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Tips on How Not to Create a Terrible Brand Name

Make it catchy, memorable, and unique! Those are the tips you usually follow when trying to think of a name for your brand. Somehow, you still end up with lousy ideas. You strain your mind to think of something really cool, and all you can think of are cheesy names and even cheesier mottoes.
How about a different approach? When you get tips on how NOT to create a terrible brand name, you’ll be left with fewer alternatives that will actually lead you somewhere. Try avoiding these mistakes and see what happens.
  1. Don’t Make It Too Obvious!
    Act like you’ve never heard of McDonald's. Would you know it represented a chain of restaurants? What about Apple? Nokia? Dell? None of these names are obvious regarding the services and products the company provides.
    Burger King, on the other hand, is an obvious brand name, but it’s one of the rare ones that work. If, for example, you own a store that sells mattresses, try not to name it The Queen of Mattresses.
    Symbolism is great. A yoga-related business can benefit from a brand name that includes one of the following words: lotus, light, dharma, or similar words related to the niche. Of course, you can’t use those precise words for your own business. You need to think about some words that your target audience uses and understands, but they are not too obvious.
  2. Don’t Make It Complicated
    You have a list of potential brand names? Cool! Read them to a close friend. Don’t show the list; just read it to them. Then, ask them about the names that are stuck in their memory. You’ll notice they didn’t remember the complex name, so they are not as cool as you thought they were.
    Try not to use big words and slang that only few people understand. Even if you have faith in the intellectual capacity of your target audience, you should still aim towards a wider group with your brand name.
    Repeat that experiment with few friends. Which was the name they most commonly mentioned as a memorable one? That’s probably the one you should stick with.
  3. Don’t Get Inspired by the Big Players
    Of course the big players in your industry motivate you to go forward, but you should never, ever get too inspired by their brand names. If you make this mistake, you’ll only seem fake. If, for example, you own a fast food restaurant, don’t name it Burger Queen or McDean’s, okay?
  4. Choose the One You Like the Most and Get Over with It
    No, that’s not what you should do. When you’re trying to think of a brand name you like, you’re usually too ambitious. You want to make an impact and you really, really want to be unique. That’s okay, but will other people understand your enthusiasm? How will your target audience respond to that brand name? That’s really the factor you should be interested in.
    Avoiding the brainstorming session is a deadly sin when trying to think of the coolest brand name. Just get a blank piece of paper and write any idea that comes to your mind. Then, find few people who are interested in using the products or services you have in mind (you’ve clearly made connections and you have friends who know what business you’re about to start). Ask them what they think about your ideas and carefully consider their suggestions.
  5. Don’t Use the Location as Part of the Name
    Interior Design Alabama
    Beauty Shop Lansing
    Burger Heaven Lowell
    No. Just, no!
  6. Don’t Challenge the Rules of Spelling
    Maybe Houzz sounds like a cute name for an interior-design related business. It’s cute and you can recognize the intention. However, the strategy of misspelling can backfire on you as soon as you launch your business.
    Think about Svbtle as an example. If you accidentally land at the website of this writing and reading network and you like it, you’ll hardly come back to it because you’ll probably forget how the brand name was spelled. We don’t want that to happen to you.
  7. Don’t Refuse to Change Your Mind
    What if you end up with the wrong brand name? Does that mean you should stick with it forever just because you already have a base of customers and you don’t want to confuse them? Absolutely not! There’s nothing wrong in changing your brand name if you realize your current one doesn’t do you any good.
    Moneybookers was already a successful online payment system when the team decided to change the rebrand the company into Skrill. That worked for them.
    If you notice that your consumers have a problem with the brand you chose or your target audience can’t remember it, you should realize a fact: the issue won’t magically resolve with time. Consider rebranding your company and you’ll see how its fresh face attracts a greater audience.

Now, are you ready to give a name to that awesome business idea you have? Don’t make the above-listed mistakes and you’ll keep yourself on the right track!

Amy Cowen works as a content marketing strategist and manages a talented team of content writers at Aussiewriter, always trying to find new ways to maximize the commercial impact of content.