Choosing a brand name is not a piece of cake as it’s one of the first things that creates an image of a company in clients’ minds.
And as it was confirmed in recent research – brand names do have a unique impact on our brains, even if we like to believe that we can “tune them out” or at least remain uninfluenced by them.
However, research has now confirmed that brand names affect us differently than other words, causing associations and connecting with the “emotional” right side of the brain.
A pretty good example here is ‘Kodak’. This brand name associates with two quick clicking sounds (made by cameras at that time) when the shutter was pressed.
What’s more, when the brand name ends on the consonant, like in ‘Kodak’, our brain perceives it as a complete name. This way, choosing to end your brand name with a vowel is much riskier as it can be subconsciously seen like something was missing in such name.
However, the most important aim for the founder of Kodak, George Eastman, was to stay outstanding from the others – he wanted to create an unusual brand name that corresponded to the kind of services he offered. Fortunately, he managed to combine all the aspects – idealistically and psychologically – of a perfect brand name.
Trigger Emotions and Use Fonts
According to psychologist Possidonia Gontijo of UCLA, ‘Our brain perceives brand names as a different category than words in everyday speech – brand names hold a “distinct categorical status,” and the recognition process uses special strategies. Even if reading is a very recent phenomenon in human history, the brain uses its existing machinery to set up special categories of words.”
That means, the difference between brand name and a common noun is driven by the associations. And those are even stronger when caused by emotions.
So your aim should be that your brand name brings concrete associations and (if possible) triggers emotions, as this way people will subconsciously identify the name with what you do.
For example, the name for a wedding studio ‘ “I do” Photography’ immediately associates with the happy event, so it brings more emotional connections than just ‘Anne Simpson Wedding Photography’.
Finding that perfect name is not an easy task. We have to be aware of what we’re doing and what impact it will have on our business. If we fail in creating a name for our brand it can do the opposite of what it should and we’ll stay unnoticed.
Here are a few rules you should follow to create a perfect name for your brand.
- Make sure that your brand name is a representation of you and your work. Keep it short and simple though. There is nothing worse than snake-like 5 words name. Nobody will be able to remember it. We are surrounded by brand names all the time and it’s a matter of seconds if the name will stick with us or not.
- Try to keep it unique and relevant at all times. What’s popular now, doesn’t have to be popular next month. You’ll lose the power of your name and nobody will care. If you think that some words or catchphrases will stick forever, you’re wrong. Think for a second what words were popular when you were child and how many of them are still in use today. You get the idea.
- Give yourself and your brand name a bit flexibility. Your business might grow in the future and it’s probably best to keep your existing brand name at the same time. So, don’t make it too specific, e.g. Tom – Dogs photography. By doing that you limit your possible business expansion.
While following the above, try to avoid the below:
- Don’t try to create similar name to an already existing one. Even if it’s hugely popular, it won’t have the same effect on you. You’ll be perceived as a copycat and that’s simply bad. Get creative, brainstorm with friends or even get help from random name generators. You have to stand out from the crowd, not imitate it. The advice here is, be very careful with getting inspiration from other brands. In fact, don’t even try to do it.
- As mentioned before, don’t limit yourself to one photography field. You can never know where your business might go. Your skill set is developing constantly and so do your interests. You probably already have at least two kinds of photography you enjoy, don’t you? Right now you may think that taking photos of pets is all you want to do, but maybe in the future, humans will also appeal to you :)
- Don’t change your name after a few years on the market. It’ll confuse your customers and force you to build your brand and authenticity all over again. By doing that you give people a reason to doubt in your business. Is the quality of the service at the same level? Can I still expect same approach towards me as client? Did the working staff change? It may seem irrational, because it’s just a name, but that’s how our brain works. We get used to things and brand names are no exception. Once you’ve granted yourself a safe place in customers’ minds it’s best to keep it.
A simple solution to avoid all those traps and having a brand name unique for you is….to use your own name. It’s not a revolutionary approach, yet it’s effective. You don’t have to sweat your brain too much or spend couple of hours brainstorming the brilliant idea.
However, since names are not always simple or short, you have to make sure that fonts and design you’ve chosen is uncommon and eye-catching. Otherwise, nobody will bother to remember it.
One last thing to remember are the visuals of it all. Try to make something up and create a unique brand name, according to the motto:
Descriptive names are easier to remember, but creative names are harder to Forget.
The visual side of your brand name is nonetheless important than its verbal side. As marketers say, ‘it should create an associatively consistent image’.
So, think like one and take care of the way your brand name looks. Make it unique by using characteristic fonts (find out why choosing fonts does matter on Design School), shapes and colors (here you can find some helpful websites that match colors e.g. Material Palette).
Do you think that McDonalds logo is yellow by accident? Or the shape of the letter “M” was randomly chosen? There is a whole science behind how we’re affected by colors and shapes. Look into that and use it for your advantage.
It’s also worth knowing that the human brain recognizes particular names even more easily when they are in capital letters. Be careful with it though; nobody wants to be shouted at!
How Can You Improve Your Brand Name?
Having your brand name already chosen is just the beginning, and you can always improve upon it too. Below we’ll show you how we successfully improved our brand name and how a relatively small change brought us a huge difference.
Our company, Photler, is quite new on the market so it’s no surprise that a lot of people haven’t heard about it yet. So we decided that we needed to present briefly to people what are we all about.
That’s why we’ve created a description to our brand name – ‘creating your personal brand as a photographer’ – in order to make our message completed.
Thanks to this, people unfamiliar with Photler could get the idea behind it. That resulted in 700% followers’ boost per week on our Facebook page.
We’re not a big company yet, so the sudden increase of 70 new followers per week instead of 10, made a huge difference for us.
As you can see, we haven’t changed anything – our promotion intensity stayed at the same level – and the only thing we’ve added was a brief description under the brand name of what we do.
Such action provides the knowledge of a service and further, the trust that it represents valuable content. So, make a difference in your photography brand name by enriching it with a short description presenting what kind of business you have.
And even if your brand name doesn’t need any explanation, why not use an underneath description to make your followers more active or just to make them laugh?
As you can see, some theory combined with practice can do a lot of good. And now, with the power of psychology by your side you can make a perfect brand name.
Also, keep in mind that companies which don’t have a logo are perceived as 38% less professional. So don’t wait any longer and use this knowledge to see on your own that it really works. Have fun and good luck!