In our first and second posts in this seven part series, we delved into the primary elements and processes to build a successful brand; beginning with research and focus.

In this installment, we’ll dive a bit deeper into the third phase of brand building – naming.

2. Choosing Your Business Name

“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But Nike by another name would be seen on fewer feet.” ~ Shakespeare (in spirit)

What’s in a great brand name? Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you can argue that it’s both of great and little importance.

Brands are so much more than names. Your brand’s reputation, actions and personality are what truly give your brand meaning.

In the process of developing a legal business structure, your business’ name is likely to be one of the first big decisions you’ll need to make. It will help determine the direction of many other elements of your brand, including your logo, website domain address, marketing and trademarking.

We all want a brand name that’s difficult to imitate, and stands-out in the marketplace. If you have dreams of expanding to new product lines in time, consider a broadly-anchored name that’s simpler to pivot with.

There are numerous free resources you can try to help you generate (or purchase) a truly memorable name, or you can try one of these approaches yourself:

Reframe an unrelated word like “Apple” for computers.

Use a suggestive word or metaphor like “Buffer”.

Literally describe it (although easy to imitate) like The Sock Company

Design your own word, like Pepsi.

Alter a word by removing letters, adding letters or using latin endings like “Tumblr” (Tumbler) or “Activia”.

Use the initials of a longer, company name like HBO (Home Box Office)

Combine two words: Pinterest (pin + interest) or Facebook (Face + book)

Turn a string of words into an acronym: BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke)

As your brand’s name will also be reflected in your website address, be sure to shop and check to see what’s available before you decide to finalize it. Here are some great tips on how to help choose a smart domain name.

Once you’ve decided on one or two names, run it by a focus group of close associates. Get their feedback, and listen to their perspectives. If they’re in your target audience, listen even more carefully for perceived meanings.

In our next post, we’ll dive into the next important step in developing your brand – positioning.