Kate Buckley is CEO of Buckley media: Premium Domain Brokerage & Domain First Branding. She is also a member of the ICANN Business Constituency.
Branding is a critical aspect of any company’s success, and it’s even more important for companies looking to differentiate themselves from competitors – and grow. It’s your first impression. It is your point of distinction. It is proof of credibility. In short, the right company name is huge.
So how do you go about finding the ideal name for their business? Many business leaders believe that naming begins with a scribble on a napkin or a long read: duration– naming in which esoteric names, contractions and misspellings of common words are presented. These names may have nothing to do with the actual brand promise, service offerings and ethos, and may not resonate with their target market. Often, after a lengthy process has been completed and a winning name has been selected, agencies – and only then – consider whether the exact matching .com domain name is available. In my experience, 99 times out of 100 this is not the case.
Then it’s back to the drawing board for a new wave of candidates or settle for a brand name that’s hard to remember or pronounce, or a brand name with a substandard extension. These names can convey a lack of confidence and fall short of the organization’s growth goals.
Here’s what you can do instead.
Conduct a brand awareness survey.
Not sure if your brand name is an asset or a passive one? Conduct a brand awareness survey. By engaging a broad segment of your target audience – both current and potential customers – you can gain real-time, valuable, data-driven insights into how your name and brand are perceived and how closely they align with your company’s value proposition and its needs. critical target group.
Brand awareness is a crucial metric for any business looking to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. To accurately measure how well your brand is recognized and remembered by consumers, there are two main types of research methods: assisted and unaided brand awareness studies.
Unassisted brand awareness studies ask consumers to recall and name brands in a specific category without any prompts or clues. For example, a question might be “What luxury watch brands can you think of?” This approach provides valuable insights into how well known your brand is and how easily it is perceived by consumers, without any outside influence.
On the other hand, supported brand awareness studies provide cues or cues to help consumers remember brands. For example, a question might be, “Which of the following luxury watch brands have you heard of?” This would be followed by a list of luxury watch brands. This approach measures how well your brand is recognized when consumers are given specific cues or directions.
Both are useful tools for understanding your brand’s recognition and recall among consumers. By conducting this type of research, you can gain valuable insights into the strength or weakness of your brand’s name and position in the market and make informed decisions about whether or not to invest in a rebrand.
Consider the available domains.
When considering potential domain names, prioritize the following:
1. One word in the English dictionary; two words as a backup plan.
2. Ideally three to eight characters long.
3. Avoid hyphens and spelling mistakes.
4. Look for a word or words with positive to neutral meanings.
Since premium domain names can be hard to come by and owners of older domain names are notoriously hard to track down, consider using a reputable domain name broker. (Disclosure: My company helps with this.) Look for a brokerage that is well versed in sourcing, negotiating, and acquiring domain names. If you decide to go it alone, make sure you use a reputable escrow service when completing an agreed domain name transaction.
Once a shortlist has been identified, consider the names of candidates who have available .com domains that fit both strategy and budget. Then create meaningful origin stories that resonate with the service offerings and needs of the target audience.
Finally, test the surviving candidates qualitatively and quantitatively (don’t guess, test!), so you can be sure you’re flying out the door with the right name and resonance with your target market from day one. I have found that this efficient and elegant process can shorten the branding process from months to weeks.
Big names help ensure your brand is top-of-mind and credible, reducing your marketing spend. Digital competition is fiercer than ever: rebranding can give companies a competitive edge – an advantage that not only serves as a moat around their brand and a force multiplier for their marketing efforts, but is also a valuable asset to their balance sheet.