Running a business is a long journey. Though naming your brand occurs at the very beginning, it lays the foundation for your future success. A worthwhile business name empowered by a catchy logo builds a strong brand identity, which is necessary for a startup entering a competitive field of endeavor. Therefore, a random obscure name is not an option. If you are looking for some worthy ideas, take a look at this case study to learn how our agency deals with naming and graphic design.
Client – a brand new digital project based in Luxembourg. The platform positions itself as a financial coach and robo-advisor for women who want to invest in a sustainable way but do not have enough time or knowledge to take the leap. Its mission is to educate users, simulate their objectives and offer 100% sustainable strategies via a mobile application available at any time.
Challenge – the startup needed a meaningful business name that would clearly reflect the nature of its “abstract” services and distinguish the app from other robo-advisors. It had to be memorable, euphonious and easy to spell. Another thing the brand lacked was a presentable logo perfectly married to a business name. It had to “single out” from other financial services, but look “serious” and trustworthy enough to encourage people invest their money. Without these, the team could not start launching the project.
The Brand Naming Process
At the initial consultation, we filled out two brief sheets together with the client – one for a business name, one for a logo. They contained general information about the target audience. Later the client sent us a detailed description of their prospective customer avatar, so that The Loupe team could proceed to creating a primary list of name concepts.
The first idea we have come up with was animality. The names of financial companies that provide “abstract” services often refer to certain animals and traits they symbolize, hoping to be associated with something precise and telling. Most brands choose strong, aggressive, dangerous beasts, so we considered “safer” names like “Golden Goose” or “Owlvest”, which would differentiate the app from competitors.
However, this was not the only option. We have also tried to play with the concept of femininity in order to hit the target audience. The list of names built around this concept included a whole plethora of variants. Here are just a few of them: “Lady Trust”, “Countess”, “NoMenAllowed”, “Emerald Ring” “Wimpack” (women, which make impact).
Of course, we could not ignore words and word combinations with pre-existing positive equity, such as “Safe”, “Trust League”, “Circle of Change”, etc. Since they have already proven to work well for brands that deal with finances, it would make sense to apply one of time-tested names to a financial robo-advisor.
The last but not least concept we had in mind was... storytelling. It is always a win-win option, especially for digital businesses whose field of expertise is hard to comprehend. As our client specializes in sustainable investment, we have offered three names inspired by well-known myths and fairy tales on relevant topics:
“Cornucopia” – a Latin name for the horn of plenty, a symbol of abundance and nourishment;
“Star Talers” – a fairy tale about a poor girl who shared her last belongings and was rewarded with star money (talers);
“Magic Pot” – an allusion to a little pot, which freed a little girl from poverty and hunger in a fairy tale “Sweet porridge”.
After much brainstorming and deliberation, the client have chosen the name that fully captured the brand’s true spirit – “StarTalers”. It was exactly what they have been looking for – simple, catchy and explicit.
Brand Naming Tips, Tricks and Tools
Choosing a good business name takes much time and effort. There are so many options that you cannot decide what to begin with. If you are struggling to find a starting point for your brand naming process, try to check out the list of most common brand name types:
descriptive names (Internet Explorer, O’Egg, Whole Foods);
abbreviations (KFC for Kentucky Fried Chicken, HP for Hewlett-Packard, FedEx for Federal Express);
evocative names, which serve as analogies, allusions, associations or metaphors (Twitter, Blackberry, Mustang)
alliterations (repeated sounds or syllables) and rhymes (Coca-Cola, Chupa-Chups, Piggly Wiggly);
founder’s names (Walt Disney, Mary Kay, Ford Motor Company);
new made up-words (Intel, Kodak, Omniplex);
geographical names (Patagonia, Cisco Systems, New Yorker);
historical or made-up figures (Betty Crocker, Tesla Motors, Dr Pepper);
mythical names (Nike, Pandora, Hermès)
misspelled words (Flickr, Tumblr, UNKNWN);
domain names (Zee.Dog, Dosh.Cash);
numbers (7UP, Chanel No. 5, Porsche 911).
Explore as many categories of names for your brand as possible. Do not leave any stone unturned. Once you have considered each option, clear up your head, because, as a rule, associations that come to your mind first are already used as business names. So you should take another row to end up with a truly unique and expressive name. Repeat the procedure until you get at least 10-15 options to choose from.
As you see, brand naming requires a great deal of creativity, so many business owners face the mental block, which stands in the way of brainstorming. There are two ways to break through it: you can either contact a creative agency or use a free business name generator.
A team of professionals at our agency will help you choose a striking brand name in a week or two. Machine generators work much faster: they display a random name each time you click a button or type a keyword. However, no one guarantees it would look, sound and feel appropriate, which means your company might be easily confused with another brand.
The logo design process for StarTalers
Our next step was to create a fitting and engaging logo to match the approved name. Following an initial request by StarTalers, we have designed “a watercolor logo that differs from those used by most investment agencies”. The aim was to illustrate the brand name, but not in a straightforward way. Therefore, we have started with a simple starfall outline. Later it has been reshaped into several color versions with a different catchphrase:
In order to make the logo more distinctive, we have also tried to center it on a single watercolor star, which would symbolize a deserved reward. The fonts and shades varied:
However, none of those outlines has been approved, as StarTalers decided to reconsider their initial request and change it to something more solid and less playful. So we have offered them another set of graphic design options.
The final choice was to be made between two outlines. Below you can see the minimalistic one. “Calm” colors and elegant lines evoke trust but do not seem boring:
Though StarTalers liked the concept, they have preferred a more unhackneyed logo. It features a green star on a purple field, which can be viewed as an original interpretation of money fallen down from the sky. The flower-like shape of a star is a nod to feminity that catches attention and pleases the eye.
Logo Design Tips and Tricks
Think outside the box. Don’t be the millionth coffee shop with a coffee bean logo. Remember: your logo should not literally illustrate your products.
Use recognizable forms and items: letters, geometric figures, animal shapes, etc.
Choose classics instead of modish arrows and globes. Be timeless.
Make sure your logo looks well, regardless of size, both in color and black-and-white. Plus, it has to be versatile enough to stand strong on all media – from billboards and newspapers to TV and the web.
Always prefer Vector graphics to Raster formats (jpg, png, gif). Vector logos can be super enlarged or reduced to the size of a post stamp without jeopardizing quality. This allows weighing all pros and cons before making the final choice.
Mind the appropriateness. Not only should your logo be catchy, but it also has to suit your sphere of endeavour and price segment.
For more hints on logo design, click here.
Once StarTalers have got a unique name and logo, they were able to launch a branded website and start promoting themselves in Facebook and LinkedIn. A strong brand identity now helps the startup to gain new visitors, followers and subscribers who might soon become their partners and customers.
StarTalers’ case has taught us that a good business name should tell a story of the brand it stands for. The manner of narration depends on the target audience: it can be forthright, metaphorical or even random, without any clear references to what one does and expects. The only thing that matters is whether the brand name is simple, catchy and understandable for prospective customers.
Another lesson we have learned touched upon graphic design, which should not be a thing-in-itself. It has to fall into the course of corporate branding. A logo should play with a business name to create a strong two-dimensional image of a brand standing apart from competitors.
Are you thinking about choosing a name for a new business? Or renaming an existing one? Please, feel free to contact The Loupe agency. We would be glad to provide you with a name and logo that would capture your company’s spirit and appeal to your target audience.