Choosing the perfect name for your brand
If you’re here it’s probably because you’re starting a new business (congrats, happy for you) or you’re thinking about re branding. Very exciting!
I’ve been working with several coaching clients who are ready to venture in their industry and they need to pick a name that really identifies them and can help them stand out. And it’s not easy! It’s usually one of the most time-consuming aspects because they want to make it right and they want to stand out but it can take a while before they find the right name that aligns with their message, with their offerings, with their personality, and with their ideal client. Will they like your business name? Will they hate it? Your business name is the first introduction when your ideal client hears about you, and that’s how your ideal client will be attracted (or not) to you and to your company as soon as they hear about it.
Let’s talk about the different steps to choose the perfect name for your brand.
What’s your strategy?
I have a program (Branding Blueprint) that can help you with your entire branding process. The first module of my program is related to your brand image, your message, your mission. It’s all about brainstorming. You need to have a brand strategy. You need to know what your business will be about, who your ideal client is, what your values are, what your mission is. Once you have a clear idea about your foundation (you know who you are and what you will do for your clients) then you can start thinking about possible names. This is the time when you start making a list of possible words that can relate to the business. Grab pen and paper and let your imagination go wild!
What are the options?
The words you choose can include your specialty or your products or services, your location, maybe emotions. What do you want to accomplish? What is your goal? How unique are you? What do you offer that others in your industry don’t? How can you tell that to your clients? You can even choose to use your name if you’re thinking about building your personal brand. In the event and wedding industry there are a lot of celebrity designers and planners who built their brand around their full name: David Tutera, Colin Cowie, Preston Bailey, Martha Stewart to name a few. The biggest advantage is that it will establish you as the expert, as the authority however, if you decide to go in this direction, make sure you have an LLC (limited liability company) so you will keep personal and business separate for legal protection in case of lawsuits.
The important thing is that you express your business very clearly, you don’t want clients to come to you and ask: “So, what do you do?” If you choose your name you will need to add a tagline or something that explains what you do, like Susan Smith Events & Weddings.
When you find a great name for your business, this can help you establish and increase your authority, and really elevate your brand.
On the other hand, when you choose a bad name for your business it will take you longer (and you will have to spend more in marketing and advertising) to let your potential clients what you can do for them, what your brand values are.
An alternative is to work on an acronym (an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word – FBI = Federal Bureau of Investigation or NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration) that can include what you do or your name. For instance, KHW for Kelly Henderson Weddings. One good way is to check if an acronym is already in use at Acronym Finder. You will enter your desired initials and the site will show who else is using it. For instance, if your desired acronym stands for things that you don’t want to be associated with, then don’t use it!
How does it sound?
I always suggest my clients to come up with at least 10 words or phrases that can be combined so we can play with them and see how they sound and they look once you write them down all together. We experiment with them by reading them out loud so that we can hear the sound and we make sure they are easy to pronounce (when you introduce yourself in person and on the phone, for instance) – and they’re easy to spell.
This comes from my personal experience because I decided to use the same business name that I had in Italy. However, here in the United States my company name was not very easy to pronounce or to spell so at the beginning I struggled a lot. I definitely didn’t do my research and I just thought it would be cool to have an exotic name for my company. But I was soooo wrong! I also didn’t have anything that would tell people what I was doing, so my business name only said La Dolce Idea (which means The Sweet Idea in Italian, and it’s also a play of words with La Dolce Vita). Basically, my goal with that name was to let clients know that I was there to make their life easier when planning an event or a wedding. However, all this didn’t translate here in America. And I always had people coming to me asking what the heck I was doing! So, after about a year I added “Events & Weddings” to my logo and that helped a lot. Then, I changed it to La Dolce idea Weddings & Soirées since I started to specialize in weddings, and that was very helpful. But, the name pronunciation still kept a lot of potential clients away, I believe. Now that the company is established in the community, people remember the name because it’s unique, they now know how to pronounce it, and they refer me to their clients without any problem.
How can I protect it?
Once you have a couple of possible names that you really like, it’s time to do some research and make sure your favorite business name is unique and nobody else is using it.
This is a very serious thing, guys. If you infringe on a copyright, it could cost you a lot of money (and time). You don’t want to start your business with the wrong foot and receive a “cease and desist” letter the day you open or, even worse, after months or years that you’ve been in business.
I always suggest that you protect your name, not only you make sure the name is not used by anyone else – you also prevent others to use it in the future.
You can apply for trademark protection (a trademark protects the words or names or symbols, and logos) for added peace of mind. You can ask your attorney, visit your state or government website to check the availability, or search online. One of the most popular services is LegalZoom where they will do everything for you for about $200: they will search the federal trademark database to make sure there are no name conflicts; they prepare the paperwork, and more.
How does it look?
Now that we have narrowed down the choices and you have a couple of great options for your business name, it’s time to test it online and see
- If a domain is available
- If it looks good once it’s spelled all in one word when people type it in their computer
If the domain is not available (meaning, another company is using your preferred domain – It can be anywhere in the world), then you need to think about alternative extensions or adding / changing certain words.
Extensions other than the most popular .com can be: .biz, .net, .co which is becoming popular, or by country. Mine is .us which is for United States (LaDolceIdea.com was already taken, and it’s actually owned by a pastry shop in Italy – Sometimes clients go to the .com site and they ask me if I’m selling cookies now! LOL) If you live in the UK you will use the co.uk extension, for instance.
There are also brand new extensions today that you can consider like .expert, .online (if you sell products on the internet), .global (if you do destination weddings, for instance), .photography if you are a photographer, .rentals if you have an inventory available, .solutions (maybe you’re a designer), and new extensions are being offered more and more, such as specific cities: I know .london, .rome and more are coming soon. You can visit GoDaddy, they have tons of new extensions to choose from, and they can help with the description of your business, too.
If you want to stay with the traditional .com, then you can be creative with the name. If you live in San Diego like me, you can add SD to the business name in case it’s taken, or including the city, like FabulousWeddingsChicago. That can also help you with SEO by adding your geographical area.
Again, play with different options until you find the one that speaks to you. Just try to avoid a domain name that is super long, it will be difficult for clients to remember it.
Does it work?
Now that you have 1-2 possible names in your list, it’s time to make sure that it reflects your brand image everywhere online, and it doesn’t get associated with other types of businesses.
A coaching client of mine had selected a very unfortunate name for her business: Lace and Corsets. What comes to your mind when you hear a name like that? Not a wedding planner for sure. She was a bridal salon owner turned wedding planner and she specialized in same-sex weddings only for women. But when we did a search on Google a lot of results were about sexy lingerie, which was not what she wanted to be known for!
It’s also a great idea to ask fellow professionals and friends what they think about your new name. This is very useful feedback so use it to your advantage to make small changes and tweaks here and there. If you’re re-branding, you could also survey your current and past clients to see what they think: does it sounds better than the previous business name or not?
Once you have chosen your business name, celebrate! You’re one step closer to your first sale or first client! Whoohooo! Then, you will start working on your brand identity: colors, logo, and more.
Here’s how my Branding Blueprint program can help you identify your unique message and be authentic and, as a result, be more successful and profitable.
The Branding Blueprint is a 2-hour, one-on-one video training with four modules where I will help you create a brand from scratch or to re-brand if your business is going through some changes.
Each module will focus on:
1. Brainstorming session to discover and create your unique style and message
2. Brand personality to create your unique style
3. Brand photo shoot
4. Offline and online presence for a consistent and amplified brand recognition
Take advantage of the Branding Blueprint and increase your success!
Need help with your business? Let’s chat! Schedule a FREE Clarity Call with me HERE
Holistic Precision Life Coach, Brain Wellness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with epigenetics, neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.