The Unwritten Guidelines of Naming Your Enterprise



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The next excerpt is from Brad Flowers’s The Naming E book. Purchase it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound or click on right here to purchase it straight from us and SAVE 60% on this ebook whenever you use code MARKET2021 by means of 4/3/21.

Each trade has a set of unwritten branding guidelines, or tendencies, that grow to be codified over time. Typically they will grow to be clichés. Most industries could have only some varieties of names. This occurs naturally: One firm finds success, and the following firm mimics them as a result of it labored for the primary. The following factor you already know, it’s a rule, and nobody remembers why it began. This is applicable to every little thing from how companies are run to paint alternative and typography to their names. However let’s take a look at naming for now.

The identify of my firm, Bullhorn, is an effective instance. There are normal naming tendencies within the branding company world which have grow to be unwritten guidelines. The primary is to make use of a modifier with the phrase “,” like this:

I selected these corporations as a result of they’re all giant, profitable businesses that do nice work. In some ways, they’re the businesses Bullhorn aspires to be. However their names are forgettable. Greater than that, they’re undifferentiated. How may you keep in mind when you preferred the work from Shifting, Inter, or Future? The names are too comparable.

The second normal development is the regulation agency mannequin, during which you identify the company after the founder(s), like this:

  • Landor
  • Lippincott
  • Wolff Olins

Whereas these names are distinctive, they don’t inform you a lot in regards to the firm. What they do is give historic weight. They sound established. They sound previous. Selecting this kind of identify places you in the identical tier as different skilled service suppliers—therefore the “regulation agency mannequin” description. What these names inform customers is that the suppliers will are typically protected, conventional, and pretty costly selections.

We additionally checked out businesses as a result of they typically have branding capabilities. Many advert businesses begin with the regulation agency mannequin till the identify will get too lengthy and unwieldy. At that time they make it an initialism, like this:

Once more, I’m selecting on these three as a result of they’re huge, world corporations that do probably the most recognizable work of their trade. They’ll take it. These names are undeniably simpler to deal with, however they’re interchangeable.

So, we’ve recognized three normal naming tendencies amongst our opponents: modifier with “model,” regulation agency mannequin, and initialism. The necessary factor is what to do with this info.

For Bullhorn, we didn’t need the identify to have the phrase “model” in it. We additionally didn’t need to identify it after the founders. That is partly as a result of whenever you Google my final identify, you get a bunch of flower outlets, however that’s inappropriate. And at last, we didn’t desire a identify that might finally grow to be an initialism. These are typically forgettable, particularly for a brand new firm that doesn’t benefit from familiarity.

In relation to , there’s a restrict to how far exterior the unwritten guidelines you’ll be able to go. Folks are inclined to choose names that sound like they match of their class. But when the identify is simply too just like all the opposite corporations, it’ll mix in with the noise. And when you go too far within the different route, it gained’t be acknowledged as one thing that matches.

Thankfully, “Bullhorn” nonetheless is smart right here. Whereas they’re within the minority, metaphorical names are nonetheless used within the branding area, and sometimes to nice impact. Contemplate these examples, all branding businesses like Bullhorn:

These corporations are utilizing metaphors in a means that’s just like our logic. Perhaps Matchstic creates the spark that begins the fireplace. Salt supplies the seasoning that makes your model scrumptious. Murmur is utilizing an analogous metaphor from an reverse perspective. It’s additionally about , however they aren’t yelling it in your face. They’re creating the word-of-mouth that travels from individual to individual. Thus, Murmur.

So. It’s necessary to consider your trade. Like ours, yours will probably have just a few unwritten guidelines. What are they, and why do they exist? Are you able to break a few of them and stand out from the group, or is there a very good cause to comply with them? Do you need to be perceived as established or as an upstart? That is vastly influenced by the way you select to place your self in relation to your trade’s unwritten guidelines.

Unwritten Guidelines Train

That will help you decide whether or not your trade has an unwritten guidelines, make a listing of 30 or so of your opponents. It would assist to divide them into teams. What are probably the most established corporations in your trade? Which corporations are disrupting custom? Are there outliers which are simply unusual? When you’ve recognized your teams, you can probably select three naming tendencies. Circle the tendencies you’re fascinated with pursuing, and cross out those you need to keep away from. This may assist encourage some enterprise identify concepts.

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