Running a business is a long journey. Although naming your brand occurs at the very beginning, it lays the foundation for your future success. A worthwhile business name empowered by a memorable 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 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, pleasing to the ear and easy to spell. Another thing the brand lacked was a sharp logo perfectly married to a business name. It had to “single out” the platform 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 briefing forms together with the client – one for a business name, one for a logo. They asked for general information about the target audience. Later the client sent us a detailed description of their prospective customer avatar or ideal customer, so that The Loupe team could proceed to creating a primary list of name concepts.
The first idea we come up with was animal kingdom. The names of financial institutions that provide “abstract” services often use certain animals to connect the audience with specific traits they symbolize, hoping to be associated with something precise. 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 also tried to play with the concept of femininity in order to connect more fully with 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 making 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 had already proven to work well for financial brands, it would make sense to apply one of time-tested names to a financial robo-advisor.
Last but not least, we considered the concept of... 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 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 chose 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, 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 mind, as a rule, associations that come first are already in use. So take another row. Repeat the procedure until you have at least 10-15 good options.
Brand name development requires a great deal of creativity, and many business owners face mental blocks that stand in the way of effective brainstorming. There are two ways to have a breakthrough: you can either contact a creative agency or use a free business name generator.
A team of professionals at our agency can help you choose a striking brand name within 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 the initial request by StarTalers, we 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 was reshaped into several color versions with a different catchphrase:
In order to make the logo more distinctive, we also tried to center in on a single watercolor star, which symbolizes a deserved reward. The fonts and shades varied:
However, none of those outlines were approved. StarTalers reconsidered their initial request and asked for something more solid and less playful. So we offered them another set of graphic design options.
The final choice was to be made between two outlines. Below you can see an example of the minimalistic option. “Calm” colors and elegant lines evoke trust but do not seem boring:
Though StarTalers liked the concept, they preferred a more distinguishable logo. It features a green star on a purple field, which can be viewed as an original interpretation of money falling from the sky. The flower-like shape of a star catches attention and pleases the eye and is a nod to feminity.
Logo Design Tips and Tricks
Think outside the box. Don’t be the millionth coffee shop with a coffee bean logo. Remember: your logo doesn’t have to illustrate your products literally.
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 good regardless of size, both in color and black-and-white; it has to be versatile enough to stand strong on all media – from billboards and newspapers to TV and the web.
Always use vector graphics, not raster formats (jpg, png, gif). Vector logos can be super enlarged or reduced to the size of a postage stamp without jeopardizing quality. This allows you to weigh all pros and cons before making the final choice.
Mind the appropriateness. Not only should your logo be catchy, but it also must suit your sphere of endeavour and price segment.
For more hints on logo design, click here.
Once StarTalers had their 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 this startup to gain new visitors, followers and subscribers who might soon become their partners and customers.
The StarTalers’ case teaches us that a good business name should tell the brand’s story. The narration mode 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 touches upon graphic design, which should not be a considered alone. A logo should play with a business name to create a strong two-dimensional image, allowing a brand to stand apart from its 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.