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Brand Naming Online – a Double Challenge

Brand namingWhat’s in a name? In business, everything, and though “by any other name would smell as sweet” a business has more chances of becoming profitable if its name is catchy, memorable and strong. Think Coca-Cola, Xerox, Nike, Sony, Ford,  and so many others.

But let’s think online companies, since this is our main business environment. Think Google, Twitter, Facebook, Digg. Would these companies be as successful with other names, more descriptive? Hardly.

Yet many online businesses consider branding a form of satisfying the search engines first. Many business names today are highly descriptive – focused on keywords rather than people. The “” era created the annoying branding habit of adding a .com at the name too. Expedia has ditched the .com from its name, but there are a number of sites that still keep it, the few that survived the crash.

Choosing a name for an online business is a challenging proposition. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd without a good name. Things become even harder when the brand has to match a domain name – and to protect a business against brand jacking, this is obviously a must.

You can start a business plan without the business name, but you cannot launch the business without the brand that will make it stand out. There are rare cases of re-branding that involve name-changing, but more often than not, changing a name does not make a business better known – in fact, it could obscure previous branding efforts.

  • The easy way would be to acquire naming software like WordMaker. But this is not enough. In addition to using a name generator software, you have to research  the market and make sure that the name you chose is not already in use by other company.
  • Here is where Trademarkia can help – the largest visual search engine for more than 6 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet. They also provide, for a fee, trade mark registration services, legal advice and more.
  • To avoid the hassle, you could hire a brand naming professional, and there are plenty swimming in the pond.
  • VAYTON Brand Capital for example, is interesting because, aside naming services, they also offer an international intellectual property (IP) management platform.
  • The Brand Institute is probably the less affordable solution, as it’s working with the “heavy industry players.” You’ll find names like Alcatel, AT&T, Avon, BP, Black&Decker and many others in their portfolio.
  • Nomen is quite a name too… having worked with the likes of Lancôme, Microsoft, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Renault and more. Even their own brand is a strong testimony.
  • CatchWord Branding specialize in all aspects of brand name development, including product and company naming, brand strategy, initial legal screening, and linguistic analysis.
  • You can even crowdsource your brand name, with services like crowdSPRING.

Whatever option you choose, the moment you have a name you like, you need to check that it is not already in use by others – to avoid trademark issues and copyright infringement trials. If the name is available, you’ll need to book the matching domain. With names no one else has, this should be relatively easy. Don’t postpone this: you’d be surprised to see how fast the domain you need can be booked by someone else after you performed an online search for available domains.

Last but not least, register your brand. It’s not that expensive, and it instantly makes your business more valuable.

Post image by Orin Zebest

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  1. 15 Responses to “Brand Naming Online – a Double Challenge”

  2. nice article. thanks for sharing

    By amit mojumder on Nov 4, 2010

  3. Brand name is really important whether online or offline business. It is actually gives you your own identity. I agree with you that make sure you research first and no one have the same name as yours because it can cause some conflicts. Better to build a name that is so unique but very catchy at the same time.

    By dee oneal on Nov 6, 2010

  4. It has become increasingly more common for bands to chose their names based on the availability of that name’s unique url being available on YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc. I think this shows the power of ‘search-ability’ above the brand itself.

    Adam Chamberlain

    By Adam Chamberlain on Nov 10, 2010

  5. It is not easy choosing a name and staying with a consistent name because it is not similar. A couple years ago, the community on blogging about blogging, seo, and design were not as mainstream as now.

    However, there are major conferences and tons of people who blog about those topics.

    I certainly did not think too much about SEO as I do now back in 2006 when I finally moved to, nor much on branding.

    Now, it is very important to me as it makes sense what I have been doing for years.

    By Nile on Nov 13, 2010

  6. Ann, this is interesting. I think everyone wondered when Apple branded iPad but even with an awkward name like that – it can’t hurt “Apple”.

    I thought is was funny the other day when I was watching my favorite soap opera and they called FaceBook “FacePlace”. I thought hmmm… that would work too :)

    Thanks for the resources.

    By Ileane on Nov 16, 2010

  7. It’s really fast how someone can book a domain name you like, I experienced this, I thought of a domain name I liked and when I checked it, it’s available but I thought to think of still another name. But then when I decided that the previous on is the best and when I tried to check it again, it’s already taken. So, don’t prolong it, someone might take it.

    By Andrew @ Blogging Guide on Nov 26, 2010

  8. Brand Naming is not a easy job. Sometimes software can help, but the results are not so excellent. I think we should turn to professional SEO companies, like BPOVIA. They know better about the best brand and they can make sure the brand is not used by someone else.

    By Darren Katz on Nov 29, 2010

  9. Indeed, brand name is too important for a product. It carries the main services we cater or a consumable product we can see everywhere. Brand names or keywords in a domain or within a domain, somehow really matters in the world of SEO. I remember, was bought in a huge amount of money by toys ‘r’ us because of its domain name. Moreover, if ever you have this domain names, it is still important that you also work out on your marketing strategies including organic SEO as part of the campaign.

    By SEO Outsourcing on Nov 30, 2010

  10. very informative post Ann

    By free seo tools on Nov 30, 2010

  11. This is a resourceful post.Yes, we do understand registering brand will add more value

    By watch movies online on Nov 30, 2010

  12. Nice article, informative and catchy!
    But Ann!
    I disagree with you on “Think Google, Twitter, Facebook, Digg. Would these companies be as successful with other names, more descriptive? Hardly.”
    Simpler names are no doubt easy remembered by people.but these big names have gone through many reforms and evolution and are on top due to quality of services and user friendliness even lot more other factors,not only because of simpler name.
    That is what i think,what do you say?

    By Custom Logo Design on Dec 10, 2010

  13. You can’t argue with the basic premise that landing a domain (.com) that matches your company name is very important even as it gets harder.

    I have seen new businesses establish themselves and incorporate only to find that the matching domain name is not available.

    Dodge the keyword domain name craze, search for a company name and domain name at the same time and provide a great product or service. You will be golden.

    By Jim Spencer on Jan 14, 2011

  14. We were debating EMD, exact match domains to night in the twitterchat #seochat with @randfish – The topic is interesting. I don’t think EMDs are going to remain as important as they have been. But that will depend on google figuring out how to detect value of EMD and non-match domains more consistently.

    By Debra Leitl on Jan 21, 2011

  15. Simply put, when your name is mentioned when someone refers to a product or service, then your a brand. But getting to this point is not a simple task. Branding is achieved by how you interact with your target market.

    By SEO Reseller on Dec 20, 2011

  16. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.

    By Johnette on Sep 20, 2012

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