by Grant Polachek, head of branding at Squadhelp.com
For entrepreneurs setting out on their tech startup journey, finding the perfect name for their business can seem like a superficial detail.
After all, you’ve got a big idea that’s going to change the tech world. Isn’t that more important than a name?
Unfortunately, your customers and clients aren’t going to understand your conceptual background in an instant: the name comes first. To find success in a fiercely competitive world, your name needs to immediately convey your startup’s message and values.
In short, you need to turn your tech startup into a powerful brand and your name is the first step on the branding journey. Without branding, your tech startup will be doomed to obscurity, no matter your vision.
Don’t make the same mistakes as countless others. Here are three mistakes to avoid at all costs.
1. Being Motivated By Emotional Attachment.
In an increasingly corporate world, it’s important not to lose sight of sentimentality but when it comes to choosing a name for your tech startup, you need instant broad appeal. If you’re guided by an emotional attachment to the name, you need to think bigger.
Naming your startup after your dog or based on an in-joke between you and a cofounder might make for a cute backstory if you hit it big. But customers need more to make an instant connection with your business’s message and values. Would you believe that Yahoo! started out life as “Jerry and David’s guide to the world wide web” – and how successful do you think they’d be if they had stuck with their original, folksy branding?
2. Getting Snared By Negative Interpretations.
In the tech world, you’re launching to an international market, with customers drawn together by shared values and requiring similar solutions. One thing these customers don’t share, however, is language.
Make sure you examine a potential name from every possible angle and don’t land on something with potentially negative connotations to someone outside of your culture or language. Salsa, for example, with its connection to music, dancing, spicy food, and a zest for life might seem like a positive choice for your startup – until you learn that in Korean it sounds disconcerting close to 설사, meaning diarrhoea.
Similarly, negative interpretations can arise from within our own culture. An innocent concoction of words might leave your brand initials as KKK, or could overlap with obscure but off-putting slang.
3. Building Barriers To Memory.
The latest evidence shows that four out of five customers have no memory of branded content after just three days – reemphasizing the vital importance of strong branding and memorable naming.
While current naming trends in tech favor misspellings and elaborate pronunciations, a memorable name will secure your startup’s success by firmly lodging it in the mind of customers and investors. Uber, Twitter, and Tinder, for example, haven’t just gone for clear, recognizable names – they’ve doubled down on memorability by using verb-like names that connect their brand to the doing in their customer’s minds.
If you’re struggling to find the perfect combination of your brand’s values and a snappy name that connects with the commercial zeitgeist, reach out to the experts at a naming agency for a deeper insight into the psychology of branding your startup.
From Fashism to ipipi.com, the list of startups doomed by a naming disaster is far longer than the successes. The powerful conceptual basis for your startup needs to be backed up by a name that instantly connects with customers, and doesn’t leave you hamstrung for growth due to hidden offensive meanings.
With a powerful name, your long-term future is assured. Time to get brainstorming for that perfect name.
Grant Polachek is the head of branding for Squadhelp.com, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients such as Nestle, Dell, Nuskin, and AutoNation.