Is there a more confusing period in a business’s life than the one immediately following its founding? Especially so when it comes to naming things.
In the early days, a business may struggle to define itself and establish a brand. In addition, it’s not unusual for a business to launch an initial product or service without having fully defined positions and devised a marketing and communications strategy. As a result, there may be a period of time where, in the words of Clayton Christensen, the “name of [the company] was everywhere but [they] knew no name.”
While the situation may seem chaotic, it’s actually an opportunity to learn. And what better time to learn than now, during the early days when a business is most open to influences and new ideas?
This is precisely what name conundrums teach us. The issue is that when you have a business with no name, everyone assumes you have no name. Which may lead to a confusing period of time when you try to introduce yourself to the world.
Thankfully, we live in a world of information. Thanks to the Internet and social media, as well as countless blogs, company websites, and forum posts, that name “no name” may never existed in the first place.
With a little planning and strategizing, this confusion can be turned into an advantage. Rather than viewing this stage of business development as a negative, it can be an opportunity to innovate and establish a brand that is meaningful and memorable.
First Things First
The first step to taking advantage of this situation is to develop a concise brand identity. This is essentially the name you give your business to represent itself. The problem is that in the early days, you may not even know what your business does or who the target audience is.
So it may be a good idea to avoid jargon and industry terms and choose a name that is easy for everyone to understand and associate with your business.
If you find that your business is not yet established and you’re starting to think of a brand name, start with the words “eco” and “sustainability” as they’re widely accepted and have positive connotations. For example, an eco-friendly detergent or clothing brand might choose “Eco Detergents” or “Eco Clothing” for its brand identity. Or a sustainable food brand may choose “Foodie” as its identity since “food” and “traveler’ are already widely accepted and familiar terms. For example, a sustainable food brand might choose “Foodie Detergents” or “Foodie Clothing”.
The logo is another important part of a brand identity. A good logo represents a business in a few simple and effective strokes. After all, it’s only a logo – it needs to be memorable, easy to recognize, and fit the identity you’ve created.
Your logo should reflect your brand identity and the nature of your business. If you’re not sure what to choose, start with something simple and classic like the Chevron or P&S logos. These are classic and elegant and have stood the test of time. They’re also simple and easy to understand when placed alongside one another. Even better if you have a company logo and business identity in the same design. This is a clear sign that your branding and marketing efforts are on the right track.
Web Presence & Website
A well-designed and branded website is an important part of establishing an online presence. After all, everyone does business online now. If you’re looking for a place for potential customers to discover your products, the perfect digital landscape may be your own website.
A company website not only provides prospective customers with an opportunity to learn about your business, but it also positions you as an expert in your industry. In addition, having a website also provides you with the opportunity to attract new customers and be found through search engines like Google.
An amazing company that is fully committed to sustainability chose the name “WabiSobi” for its brand identity and website. WabiSobi functions as a charm offensive in the most stylish and sustainable way possible. The name is a combination of “Wabi” (beautiful) and “Sobi” (purify). These two words represent the brand’s mission statement: to inspire change and make people wonder about your products and company. When customers go to the website, they are greeted with a modern and simple design that is representative of their brand identity. In addition, the logo and business name are displayed in a tasteful and unobtrusive manner. So while the website is fun and engaging, the design is classical and restrained.
There are numerous benefits to having an active presence on social media. Not only does it provide you with a way to connect with current and potential customers, but it also positions you as an expert in your industry.
If you’re not already active on social media, now is the perfect time to start. Not only do you have an online community that you can tap into, but you can also use social media to learn about your customers and prospects. In addition, the information can be used to tailor your marketing and sales efforts. For example, you may notice that certain products or services are gaining popularity, especially amongst males aged between 18 and 24. This is likely due to certain lifestyle choices that this group of people are making (eg. a rise in veganism and environmentalism), and you can use this insight to target future marketing campaigns towards this group.
Product Name & Packaging
When you choose a product name, you have to think about how you’ll package and present your product to the public. After all, the way in which you present your product will have a major impact on its appeal. There are several key points to consider:
Firstly, the product name should be memorable. For example, a luxury handbag brand might choose to call its product “Ava” after the famous designer. Although “Ava” is a common feminine given name, it’s also the abbreviation for the designer’s full name. So the product name “Ava” represents a combination of the designer’s name and the product’s function (ie. “Ava,” a luxury handbag). This is a classic example of a brand that has used product naming to establish itself in the industry.
The product name should also represent your business in a short, simple, and memorable way. An eco-friendly business that sells toilet paper and recycled plastic bags may choose to use these products as part of its branding. For example, it could be called “Eco Paper” or “Recycled Plastic Bag Brand”. This way, when someone sees these products or products with these names, they will automatically think of your business when they consider buying your products.
The way in which you package and present your product will also affect its appeal. Think about all the times you’ve seen an overly-branded, over-packaged product and found it unappealing? That’s your competition, effectively.
In a nutshell, good branding and marketing can make or break a business. With a little planning, research, and strategizing, the most confusing stage of business development may be used to your advantage. Even better, since this is the most critical stage, it may be the only one in which you truly experiment and establish your identity as a brand. In so doing, you not only establish yourself as an expert in your industry, but you may even find that you have created a community of like-minded individuals that are eager to purchase your products. So rather than worrying about a name, you may have created something greater than you ever thought possible.