13 May 5 Steps to Help You Choose Your Brand Name
Pepsi. Google. McDonald’s. Rolex. IKEA. Gap. Nike. These are a few of the world’s best-known brands, each with its own backstory as to how its name came to be. Whether the moniker is the result of a typo or abbreviation, part of a made-up language, inspired by literature, or came to the company’s founder in a dream, every good brand name has two things in common: simplicity and memorability.
Of course, settling on the right label for your food company can be a challenging task. You want a brand name that’s catchy, meaningful, original, inspires your logo, and—preferably—is trademarkable and has a URL available. Some entrepreneurs choose to hire professional branding companies because of this, but expertise comes with a steep price tag. Fortunately, it’s possible to find the right name on your own if you’re willing to complete the following steps.
- Take a look at your vision and purpose.
Why does your food product exist? What is it here to do? If you can’t articulate a purpose for your product, it’s going to be impossible to come up with a brand name that will connect with the consumers you’re trying to reach.
- Think about what makes your product unique in the marketplace.
How does your food product differ from the competition? If you can’t answer this question with confidence, you may need to spend some time researching the other brands who make food products similar to yours. An obvious place to start is your competitors’ websites, but you should dig even deeper. You’ll find an excellent article on identifying and researching your competition here.
- Brainstorm with your team.
Gather your employees if you have them. Enlist the help of supportive friends and family if you don’t. Spend time brainstorming around your product. You might make a list of adjectives that describe the food. You might list adjectives that illustrate how you want your customers to feel when they buy and consume it. Give free association a try as well.
Keep in mind that there are many different types of effective brand names. Think about possibilities that are based on your own name or that describe your product. Some brand names are completely made up or are metaphors for a company’s vision or purpose. Acronyms can also make effective brand names, especially if you want to combine several descriptive words.
- Vet your top choices.
Once you’ve narrowed your brainstormed list down to around 10 possibilities, it’s time to eliminate any that are already taken. A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database of registered trademarks is a good place to start. Search a site like Name.com as well to see if any related domains are available. While you’re at it, check out Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see if related social media handles have been taken.
- Test your potential brand names.
Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities down to two or three viable options, find a way to test them out with your audience. This can be as complicated as mocking up logos and product packaging or as simple as running a Facebook ad or building a branded landing page and analyzing the results.
You may also want to run it by a variety of audiences to make sure it sounds good verbally, looks good visually, isn’t confusing, won’t be consistently mispronounced or misspelled, and doesn’t carry any negative connotations.