your name and/or logo, what are the three key thoughts that should come to their mind? Those are the defining aspects of your brand promise.
- Environmentally Conscious
- Easy to Work With
- Quality Products
- Quality Service
- Fast Service
- Low Prices
Hint: Typically, a company is able to fulfill three distinct brand promises. However, when this list becomes excessively lengthy, all the assurances are weakened. Apple, for instance, immediately evokes specific brand promises, such as innovation, creativity, and quality, both consciously and subconsciously. A brand’s commitments may even impact the choice of name selected. Amazon.com, for example, prioritizes brand promises that revolve around customer-centricity, convenience, and progressive thinking.
What are three brand promises you want everyone to associate with your startup company?
Step 6: Create a Logo and Icon
Once you have established a name and its meaning, the next step is to craft visual representations that effectively convey your identity and purpose. It is important to differentiate between logos and icons, as the latter is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the realm of mobile apps.
Hint: It is essential to craft logos with professional design and communication strategies that deliver the intended message to the target audience. For instance, if you own a recently launched amusement park, the logo must mirror the concept of vivacity and enjoyment through a playful and colorful design. Similarly, if you are a corporate law firm dealing in technology, your logo’s style and color should depict innovation and businesslike behavior to your potential clients.
Rule: It is unwise to downplay the significance of your logo and seek cheaper alternatives during the design and development stage. Your logo serves as a representation of your identity, your services, and your approach. It often becomes the sole point of recognition for your brand. Therefore, it is recommended to allocate a budget of at least $1,000 for a high-quality logo for your startup.
Step 7: Create a Tagline
A tagline is the most important thing you want people to know and remember about your company. For example, Tesla has considered, “Drive Quickly. Tread Lightly,” and “Zero emissions. Zero compromises.” These tagline tells Tesla’s audience their primary brand promise.
The foundation for a powerful brand lies in a well-crafted brand strategy. Take for instance, recently established brands like Chewy.com, BlueApron.com, and WordPress.com which are characterized by their straightforwardness, creativity, and memorability.
How to determine if you have a strong brand strategy? Work towards answering “Yes” to the following questions:
- Is your company name simple, easy to understand, and easy to remember?
- Is it available on all levels, and can it be protected?
- Does it fit in one of the 3 brand identity options?
- Is your logo appealing, has a clear message, and is well designed?
The more obscure the connection between a company’s name and its activities, the greater the resources required to familiarize people with the brand’s values. Although best practices may become less crucial if a brand achieves viral status, it’s still prudent to create a brand that enables the audience to easily recall its identity and purpose.A strong startup company brand gets built on a solid brand strategy.Click To Tweet