Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Selecting a Powerful Company or Brand Name


Selecting the perfect company name or brand can be a stressful time for your brand-new start-up, and understandably, you want the perfect name right out of the box, a name that reflects your company's products/services and values. For example, if your core values include a religious aspect, you wouldn't want a name that might have a slightly naughty connotation.

One piece of sage advice: avoid trendy TLDs (Top Level Domains), such as .me, .co, or .io. Yes, you might be able to register a cool .me or .co at Go Daddy, but you will soon discover that your sweet “not .com” website is experiencing traffic “bleed” -- straight to someone else's .com. Then your company must either rebrand or try to acquire the .com from its owner. This very situation has occurred with the Versus.io company, who ended up paying six figures for Versus.com. If you have your heart set on a specific name, it is better to acquire the .com before announcing your start-up plans. If you own the .com version of your company name, then (and only then) should you consider branding or naming your company with a TLD other than .com. That way, you can redirect your .com to your .io site.


On this site, we offer only .com domains; our core values stipulate that we offer the best product possible to our target customer base, and we would feel remiss in leading a fledgling start-up in the wrong direction by trying to sell anything but the king of TLDs -- and, for now, that's .com.


In About Brand Jar, we explain why we prefer “created” names -- for example, “Verizon as opposed to Apple -- over dictionary words, and created names are our specialty.


Unless your start-up is well-funded and the budget for your .com huge, you are not likely to able to afford a one-word dictionary .com domain name. In addition, with the arrival of the new TLDs (such as .Verizon, among others), companies that have branded with generic terms are going to have difficulty in getting approval for their brand as a TLD (Top Level Domain). As Domain Incite reports, Amazon is currently experiencing protests from the global community regarding the approval for Amazon as a TLD.


Therefore, created and combined dictionary words are your best bets.


Selecting the perfect name is often a subjective decision--no two people are likely to agree 100% of the time, but here are some tips for finding that perfect company or brand name:

--The brand name should be pronounceable--avoid acronyms (unless they spell out a pronounceable word, are very well known, and not already trademarked).
--Tongue twisters should be avoided, unless the visual aspects of the name are compelling enough to overcome the tricky pronunciation.
--The brand name should generally carry a positive connotation, suggesting trustworthiness and desirability. Some exceptions might include something like killz for a bug extermination company.
--Sound of word: Masculine sounds/words for a male type business and feminine sounds/words for female business. Yes, stereotypical, but, unfortunately, we still live in a stereotypical world, even in the 21st Century.
--The term should “pop” at first glance and offer a hint of what kind of business the term suggests. If one dithers and questions a possibility, then the name may not be a good choice.
--For longer brandables, perhaps even a generic word could be a part of the term. For long brandables, the term should generally be no more than 10 letters and 3 syllables (there are always exceptions, of course). In any case, the term must be instantly memorable and create an earworm. We particularly love 5-letter domains.
--The exact term must not infringe on an existing TM -- particularly true of a made-up word and a well-known TM (such as Verizon). Some lesser known terms may be used in different non-competing businesses, but even here, one should tread carefully. A good tool for checking out existing trademarks is USPTO.gov (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Also, Google the target term to search for  “natural trademarks” (terms used in business but are unregistered with USPTO).
--It must be .com. Trying to brand any other TLD tends to be a fool's mission, as some major companies have discovered. A company may already have its ccTLD (Country Code TLD, such as .me or .co), but for a global presence, the .com would be a must.
--Avoid hyphens or numbers, unless you own the non-hyphenated or spelled-out numeral versions, such as Brand-x and Brandx or Brand1 and BrandOne.
--Preferably, the term should pass the radio test, but not doing so would not be a deal killer, especially if the term itself had visual/curb appeal, such as ZZZ Spot.com, ZZZyou.com, and ZZZNN.com (See Brands Z.)
The domains we sell offer the above characteristics. While we hope that you will select one of them for your company name or brand, we want you to choose the right name.



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