21 July, 2014

The "Rules" of Naming Your Company or Organization

A good name is short, no more than 11 characters and 3 syllables. Imagine trying to put something like "St. Albans Neighborhood Watch" on a bumper sticker or a T-shirt. 

Monosyllabic brand names are often proper names like Bose or Hanes but it's nearly impossible to obey the rules below in one syllable. For me, the holy grail of great branding is to do it in two syllables and no more than 6 characters. Try it. It's hard. AirBus is great. Nike is named for the winged mythological Greek goddess of victory. Get it? The "swoosh" comes from the wings. Nike puts wings on a lot of feet. Pixar, PayPal and Pampers are pretty good 2-syllable brand names. 

St. Albans Neighborhood Watch is unimaginative and the term "neighborhood watch" is fraught with baggage. You pretty much don't want a brand with the same name as a bad comedy movie starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. 

A good name is information dense or contains a hint of what theorganization is about.  Vizio. Papermate. 

Sony comes from a Latin word that means "sound." Much better than its original name, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo.

Drug companies are really good at it. Levitra hints at levitation. Healthcare companies often have "care" or "health" somewhere in their name to hint at what they do. Caremark. Cardinal Health.

A good name doesn't tempt people to turn it into an abbreviation ormonogram. Yeah, I know, IBM and BMW survived it but most companies
just become more obscure when people distill their too-long name to a
monogram. IBM and BMW got away with becoming alpahabet soup because these companies were created at a time when we didn't know any better than to name companies "International Business Machines" and "Bavarian Motor Works" and because these old companies spent billions to become household words. Startups and companies with small ad budgets have no margin for error; they have to choose a name that cuts through the clutter and the cacophony of ideas and messages and brands vying for our attention.

A good name is unique and memorable. Toys R Us. Dunkin' Donuts. The latter has the advantage of appealing to your senses by conjuring a pleasant mental picture of something tasty and enjoyable you might do with their product.

A good name conjures no negative images or connotations.

A good name is easy to spell and say. Timex. PlayStation. Sunkist.

A good name contains no generic words or words that appear in the
names of
 other businesses. Look up "neologism", a made-up word that
your brand can "own" not only legally but also in the mind of the
customer. Brand names are sometimes formed by combining two ordinary words. MicroSoft. Brand names have been formed by deliberately misspelling a common word. Orbitz. 

A good name doesn't confuse people, doesn't look or sound like someother organization's name.
If you live in the city limits of St. Albans and you support the goals and methods of neighborhood watch as a means of improving the city of St Albans, join "Public Group For St. Albans Neighborhood Watch" on Facebook at ::https://www.facebook.com/groups/PublicGroupForSt.AlbansNeighborhoodWatch/.
Higginbotham At Large only publishes the comments of clearly identified submitters. I am not interested in the opinions of cowards who hide behind CB handles and I will not publish them.  By "clearly identified" I mean something like this: JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com. No Ring of Gyges for you.

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