Branding 101: Choosing a Brand Name

Apr
27th

Branding 101: How to Choose a Brand Name

It’s very rare for a great brand name to come to you overnight. Or if it does, chances are, it’s already been thought up by someone else (sorry). And yet, naming your brand is one of the most important parts of building your business, and it’s one of the most common questions I get asked…

‘So… how did you come up with the name This Renegade Love?’

Well, I assure you, it wasn’t overnight. I already had the concept for my site, knowing that I wanted to profile ordinary people that were doing extraordinary things with their lives, but I didn’t know how to express that sentiment in just a word or two. It had to be strong, powerful and reflective of the breadth of content I would be producing. I thought about it for weeks, but nothing came to me. Then, as I was sitting on my bed one day listening to music, The Rural Alberta Advantage came on – my fave song of theirs called ‘Summertime‘…

And when we’re middle-aged, you’ll tell me
I loved you like a renegade.

Boom. That line struck a chord with me (literally!), specifically the word renegade. It was badass. It was bold. And it evoked everything that I wanted my interviews to be. I wrote it down on a pad of paper and from there I started combining the word renegade with other words. I listened to that lyric again and liked the way love sounded with renegade. But it needed a little something more… something definitive. What was my site all about? Well, this… is Renegade Love. This… Renegade Love. This Renegade Love. And just like that, after three weeks of wracking my brain, I had decided on my brand name.

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When you’re coming up with your own brand name, whether it’s for your business or blog, there are a few things you’ll want to ask yourself in the process:

  • Is the name easy to pronounce?
  • Does it make sense with the product I’m offering?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Does it leave room for product growth?
  • Does it evoke a meaning or feeling?

Those questions form the middle of the sandwich in the naming process, but what about the slices of bread? Check out the four biggest things to consider when choosing your brand name, from the creative process at the beginning to locking down your final choice.

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Branding 101: How to Choose a Brand Name

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1 Name your brand for your audience, not yourself.

Sure it’s great to have your brand name mean something to you, but your name should actually reflect how it makes your audience feel/think. I remember when I was thinking up a name for a previous freelance PR business I launched, I wanted to call it Ellebreigh (L is the first letter of my name and Breigh is my middle name). To me, it meant something, but for anyone else, they’d have NO CLUE how to pronounce it – Elabray? Uhlaybree? Ugh. It was a terrible name. And there are lots of terrible names out, unfortunately. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to explain your brand name to people – they should just be able to connect to it and rememeber it. Don’t rush this process.

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2 Look for inspiration everywhere.

Have you ever sat down and tried to think of an awesome brand name on the spot? It’s near impossible! All you’ll get are a bunch of words that reflect what you’ve been thinking of/doing that morning. Don’t confine your naming process to the words that simply pop into your head. Listen to music, flip through magazines, read poetry, and look at ads, all the while paying close attention to the language used. This inspiration process is about stumbling upon words, phrases and ideas that you might not already have circulating around in your head. If you see a word you like, write it down. Even if it’s a simple word like ‘love’, you might find a great connection with another word you’d written down on your paper earlier (like I did!).

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3 Do your research.

There’s nothing worse than coming up with a brand name only to discover someone else has it….. and after you’ve already gone ahead with logo design and web build. Once you’ve found a name that sticks, do a little Googling to ensure no other brands are using it. For small brands, it’s usually fine to call your Toronto salad joint ‘The Chop Shop’ even if it’s being used by a small motorcycle business in Melbourne – where you get into trouble is when it’s been trademarked or a company is using a similar name for the same service. And when it comes to bloggers, originality is best. Since blogs are globally accessible and have no international borders, you don’t want to be confused with ‘Cupcakes & Cashmere’ if you’ve called yourself ‘Cashmere & Cupcakes’. It’s not a good look.

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4 Secure an online presence.

Scratch that previous sentiment – there’s nothing worse than coming up with a brand name only to find that the brand name is unique but someone already has your domain. UGGHHHHH. It sucks. And unfortunately, a helluva lotta domains have been snatched up at this stage in the interwebs game. If your domain is available, buy it immediately. And if it’s not available but you’re really stuck on the name, consider making your tagline your URL (only if it’s short and snappy though, like justdoit.com for Nike). Next, look up alllll the social handles. Even if you’re not activating that medium right now, secure it just in case you want to build in the future. You could become the next Oprah only to discover that some other bish took your Twitter handle years ago.

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So, bloggers + business owners –
how did you come up with your brand names?
Let me know in the comments below!


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  • Thuy says:

    Mine took a while as well. I must have come up with 20 names. The way I did it was I brainstormed in my iPhone notes and just kept building names off the previous one. I actually read them all to my boyfriend who laughed so hard tears came out of his eyes lmao. My blog name now is a hybrid of what we both came up with lmao.

    It was definitely important to me that it was easy to remember and that it made sense for the content I was going to create. I also didn’t want my brand name to pigeon hold me either. Although, I’m still struggling with writing my About Me. It’s still unfinished lmao.

    http://www.dressupchowdown.com

  • Listening to that song now! It’s so good!
    I have changed my blog name THREE times now – and finally am so happy with it. For me it definitely went a bit against your first point – I named it that because i was adamant to have the word ‘sweat’ in it (since im the sweatiest human ever), but i also wanted people to feel that it was natural and awesome and NOT embarrassing to be a sweaty person. It’s really tough though to come up with the perfect one. These days it seems EVERYTHING is taken.

  • Riley Nowlan says:

    Awesome tips!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Riley

    rileyannenowlan.com

  • So interesting to hear how you named your blog. This is a great article and agree that the name of your blog needs to be easily remembered by your audience and strike an emotion.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Cheers! It’s one of those things that will basically define your brand forever, so you want it to be perfect. Just let it come to you naturally!