How do I test a brand concept

Looking for a cool brand name? 8 tips for founders

Clearly: The name of a brand is its foundation. If the foundation is solid, a skyscraper can be built on it. But if it is uneven and unsafe, so will the building.

Brand names shape our lives, they even become synonyms for objects.

We say, "Will you give me a pace, please?" Even though we mean a tissue. Has a brand managed to get its name like this? to anchor in the mind of the consumer, their worth is priceless.

The good news: Ultimately, the options you have when choosing a name are very limited. Aside from family and proper names, you can either form an artificial name, use a lexical term, or use abbreviations and numbers. So far so good. But what makes you attractive product or brand name out? What does a start-up have to pay attention to when it comes to naming and name searches? Do abbreviations and numbers work? And which mistakes should be avoided at all costs?

1. Check it out, baby! Write a naming checklist

Before you jump into a wild brainstorming session, there are a few things you should do first strategic issues put:

  • Is there a precise definition of which products and services fall under the name?
  • Which target group do you want to address with the name?
  • How and where is the name mainly communicated (for example, if you want to name a beer, you should remember that the name must be communicated even when the disco is at full volume and when you are drunk)?
  • Should the name be protectable as a word mark?
  • In which countries is it used?

Make a list and answer these questions. So arise first direction coordinates.

2. Eureka, I have it ... unfortunately not! Waiting for the flash of inspiration

Sorry, but in reality it remains ingenious flash of inspiration mostly off.

Creativity needs preparation. This also applies to finding a name.

Do some research beforehand all possible word worlds. Then form a creative team - if possible with people who think differently and approach tasks in their own way. And off you go: Collect all sorts of ideas and associations, play with images, colors, letters and form anagrams or put parts of words together. Let your brand rise as an animal, as a superhero, cartoon character or car brand. Think in all directions. And very important: Judgments are left out in the first step. Only afterwards is the wheat separated from the chaff.

EXTRA: 10 tips for creating great ideas [+ creative soundtrack]

3. What must your name have? The SUCCESS formula

So far so good. But how do you separate them now Wheat chaff? You will find some formulas in the literature that will help you as first rules of thumb to evaluate the quality of a name. One of them is the SUCCESS formula:

  • E for easy
  • R for relevant
  • F for friendly
  • O for original
  • L for easily memorable
  • G for believable
  • S for the Sum of all these qualities

Admittedly, some of these terms are very subjective. Who can say what is really original? Still, use this formula as a first tape measurethat you can attach to your brand name.

4. Goodbye description! Use names that can be monopolized

It actually makes sense to find a name for your brand that also describes it. For example, you want to open a fitness studio and call it: "Fitness Company". The problem:

Trademark law prohibits the monopolizing of general, descriptive terms.

That is why every fitness club on the corner can advertise "Your Fitness Company". And the unique position (a strong brand name) is gone. That is why it is worth to look for new word creations. On the one hand, they are not yet charged with meaning and can be freely communicated, on the other hand, the chance increases with a new term to create a name monopoly that no one can take away from you.

5. N.e.i.n. - or why you should avoid abbreviations

Yes, BMW is a good counterexample. Perhaps not even everyone knows that this abbreviation stands for “Bayerische Motorenwerke”. But everyone knows BMW. Nonetheless, the days when long word combinations could simply be condensed into snippets of abbreviations are over. Because pretty much every combination is available hundreds of times on the internet.

Try it out: Combine any three capital letters and google them. You will see that either companies, products, processes, systems, associations or whatever can be found with exactly that name.

6. Would you buy a 1302? Why Paying Don't Pay Off

Until 2002 the good old "VW BEETLE“The best selling car in the world. But it did not get the name "Beetle" from the manufacturer. Officially, the Beetle had names like “Type 1 VW 1200 Standard”, later 1300, 1302, and so on. Fortunately, the vernacular had a different need than the manufacturer. He wanted a descriptive name for this cuddly car - and called it “Beetle” without further ado. VW did not use it until 1967 Creativity of the People in an ad campaign. Later came the officially christened new edition with the “New Beetle”. Note:

Numbers are never as beautiful as catchy, apt names.

7. “Can you spell that again, please?” Your name in the test

Suppose the name sounds good. Creatives, shareholders and your family are equally enthusiastic. Nice and good. But how does your name work in an everyday business situation? Are you good at communicating him? Take the phone test: Ask business partners or friends who do not know the name to give you a call. Then contact by name and get feedback on what the phone partner understood. You will see: it works very quickly here dangerous principle of the "silent post".

EXTRA: Brand with sound: A brand has to sound good

8. Collision research: So check who binds forever

Now you are really sure: This name should be it! But if you're unlucky, you may find that others have had this brilliant idea before you. So start your research: As a first step, you simply google your find. Dives your name idea is not yet in any hit list up, that's almost bingo! A request to the German Patent and Trademark Office can also help.

But of course, a comprehensive research is far more complex. Attention must be paid to phonetic similarities as well as to similarities between existing word marks, figurative marks, etc. That should be done by an expert who really knows his stuff and who protect yourself legally can.

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Stephan Rau works as a freelance copywriter, text coach and speaker in Hamburg and Berlin. He studied German, Romance languages, linguistics and philosophy of language in Berlin, Freiburg and Barcelona. He trained as a copywriter and text specialist in PR agencies and marketing departments. He is a certified KfW text coach and board member of Texterverband Deutschland - the professional association for freelance copywriters. More information: www.stephanrau.de.