Branding & brand name strategy
Protect your existing business or brand name
Your business name and domain name don't give proprietary rights – and only the registered trademark owner has the right to use, license or sell a trademark.
So even though an unregistered trademark does provide some protection, defending it via "common law" can be complex, time-consuming and incur significant costs. It can pay to protect your rights to trademarks early.
Protect your proposed business or brand name
The last thing you want is to infringe someone else's trademark. So you need to devise a business or brand name which is able to be trademarked.
If you wish to check if your proposed business name might infringe a registered trade mark (in Australia), the Trade Marks Office provides a professional search for $40.
6 Tips for choosing your new business name or brand name
Target market appeal
When doing any marketing and branding, it's important to know your target market, and your business or brand name is certainly no exception. So if (for instance) your target market is 18 to 25 year old females who like to party, then you need to keep this target market in mind. And if you don't have a clear idea of your target audience, then you need serious help before you develop your business further.
It doesn't matter if the name appeals to you, your staff or your board of directors... your business name or brand name needs to appeal to your target audience. Remember to put yourself in their (high heel) shoes.
Your business or brand name need to appeal to your target audience.
Memorable and unique
Let's imagine that someone has been given a verbal referral to your business. Fantastic, pop open the bubbly... but realistically you can't really celebrate until you've converted them into a customer.
So if they haven't remembered your business name or if they confuse your name with a competitor, then it's a lost opportunity.
Your business or brand name need to be memorable and stand-out from the crowd.
Keep it simple (stupid)
- Spelling. A brand or business name needs to be able to be spelt by your target market.
- Pronunciation. It might sound obvious, but it needs to be easily pronounced. And particularly if you're going to sell in non-English speaking countries, then they need to be able to say it too.
- Misspelling. Deliberate misspelling of a word needs to be easily communicated verbally and visually.
- Short and simple. If you can devise a company or brand name which is shorter and suits your brand needs, then it's a better choice.
- Shorter names are easier to remember and you're more likely to create brand recall or brand awareness.
- It's quicker and easier to type a short name into the browser address bar or if searching for your business/brand. The longer the name, the higher the chance of user input errors.
Your business or brand name need to be short and simple.
If the domain name, and I mean "the domain name which exactly matches your business or brand name" isn't available, then it's time for a rethink of the name.
And if someone knows your brand name, and can't guess your website address, then it's time for a rethink.
- Avoid special characters.
- Characters such as an ampersand "&" can't be included in a domain name, so avoid them when choosing a business name or product name.
- Avoid using hyphens unless your actual name (and logo) include the hyphens.
- Avoid abbreviating your name or adding other words.
- If you're selling in Australia only:
- The most desirable suffix is .com.au
- The second best alternative is .com
- The third best alternative is .net and .org
- The fourth best alternative is .net.au and .org.au
- Other alternatives aren't desirable.
- If you're selling outside Australia:
- It's imperative that you don't infringe a trademark in that country, and get protection there too.
- And it's best to ensure all domain names are available before you register your business name or trademark.
- If you're selling in multiple countries (English-speaking):
- The most desirable suffix is .com
- The second best alternative is .net and .org.
- Other alternatives aren't desirable.
- If you're selling in non-English speaking countries:
- It's best to buy the most desirable domain for that country/language.
- Be aware that some have stringent requirements. For example, it may be more desirable to use .nl for the Netherlands, but there are some stringent requirements, so you might need to revert to .co.nl
If you want to be found on social media sites, it might be worth investigating what's available, so you can be easily found here too.
Make sure you know if your domain name, business name and trademarks are available, and get them ALL as soon as possible.
“Creative Passion provided valuable and strategic brand name advice which resulted in our unique brand name and our registered trademark.
We're confident that our logo/trademark is memorable, appeals to our target market and represents our high quality products. We're thrilled with the result.
Creative Passion did an amazing job and we wholeheartedly recommend them as the “full package deal” — a talented, dedicated and passionate team providing cutting edge design and strategic advice.”
Stealthe Sporting Goods