- Short and simple
- Easy to spell and read (radio test)
- Pronounceable in only one way
- Always timely – does not go out-of-date
- Embraces company personality
- Adaptable to packaging or labeling needs
- Legally available for use (not used by another organization)
- Not offensive, obscene, or negative
- Suggestive of product benefits
- Adaptable to any advertising medium
- Common Name has advantage over Proper Name in Search Engines
Short and simple – the less letters and words to remember, the more likely that customers will remember your name and find you in the search engines. One and two word names are more better than three or four word brand names. While the search engines will index any domain name, the longer domain/urls tend to get truncated during display which can contribute to clicks going to a competitor’s website.
Easy to spell and read – avoid unusual and cutesy spellings. A brand that is hard to pronounce is less likely to be remembered or remembered correctly. The result is more likely that people will unintentionally type the wrong name into their browser or search engine, resulting in lost traffic that would have been yours. I made this mistake with my first business, which was called Nexlook.com. The owner of Nextlook.com was quite appreciative of the traffic he got from my marketing effort.
Pronounceable in only one way – use the radio test to proof name considerations. Challenge others to spell your domain after hearing the name. Avoid names with numbers as that will cause all kinds of variations in what potential customers will type into their browsers and the search engines. For example the domain 241.com might be heard as TwoFourOne, TwoForWon, ToForOne, Too4Juan, etc… The possibilities are mind boggling. Same concern about using a dash in your name. A dash is the character “-” but when heard verbally, the listener may think the word is “dash” vs the character “-“. Some people call a dash a hyphen so there is yet another possibility for confusion. Always do the radio test before selecting your brand name. The time investment up front will prevent traffic leakage to competitors websites.
Always timely – does not go out-of-date – avoid branding on name that will soon become antiquated. Technology names are tricky to name because technology changes rapidly, the name is quickly obsolete. Think PDAs, VCRs, Cordless Phones, Tape Recorders. There is probably not a big market for BlackSmiths, or Buggy Whips, or Rabbit Ears, Typewriters anymore for anyone other than collectors or rare things. Unless that is what you are going for, avoid names that box you into a product or business that will soon go away.
Embraces company personality – remember that your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. If you are conservative and have conservative values and are targeting conservative customers, then don’t choose an edgy brand name. Vice versa. Choose a name that is consistent with the company’s personality. Often that means it must be consistent with your personality.
Adaptable to packaging or labeling needs – Packaging, as a function, has two separate dimensions – the science and technology and the behavioral aspect related to the art of product design which enhances the value of the contents and passes on the impression to the consumer directly or subtly. Think of your brand not just from the view on the words in the brand, but also the visual creativity of colors, logo, how it looks on a box, bag, bottle, or online. Make sure your brand is suggestive of who you are but that it can be made aesthetically pleasing also.
Legally available for use – check for trademark registrations on your name before you sink money and time into building the brand. Go to the US Patent and Trademark Office (uspto.gov) and search your name and keywords within your name. See if the name or variations of the name are already registered and if there is any mention of trademarks. If there are, research to see if this is true. Some people falsely use the trademark in their name to look official or scare off competitors.
Not offensive, obscene, or negative – if you are going for crude, obscene, and offensive that go for it. Most of us do not fall into that category, so we must take precautions to assure we are not labeled that way by others, as the results could be diminished traffic and reputation. If your brand targets non U.S. customers, verify that your brand translates good value to other countries. A clever brand or product name in one language may translate into an embarrassing misstep in another. For example, the French cheese brand Kiri changed its name to Kibi in Iran because the former name means “rotten” or “rank” in Farsi — not exactly the association you want for cheese. When Puffs tissues tried to introduce its product, they were quick to learn that “Puff” in German is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into “Schweppes Toilet Water”. Do your homework.
Suggestive of product benefits – suggestive names “evoke or suggest a characteristic of the underlying good,”. Greyhound for a bus company suggests the speed of racing dogs; Amazon for an online retailer suggests a mighty river of products, COPPERTONE suggest the color of your tan from using their sun screen. Suggestive names draw on the power of metaphor and analogy to create positive associations in customers’ minds. They’re tougher to create—metaphor isn’t easy!—and more challenging to market than descriptive names, but they’re much more likely to be granted trademark protection and to become sustainable, scalable brands.
Adaptable to any advertising medium – besides the online advertisements, you might want to think of advertising someday, on radio, TV, print, billboards, the sides of city buses, and park benches. How well would your name play in using any of those mediums?
Common Name has advantage over Proper Name in Search Engines – proper names designate a particular being or thing. Common names describe any one of a class of beings or things. In the world of search engines, using today’s search algorithms, common names have a organic advantage because the user’s search terms are most often descriptive words found within the common name brand. Proper name brands dominate the top 500 websites getting the most traffic, but that is because they spend a lot of marketing money for that benefit. Pick any generic category of products or services that you might be interested in and do a search on Google, or Bing, or Yahoo. You will surely find that many of the top websites shown are common name brands that are using the search term within their domain name.