If Romeo and Juliette had their little chat on the importance of the name in todays business world, it would go a lot differently. Romeo, Romeo, why art thou Romeo would be followed by a long discussion on branding, brand awareness, and building a long lasting reputation while leaving room for any pivots that might arise. Why? Because a rose may smell as sweet by any other name, but it certainly doesn’t sell as well or gets the same emotional response from the test groups.
To sum up, the company name is very important, it’s the starting point of your communication strategy and at the heart of all your marketing efforts.
It should be a name that can be easily remembered, catchy, and at the same time it should explain your what your product does and communicate the message you want to send.
Your Name Becomes Your Brand
Startups sometimes do complicated things that are not always perfectly clear from the wider audience, and a simple name should make it easy for outsiders to understand what it is that you do.
In the best case scenario, the name of your start up will skyrocket and your name will grow to become your brand, a stamp you’ll put on you product as an assurance of the quality.
If the word that pops into your mind right now is “Apple”, a name that is simple and catchy yet in no way describes the tech behind it, I’d like to stress that this is more of an exception, than the rule, but it also paints a very good picture on how a name grows into a brand.
Brands connect with us at an emotional level rather than rational – that is something that .Me’s own Nataša talked about on the Stage of Rock Paper Startups, an international startup conference that took place in Rijeka last summer:
In a narrow sense of the term, to brand means to create something to visually distinguish your product. It starts with brand identity, but if we go further back, it started with cattle and marking your cow to be able to recognize it. That kind of approach should be reserved for cattle – a logo and a visual identity, no matter how much it stands out, does not create a brand or add value to your product. You have to dig deeper and look harder to find what makes a brand and what makes people love it.
So, how do you pick a name, poke at people’s imagination, get into their minds and make them love your product? If I knew, I’d be the queen of marketing, and since no one else has taken the throne either, I’m guessing there isn’t a universal answer. But there are, however, some pretty straightforward guidelines.
It has to be short(ish): Have you ever in your life sad anything that contained the name “The International Business Machines Corporation”? No, but you’ve probably mentioned IBM at some point, in some conversation.
It has to be memorable or catchy: puns, creativity and simplicity make for the best names. My personal favorite is HiMom.Me, a startup that helps you keep in touch with your parents.
It has to imply what you do: Let’s go through some examples, shall we? u:Plug.Me is a startup making wall outlets, where you plug something in, About.Me is a site that’s about you.
If you need some inspiration for a good name, check out the related articles on what you can do with a .Me domain and all the different ways you can play with your startup name.
And if you’re still not convinced that a name is that big of a deal, let’s go through the names of some of the alumni from the Y Combinator – one of the best known accelerators in the world: Collections.Me, EveryDay.Me, DreamForge.Me and HiMom.Me.
Notice anything they have in common? That’s right, they’re short,catchy and self-explanatory 😉