Coming up with a great business name is no easy task. The challenge comes from the pressure to sum up your business ideas in one or two words all while making sure your name makes sense, grabs attention, stands out, and allows you to build an effective brand.
Funneling all of your ideas and distilling them into a name can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a way to frame your ideas in one, concise statement. A project statement is a great place to start when brainstorming business names. It sets out your key branding ideas in a concise 1-2 sentence statement.
When naming a business, there are a couple of common mistakes that slow down and distract from the business naming process.
The first major mistake people make at the start of the naming process is trying to name an industry. They approach naming with a broad demand: I need a name for my seafood restaurant. By focusing on an entire industry instead of a unique business, you are setting yourself up for failure (from the perspective of branding and overall business strategy). For example, there is a huge difference between the name of modern, high-end seafood restaurant in Boston and an affordable, family-friendly chain in the Midwest.
The second common mistake is that entrepreneurs approach naming with too many details. Putting every menial detail about your business into a document, and hoping to find a name within this myriad of minutia will only lead to frustration. Don’t get distracted from the core elements of your business that you will turn into your brand.
In this article, you will learn how to distill the perfect amount of information into a clear project statement that will allow you to create a brand name that will be the bedrock of your brand and your future success. You will also discover what elements your project statement should capture, how to craft a great project statement, and how this process will help you brainstorm the perfect name.
What goes into a project statement?
Because your project statement is a broad overview of your brand, you should focus on capturing your overall tone along with a few secondary branding elements. If you’re wondering what those are, don’t worry. Learn a bit about them below.
Setting Tone with Your Brand Name
Your brand tone is how you want to immediately come across to your audience. This is the wedge of your brand. The right tone will help you connect with people. We think of tone in five styles of creative brand names:
- Modern: This is a tone that sets your business apart as intriguing and innovative
- Classic: This tone highlights core values like honesty, preeminence, and luxury.
- Clever: A clever tone makes your business come across as playful and fun.
- Pragmatic: This tone sets your business up as straightforward and down to earth.
- Emotional: An emotional tone can help you resonate deeply with an audience.
Tone controls the way your brand is received. If you compare the business names Alchemitics and Bare Beauty, you can see how tone controls your business name and brand perception. While both of these brands exist in the beauty industry, Alchemitics takes a modern, intriguing approach, and Bare Beauty is more pragmatic with a slight emotional pull.
Secondary branding elements in your business name
These elements can help add definition to your brand and name. Include one to three of these ideas in your project statement to hone your focus.
- Big ideas: What are the big ideas behind your business plan?
- Values: What personal business values drive your brand?
- Stories: Is there a story behind your business that you want to capture?
- Industry specifics: What values are specific to your industry that you want to align with?
- Benefits: What specific benefits does your product or service provide?
- Feelings: Are there any strong feelings you are trying to elicit from your audience?
By combining your tone and a few secondary branding elements, you can sum up the core of your brand in a project statement.
For example, if you were opening a magical flower shop, your project statement might look something like this:
- I am looking for a strong, inturiging name for a flower shop that sells rare and exotic plants with magical properties. The name should speak to mystery, discovery, and healing.
Your project statement applies a few of core concepts to sum up your brand in a sentence or two.
How can a project statement help me?
Think of your project statement as a very simple statement to frame the naming process so that you end up with a name that supports your long term success.
If you consider the name Apple, their project statement may have looked something like this:
- We need a unique, modern, and intriguing name that positions our technology as attainable, user-friendly, everyday items.
Apple, with this in mind, is then a perfect business name because it fulfills this criteria.
All productive brand names can be dissected in this way. Squatty Potty, for example, wanted a fun name that made light of a medical issue and highlighted the way their product works. Robinhood wanted a story-driven name that spoke to disruptive values and spreading wealth.
Great names support your business through this comprehension and traceability. A project statement not only leads directly to a name that strongly sums up your brand identity, but it helps you choose a name with confidence.
In reality, the name you choose probably won’t be love at first site. You should focus on a name that hits the criteria outlined by a project statement. Rather than worrying about your subjective emotional resonance when selecting a final name, this statement allows you to look at logical criteria. If the business name idea hits what is laid out in the project statement, then it is a good idea.
A project statement can also help clear up any tension around possible names in the boardroom. Multiple stakeholders can be on the same page about a name because everyone will have the same project statement to refer back to. This cuts back on time wasted arguing over names.
Overall, a project statement will help you narrow your focus so you can come up with a strong name that unifies your brand. To start bringing your statement to life, test it out by coming up with one name for each type of name on this list of types of great business names.
The success of your business is attached to the strength of your business name. Businesses with catchy names perform up to 33% better on the stock market, and they also increase awareness and referrals because they’re memorable and easy to pass along. With a strong project statement, you will be able to find the perfect name for your business.
Start brainstorming your own project statement by distilling your ideas with this proven approach to naming your business. Get help, and get second opinions. When you invest time and resources into your brand name, it pays off.
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