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How to Name Your Business

What's in a name?
A lot, when it comes to small-business success. The right name can make your company the talk of the town. The wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure. Ideally, your name should convey the expertise, value and uniqueness of the product or service you have developed.
Some experts believe that the best names are abstract, a blank slate upon which to create an image. Others think that names should be informative so customers know immediately what your business is. Some believe that coined names (that come from made-up words) are more memorable than names that use real words. Others think they're forgettable.

In reality, any name can be effective if it's backed by the appropriate marketing strategy. Here's what you'll need to consider in order to give your small business the most appropriate and effective name.

Enlist Expert Help to Start

Coming up with a good business name can be a complicated process. You might consider consulting an expert, especially if you're in a field in which your company name may influence the success of your business. Brand identity consulting firms have elaborate systems for creating new names and they know their way around the trademark laws. They can advise you against bad name choices and explain why others are good.
The downside is cost. A professional brand identity consulting firm may charge a lot to develop a name. The cost generally includes other identity work and graphic design as part of the package for brand identity development. Online naming services that charge little do exist, but spending a reasonable amount of money early for quality expert advice can save you money in the long term.

What's in a Name?

Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. It should reinforce the key elements of your business. Your work in developing a niche and a mission statement will help you pinpoint the elements you want to emphasize in your name.

The more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, entrepreneurs should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words. People prefer words they can relate to and understand. That's why professional brand identity consultants universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice.
On the other hand, it is possible for a name to be too meaningful. Common pitfalls are geographic or generic names. A hypothetical example is "San Pablo Disk Drives." What if the company wants to expand beyond the city of San Pablo, California? What meaning will that name have for consumers in Chicago or India? And what if the company diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?

How can a name be both meaningful and broad?

Descriptive names tell something concrete about a business - what it does, where it's located and so on. Suggestive names are more abstract. They focus on what the business is about.

Consider "Indtour," a name that was developed by a brand identity company to help promote package tours to India. Though it's not a real word, the name is meaningful and customers can recognize immediately what's being offered. Even better, "Indtour" evokes the excitement of foreign travel.

When choosing a business name, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract.
  • Choose a comforting or familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories so customers respond to your business on an emotional level.
  • Don't pick a name that is long or confusing.
  • Stay away from cute puns that only you understand.
  • Don't use the word “Inc.” after your name unless your company is actually incorporated.

Get Creative

At a time when almost every existing word in the language has been trademarked, the option of coining a name is becoming more popular. Some examples are Acura and Compaq, which were developed by naming firm NameLab.

Coined names can be more meaningful than existing words. For example, "Acura" has no dictionary definition but the word suggests precision engineering, just as the company intended. NameLab's team created the name Acura from "Acu," a word segment that means "precise" in many languages. By working with meaningful word segments (what linguists call morphemes) like "Acu," the company produces new words that are both meaningful and unique.

However, made-up words aren't the right solution for every situation. New words are complex and may create a perception that the product, service or company is complex, which may not be true. Plus, naming beginners might find this sort of coining beyond their capabilities.

An easier solution is to use new forms or spellings of existing words. For instance, NameLab created the name Compaq when a new computer company came to them touting its new portable computer. The team thought about the word "compact" and came up with Compaq, which they believed would be less generic and more noticeable.

Test Your Name

After you've narrowed the field to four or five names that are memorable and expressive, you are ready to do a trademark search. Not every business name needs to be trademarked, as long as your government gives you the go-ahead and you aren't infringing on anyone else's trade name. But you should consider hiring a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before to make sure your new name doesn't infringe on another business's trademark.

Simultaneously you should also lookup the availability of suitable domain names for your business so that you do not have a problem later on in developing a online presence.

Final Analysis

If you're lucky, you'll end up with three to five names that pass all your tests. Now, how do you make your final decision?

Recall all your initial criteria. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind?

Some entrepreneurs arrive at a final decision by going with their gut or by doing consumer research or testing with focus groups to see how the names are perceived. You can doodle an idea of what each name will look like on a sign or on business stationery. Read each name aloud, paying attention to the way it sounds if you foresee radio advertising or telemarketing in your future. Use any or all of these criteria.

Keep in mind that professional branding firms devote anywhere from six weeks to six months to the naming process. You probably won't have that much time, but plan to spend at least a few weeks on selecting a name.

Once your decision is made, start building your enthusiasm for the new name immediately. Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity, one that should last as long as you're in business.

Psychology of Colours in Logo Design

colour psychology logos When you look at the logo of a brand, have you spared any thought to their choice of colours in the logo that they have had designed?

Today a red, white and yellow logo immediately signifies a McDonald outlet and the yellow and blue logo shows us it is Visa. But we have never given thought to why these colour combinations were picked. The motivation behind this has to do with the psychology of colours and the way in which our minds take in a colour and the message that we draw from it. We may not even be aware of the way the message is being sent to our brains via an image. It clearly shows that colour psychology plays vital role in the designing of professional logos.

Here we will look at the ways in which many colours will have an effect on those seeing the logo. First we will look at the messages our brains get when we see different colours and also a look at colours in the way they complement each other. This should have an impact in the effect your company logo will have.

What colours tell the people look at them?

Role Of Colour Psychology in the Designing of Professional Logos
When you see the yellow and blue combination of Wal-Mart for example, what do the colours tell you?

In most situations blue is the colour of power and confidence while the colour yellow is of being upbeat. Combined these two pack a good punch and tell us what the company wants us to feel about the brand.
Colours carry a message with green suggesting good health and growth, while brown tends to be more earthy and shows usefulness, while red shows intense emotions, purple manages to show a lushness, white is a symbol of pristine things and black is the bold colour.

The inferences we have given are all of a positive nature but colours do have negative connotations. The same green that is seen as a prosperous colour is also the hue of jealousy, like red is for fury and black means demise. While this actually is not much an issue while making a logo design due to the many elements that go into a brand, one still has to keep these things in mind.

Using a colour wheel to pick out the right tone of colour

Role Of Color Psychology in the Designing of Professional Logos
If you are not careful in picking out colours they may not send the message they want to. So instead of doing it randomly, do make use of a colour wheel. This is a tool that will help in putting colours as per the way they work with each other. The norm is that you can go with colours on the opposite sides of the wheel to ensure that they complement each other.

Normally the colours that are side by side may not work out that well. It goes without saying that all this will be dictated by the brand image of the company. But in spite of that do take colours that work well with each other.

Why are colours so important in designing of logos?

Even without us being aware of it colours play a part in the way we view things. The colours seem to touch a subconscious part of our brain even without our awareness. Each colour like the ones we see online or on roads or anywhere else have an effect on our psyche.

Just think about how many times the logo of a company is shown to people. You are hit by this several times throughout your interaction with them whether it is in person or via television and other media. Since it is shown and seen so many times, the colours in the logo need to be selected with care.

We are creatures that are impacted by what we see and then we respond to that too. In this case a logo that company uses will leave its own imprint of the brain which will then affect our decision making. That is why colour of logo for companies is so vital.