If you’re considering a new name for your company or you’re about to launch a new product or service, take a lot of time deciding on the name. Hours and hours. Days and days.
Months if necessary. It’s one of the most important marketing decisions you’ll ever make. If it’s going to be available via the web, you’ll want to make sure it’s memorable but for the right reasons. You don’t want to end up with one of these international howlers:
- Bimbo – bread (Spain)
- Kräpp – toilet paper (Sweden)
- Barf – soap (Iran)
- Alu-Fanny – aluminium foil (Norway)
- Pantry-boy – Nissan car (Japan)
- Bonka – coffee (Spain)
- Bums – biscuits (Sweden)
The importance of a strong and distinctive brand name should never be underestimated. It makes your company memorable and sets you apart from the competition. But you need to do a couple of things before you decide on the final moniker. One of the most important is to check the final url (web address) will look ok when it has no spaces between words. Some examples of unfortunate choices:
- IT Scrap – itscrap.com
- Who Represents – whorepresents.com
- Pen Island – penisland.net
- Experts Exchange – expertsexchange.com
- Les Bocages – lesbocages.com
- Therapist Finder – therapistfinder.com
- Ben Dover financial adviser – bendover.com
- Powergen Italia – powergenitalia.com
- Speed of Art – speedofart.com
Once you’ve jumped through that hoop, research availability before you spend any money on design or artwork. Check the Intellectual Property Office website and make sure you’re not infringing any trademarks. Check the domain name is available and there isn’t another business with that name.
Once you’ve jumped through that hoop, research availability before you spend any money on design or artwork. Check the Intellectual Property Office website and make sure you’re not infringing any trademarks.
If you’re struggling to think something up, you can try a variety of sources to help. Many European languages are derived from either Greek or Latin, and the trend towards global markets, make these names easier to transfer across continents, examples abound including Hovis from the Latin Hominus Vis, ‘Strength of man’. Nike is Greek for victory and replaced the original name of Blue Ribbon Sports – it’s easy to work out which is more memorable.
Acronyms and ‘coined’ names incorporating elements from one or more words are often useful tools for avoiding translation difficulties, as they’re less likely to have meanings in other languages. Well-known brand names using this formula that have created their own new word include;
- IKEA – founder Ingvar Kampard, his farm Elmtaryd and his village Agunnaryd.
- 7-UP – refers to the seven flavours of the drink
- Persil – the product’s two main ingredients, percarbonate and silicate
- ADIDAS – taken directly from founder Adi Dassler’s name
- Nylon – an abbreviation of New York and London
Other naming tactics include using brand names that describe (e.g. PowerBook, Burger King, British Airways, Carphone Warehouse, Toys R Us) or words taken straight from the dictionary with no direct correlation to the service or product itself (e.g. Yahoo, Starbucks, Orange).
As I mentioned - it's a really important decision, so do your research and takes hours and hours and days and days to decide.