Business Naming and Renaming

What are some good reasons to rename your product, service or company?

There can be numerous reasons why a CEO may consider renaming their company, product or service, but it’s safe to say that you could that it could be boiled down to just one; the name has hindered business. Here is a partial list of specific reasons for renaming:
1.    The name is misleading—people often arrive at a false assumption about your company.
2.    You’re finding that new customers are pronouncing your name wrong.
3.    The market you are in is crowded or confusing and you’re not standing out.
4.    Your company is clearly different, but you look and sound like everyone else.
5.    The benefits of using your company are intangible to the average person.
6.    You have many products or services that need to be organized and grouped into one unified family.
7.    The strategic direction of the business has changed.
8.    You are heading into a new market or rolling out a new product.

What is the average cost of naming services?

There are quite a few factors when it comes to naming (see next question and answer) that can change the cost. Below are two sources that provide a ballpark price.
– Entrepreneur Magazine $80,000
– Marketing for Dummies $10,000 — $75,000

What considerations are involved with Company Naming, Business Naming or Renaming, or Product Naming?

– Trademark National or International?
– Doing business in 1 or more states?
– Sub-brands?
– How crowded the industry is?
– Cultural Assessment and Evaluation for US, North America, Europe?
– State, Province, Country or Trademark Availability
– Web Address Availability
– Supporting Tagline or Positioning Statement
– How the name might be shortened
– How the name might be made into an acronym
– Reflects the culture of the organization
– A solid process and approach

What services are included with naming?

Most naming companies will include or at least think through the Logo Tagline, URL, and conduct a simple preliminary Trademark Search.

How long does a naming project usually take?

– Minimum of 2-4 weeks
– Average of 1.5 months
– Sometimes up to 6 to 9 months

What is the process?

This is a simplified and condensed version of my process that is well-explained in my Brand Workbook.

Step One: Market Research

Write down all those first impressions, or names that come to mind quickly. Get all those over-used, top-of-mind, and common names out on the whiteboard. Do a Google search for the type of company or service you’re naming and capture all those familiar names that everyone else is using. Get all these out of your system and out of the way—another list to avoid.
– List your competitors
– Research “like” companies or products within your industry
– List overused words
– Industry terms

Step Two: Brand Research

– Conduct a Brand Workshop (see more about a Brand Workshop)
– Define Purpose, Vision and Mission
– Write Core Values

Step Three: Create a Naming Vocabulary List

Select 5–10 words to create your vocabulary list of desired meanings you want to be associated with your product or company. One word could be the brand archetype or archetypes (no more than two) that you feel best describes the personality. For each word in the vocabulary list, you generate a list under each that relate to that word.

Example Organization: A Children’s Museum
Vocabulary Word “Hands-On”:
Words under or associated with Hands-On: engage, explore, creative, interact, playful, imagine, discovery, fun, playground

Step Four: Explore

Now it’s time to brainstorm other words or terms for names. I recommend conducting brainstorming sessions in small bursts with only a day or two in between. This helps with not getting burnout while not losing momentum.

Step Five: Filter  

The final step involves filtering all the names. Usually, there are a few that stand out, but it’s time to evaluate each one individually and see if there’s cause to keep each. Typically this could take a couple of rounds to get down to a handful of names. Also, this is a good place to evaluate possible URLs for the names. Typically we’re thinking about what unique URLs are open throughout the entire naming process.

Step Six: Evaluate

Write down a list of finalists to evaluate. To the right of each name write a list of several attributes (Communicates Purpose, Open URL, Fits Your Culture, etc.) that you can rate on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the strongest. Rate then and total all the points for each name to see which one is the strongest. Certainly, this is not a way to pick a final name based on the score it gets, but it’s often surprising what comes out of this exercise.

Name Change “to do” List

1.    Register a Trademark with USPTO.
2.    File the name with the Secretary of State.
3.    Register the new URL. If the new name is not available as a .com, try adding words to the name. Try a shortened version of the tagline or positioning statement.
4.    Acquire a Federal ID number. (EIN-Employer Identification Number)
5.    Update bank accounts and other financial accounts.
6.    Create new Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages/accounts.
7.    Update any blank legal contracts, agreements, and paperwork.

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