When naming your company or brand it is important to think of a number of things:
• What does it mean?
• How does it translate?
• How does it look? • How does it sound?
What does it mean? Some brand names have meaning behind the words and some do not. But if yours does have meaning it is important that it aligns to your mission statement and your target audience. For example Google’s original name was going to be BackRub. Can you imagine telling your work associate to “just BackRub it”.
If you are thinking globally you also need to make sure it is not offensive in other countries. To reverse engineer this … would you ever want to be a brand advocate of PEE COLA? In Ghana this means “very good Cola” so maybe not a bad choice there. Although, in the states I would opt for a COKE myself.
How does it look? Amazon’s original name was going to be Cadabra. However at quick glance someone thought it read "Cadaver." That would make for some pretty expensive and extremely creepy overnight shipments.
How does it sound? I moved from Brooklyn some years back. My mailing address is Accord. When I was getting acclimated to the area I pronounced it Accord — \ə-ˈkȯrd\ — as in the car Honda Accord. Many times I was corrected until I got it right. Accord, the town, is pronounced with a flat "A" — /eɪ/ -- with the accent on the "A"— ACK-kord. This just doesn’t sound like the bucolic place I relocated from Brooklyn for.
The original name of Accord NY was Port Jackson, which also has a more romantic feel than Ackkord. The story goes that the townspeople signed a petition which went to the Capital in Albany for a new name. However, “the powers that be” could not come to an accord on a new name. And “Accord” was chosen. Well, at least there was some reason behind the name.
Even so, in lieu of making a faux pas and saying I live in a four-door Accord, I opt to tell people the towns I live closer to such as Stone Ridge, Kripplebush, Lyonsville. All of these names feel good when I say them, feel representative of where I live and put a smile on my face.
So when coming up with a name for your brand, consider who will be your brand advocates and if your company name will put a smile on their face…. for the right reasons.
Taking all of my experiences of working with fortune 500 companies and massive advertising agencies, I moved to the Hudson River Valley to establish my own company. Now I help clients all over build their company's brand and am loving it!