Shakespeare once said, “Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?” Meaning, a name carries more than it’s alphabetic qualities and a pronunciation.
Your brand name should be significant, relevant to who you are and what you do. If it isn’t, then something has to change.
Here are three signs your brand name is hurting you.
1. Ideal Customers Are Confused By Your Name
When a business owner isn’t sure of what he or she wants, things can easily go awry. Confusion can begin when someone has an idea in mind that doesn’t directly align with their brand. Many situations involve startups owners who are unsure of their identity. They see something they admire and attempt to use it as a symbol for their organization.
It’s better to use something unique to your brand. Your name should be a proper portrayal of who you are, what you do and it should be appealing to those with whom you are attempting to reach.
If your name is confusing, then you may have some problems. When choosing a name, find something that will appeal directly to your ideal audience without any guess work involved. A good example of this is a center that hosts only children-related events—particularly birthday parties. If the owner of this company serves alcoholic beverages, has a night club theme and a “club-ish” name to match, it’s really going to confuse the ideal customers.
Parents aren’t going to bring their children to a place that identifies itself directly with a club.
One of the first aspects of your brand that your audience is going to interact with is your name so pick something that is relevant.
2. People Often Get Your Name Wrong or Confuse it With Another
Let’s say you have a brand of high-powdered kiddie cars called TurboMax. You liked the name, but you didn’t do much research on other companies out there that may have similar names to yours.
Two things could happen due to your lack of knowledge on the other brands out there. First, your brand is constantly being confused with TurboTax (which would definitely happen). Second, there is a brand out there called TurboMax Car Wax (another fictional company that I made up) that has high ranking SEO that is stealing your spotlight because of their reputation and brand longevity.
You can prevent this problem by doing your research before making any final decisions. Before you move forward, do a quick Google search to see what’s out there. Is there something similar that could cause some identity confusion? It might stink, but go back to the drawing board and cultivate something that will stand alone.
We are also firm advocates of protecting your brand, therefore, we think it’s important to make sure you trademark or copyright anything that needs it. During the trademarking process, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will give you a resource that allows you to research the various names of organizations in your line of work.
3. Your Organization Cringes When Using Your Brand Name
If it feels wrong—it usually is.
There have been many instances in which companies cringe when using their brand name because they were never on board with it in the first place. This can happen when an organization doesn’t know what it wants, make a quick decision or is undivided about the brand. While it’s an unfortunate thing that can happen to anyone, there are ways to avoid it.
When an organization is conflicted about a particular issue, it can cause problems all across the board. Difficulties can often trickle into the marketing communications spheres so it’s important to eliminate brand confusion and buy-in problems.
If your organization is undecided or in conflict over your brand, there are remedies that can help. First, you don’t want too many hands in the pot. Only include the necessary people in the decision-making process. Second, make sure everyone is on the same page. When you have meetings to discuss changes, everyone should be there. Lastly, come to a unanimous vote before going through with any final decisions. You will be thankful you did in the long run.
OK—Our Brand Name is Bad. What’s Next?
So what do you do when your brand name is really hurting you? The 11-foot elephant in the room is that you need to rebrand your name.
Before you dive head-first into this, evaluate the rebranding process from a 1000-foot view. It’s so important to follow the proper process. You want to rebrand yourself the least amount of times possible. Your goal should be to rebrand once if need be and then be on track for the longevity of your organization.
Here’s the rebranding process:
- Brand Challenge
- Narrative Rewrite, Rename and Identity Redesign
- Material Build-Out
- Old identity Clean Out and Brand Integration
Read more on our rebranding methodology here.