A company name must fit the business, yet be unique. That’s why name development should begin by determining the purpose of the name. It’s a strategic activity.
Now this may sound rudimentary at first blush. But, just as there are names for boys and names for girls (and some that are androgynous), business names should fit the business model.
So begin by stating the purpose of the name
Naming for Position
Aside from identifying the business itself, will there be additional functions you wish the name to perform? (Note: the suggestions below have to do with positioning. Positioning can never be achieved through a name only, and in fact, is often better served through other branding elements. Yet, considering the desired position when developing a name can make the name and the brand stronger and more integrated.)
Position the entity in its industry/product category.
Position the entity in a specific market.
Position the entity with a specific type of buying influence.
Position the entity with a specific application.
Position the entity with a strategic differentiator.
Position the entity with its heritage/tradition.
Position the entity as a new market entrant.
Position the entity as a market/industry leader.
Position the entity as the exemplar of a specific attribute.
Master Brand or Just Corporate Identity?
In addition, a very basic strategic decision needs to be made as to the role of the corporate name in the naming and branding of subsequent product and services. Will you make the corporate name a master brand attached and associated to all products and services? Or will you want the company name to be secondary to product/service brands?
Other factors, especially if an existing company is being re-named, must also be considered, and I will do so in future blog posts.
Name Development is Strategic
The point here is that name development is a strategic activity that can affect the long-term success of the corporate brand. It must receive almost the amount of concentration as you would expend developing your business model.