June 7, 2017 David Deal

5 Guidelines for Naming Your Brand and Product

How to developing winning names that set you up for retail success

Creating a name for your brand and product is the first step to success. As a branding agency with almost two decades of experience in this arena, we are often asked how its done. Here is Deal Design’s 5 guidelines for naming success:

1. Make a Decision: Personal Brand or a Corporate Brand

There are two basic categories for brands: Personal and Corporate. Personal brands are built around an individual and his or her reputation. Corporate brands are built around a company and its mission. For example: Oprah, Tony Robbins, Martha Stewart are personal brands. Their products adopt the perceived quality and style of their namesakes. Google, Apple, Starbucks and Tide are corporate brands. It doesn’t matter that much who is in what roles within these companies, since the corporate name is what carries the promise of value. Often, we encounter people who are their brands, but don’t perceive the value their name and reputation carry. It may seem arrogant to name your brand after yourself, but if you are the reason for your product’s success, it may be the smart move. The flip side is, if you build your whole brand around you, you can’t sell the company because without you its worthless.

2. Shorter is Better

The shorter and simpler your brand or product name is, the better. Shorter names are easier to remember, make for bold logo designs, and are more flexible in application to product packaging, web sites and social media. We often run into confusion over names vs. tag lines. A Tag line can change as often as needed, based on your market positioning, product offering and market conditions. A name is forever. You never want to change your brand name unless there is significant damage to its value due to law suits, product failures or bad press. It is important to separate the two.

3. Create a Top 10 List

Chances are you will come up with many awesome names only to find out most of them are already being used by competitors. To save yourself from complete frustration, develop a list of at least 10 that you can research and eliminate those that are not usable. You will be left with one or more that still enable trademarking, domain name purchase and set you up for success. At Deal Design, we usually create 30 name options and then narrow list down to the best 10 to present to our clients.

3. Be Unique

While every State will allow you to register a corporate entity name that is the same as names in other states, or around the World, you want to select a name that is unique to your brand and/or product. This is the hardest part of naming: Being unique. Often the best way to be unique is to invent a word that is made up of other root words that say something about your product and brand mission. Here are some real examples along with the product’s description:

MiracleWipes™ – Specialty cleaning products that clean without smearing and are safe for skin

SkinMedica® – Professional skin care product

SniffRelief™ – Healthcare device that relieves sinus pressure and congestion

4. Research for Available  Trademark, Domain and Competition

The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a free online tool (TESS) for searching existing and pending trademark names. Successfully earning a registered trademark means big value for your product brand and protection from other people copying it. After developing your top 10 name possibilities, start here to see if your name is already owned by someone in the same product class.

Google it! Google is the fastest and easiest way to see who else is using your possible names and determine if they are really competitors, or in unrelated categories.

Domain Searches are done through any number of web hosting sites like GoDaddy.com. You can search on your name, or variations of your name to find URLs that might work for you. Often, you will have to add another word or two to get an available domain. Again, this is where creativity and patience comes in.

Narrow your top 10 list down to the candidates that make the cut and then make a decision!

5. Logo Design

The final step in naming is creating a logo design for your product and/or brand. Use an experienced graphic design agency for this. An experienced brand designer will create many designs for you to choose from. We find that 10 is the magic number. Somewhere in those 10 logo designs will be one or more that you love, and will launch your brand into the stratosphere!