The next excerpt is from Brad Flowers’s The Naming E book. Purchase it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Each business has a set of unwritten branding guidelines, or tendencies, that turn out to be codified over time. Typically they will turn out to be clichés. Most industries could have just a few forms of names. This occurs naturally: One firm finds success, and the following firm mimics them as a result of it labored for the primary. The subsequent factor you recognize, it’s a rule, and nobody remembers why it began. This is applicable to all the things from how companies are run to paint selection and typography to their names. However let’s take a look at naming for now.
The title of my firm, Bullhorn, is an effective instance. There are basic naming traits within the branding company world which have turn out to be unwritten guidelines. The primary is to make use of a modifier with the phrase “model,” like this:
- Transferring Manufacturers
I selected these corporations as a result of they’re all giant, profitable businesses that do nice work. In some ways, they’re the businesses Bullhorn aspires to be. However their names are forgettable. Greater than that, they’re undifferentiated. How might you bear in mind when you appreciated the work from Transferring, Inter, or Future? The names are too related.
The second basic development is the legislation agency mannequin, during which you title the company after the founder(s), like this:
- Wolff Olins
Whereas these names are distinctive, they don’t inform you a lot in regards to the firm. What they do is give historic weight. They sound established. They sound outdated. Selecting this form of title places you in the identical tier as different skilled service suppliers—therefore the “legislation agency mannequin” description. What these names inform shoppers is that the suppliers will are typically secure, conventional, and pretty costly decisions.
We additionally checked out promoting businesses as a result of they usually have branding capabilities. Many advert businesses begin with the legislation agency mannequin till the title will get too lengthy and unwieldy. At that time they make it an initialism, like this:
Once more, I’m selecting on these three as a result of they’re huge, world corporations that do essentially the most recognizable work of their business. They’ll take it. These names are undeniably simpler to deal with, however they’re interchangeable.
So, we’ve got recognized three basic naming traits amongst our rivals: modifier with “model,” legislation agency mannequin, and initialism. The essential factor is what to do with this info.
For Bullhorn, we didn’t need the title to have the phrase “model” in it. We additionally didn’t need to title it after the founders. That is partly as a result of if you Google my final title, you get a bunch of flower outlets, however that’s inappropriate. And at last, we didn’t need a title that will finally turn out to be an initialism. These are typically forgettable, particularly for a brand new firm that doesn’t take pleasure in familiarity.
On the subject of enterprise names, there’s a restrict to how far outdoors the unwritten guidelines you possibly can go. Folks are inclined to choose names that sound like they match of their class. But when the title is just too much like all the opposite corporations, it’s going to mix in with the noise. And when you go too far within the different route, it received’t be acknowledged as one thing that matches.
Thankfully, “Bullhorn” nonetheless is smart right here. Whereas they’re within the minority, metaphorical names are nonetheless used within the branding house, and sometimes to nice impact. Think about these examples, all branding businesses like Bullhorn:
These corporations are utilizing metaphors in a manner that’s much like our logic. Perhaps Matchstic creates the spark that begins the fireplace. Salt gives the seasoning that makes your model scrumptious. Murmur is utilizing an identical metaphor from an reverse perspective. It’s additionally about communication, however they aren’t yelling it in your face. They’re creating the word-of-mouth that travels from individual to individual. Thus, Murmur.
So. It’s essential to consider your business. Like ours, yours will possible have a couple of unwritten guidelines. What are they, and why do they exist? Are you able to break a few of them and stand out from the gang, or is there a superb motive to observe them? Do you need to be perceived as established or as an upstart? That notion is tremendously influenced by the way you select to place your self in relation to your business’s unwritten guidelines.
Unwritten Guidelines Train
That will help you decide whether or not your business has an unwritten guidelines, make an inventory of 30 or so of your rivals. It’d assist to divide them into teams. What are essentially the most established corporations in your business? Which corporations are disrupting custom? Are there outliers which might be simply unusual? When you’ve recognized your teams, you can probably select three naming traits. Circle the traits you’re excited about pursuing, and cross out those you need to keep away from. This may assist encourage some enterprise title concepts.