If I got an English pound for every time a business asked me to give them a name like ‘Google’ I’d be a wealthy man. Their thinking is usually sound – it will help them to differentiate from the crowd in their market. The trouble is, when presented with names like ‘Google’ or ‘Yahoo’ the business suddenly loses all confidence. It seeps from them in front of my very eyes as they contemplate their new logo on their website, in a supermarket aisle or store frontage. Google-type names sound just too...different. The trouble with made-up or ‘clever’ names (that have a back story) is they tend not to trigger any familiarity bells, so they get rejected by businesses.
“It should do exactly what it says on the tin” I hear. No it shouldn’t if you are late to the market and there are already 1001 competitors already trampling on your new patch.
So they are offered names that communicate invariably generic attributes or benefits, literally and metaphorically, which of course they think are too dull. And the .com domain isn’t available. So off we head to Google-land again.
There are some great exceptions to this rule – Moonpig, Moo.com and Ocado being a few - fun and distinctive names that mean absolutely nothing, but which we can remember with relative ease. Unlike easyprint, cardsmadeeasy and other slightly dull generics.
Mimo was created from the names of our director’s children. It also means Multiple Inputs Multiple Outputs, which describes our approach to brand development, and is therefore what we do every day to create lasting differentiation for our clients.
On discussing the subject of naming your brand on Twitter, there is a common theme emerging with these successful businesses:
The simpler your business name, the more impact it will have.
A great, simple, short name can create a real buzz and position you as a real competitor. You will differentiate yourself from the crowd with an aspect of mystery from the offset. Just like if someone tells you that they have a secret, you will instantly want to find out more. It is that level of power that really makes a great brand.
Your brand values are important too and remember to keep this in mind. A way to support your brand name further is to use a 'tagline' for example, Nike's 'Just Do It' and you should refer back to this tagline when presenting your brand to someone new and to the public.
- Like so many things in business life, the whole process should start with a written brief that both parties agree to and sign in blood.
- Agree the success criteria and stick to them. (Ignore the CEO’s wife who doesn’t like the name because it reminds her of a family pet.)
- Reject the existing language of the category unless you’re first or second in.
- Acknowledge inevitable early discomfort of sharing your chosen name (like when you announced your first born was to be called Isambard)
- Remember, a name is what you make of it. Google, Apple, Virgin are global brands which we now think are great names, not the other way round.
If you need some advice with your branding strategy please feel free to get in contact with us at Mimo.