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Which Risks Are Involved in Brand Name Selection? (+ How to Avoid Them)

How to craft a brand identity that captivates and avoids pitfalls? Learn how to select a brand name with expert tips on everything from domain names to hashtags
Business Women Selecting a Brand Name

Selecting your brand name plays a huge role, in establishing a successful business. The brand name you choose can impact how your target audience perceives both your company and its products. So, it’s a big deal; it’s your identity. 

However, there are dangers associated with selecting a brand name. There are many risks involved, such as domain availability, unintended connotations, language considerations, hashtag challenges, social media handles, and implications for SEO. What can you do to avoid these pitfalls?

1. Hunting for the Perfect Domain Name

One of the challenges when selecting a brand name is ensuring that the corresponding domain name is available. Having a digital presence is essential for any business, no matter if you sell services or products. It can be disheartening to discover that your desired brand name domain has already been claimed by someone who demands a (usually high) price for it. This situation can significantly impact your startup budget by costing you thousands of dollars—no one wants that! Thus, to avoid predicaments, it is advisable to conduct research on domain availability before finalizing your brand name.

2. Slang Alert: What Not to Name Your Brand

Words often carry multiple meanings depending on the context or usage within slang or colloquial language. Consider a scenario where someone intends to name their brand “FU ” with the intention of it standing for “For You.” However, it is important to note that “FU” also happens to be a rather offensive slang term, with connotations.  As a matter of fact, this example is based on a true story—one of our clients wanted to call his company “FU”. Luckily, we prevented the disaster by simply sending him a link to the Slang Dictionary. So, it is crucial to do some research on slang interpretations to keep the record straight.

3. Lost in Translation & Brand Names Across Borders

Expanding your business on a scale is a common goal, and it involves comprehending how your brand name may be interpreted in different languages. Don’t take anything for granted—many companies have faced difficulties due to improper product naming. For instance, let’s take a look at the case of Mazda LaPuta, Mazda’s version of the Suzuki Kei. As you might have guessed, the name is somewhat …insulting. Despite its connection to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, ‘puta’ also refers to a female dog or ‘person of the night’, to put it politely. So, researching translations and cultural interpretations can prevent your brand from being associated with unintended negative connotations.

4. Brand Naming in the Social Era

In the age of social media, hashtags are super important when it comes to brand visibility and engagement. Your image can be negatively impacted if your brand name is unintentionally aligned with a trending or controversial hashtag. But no worries, there’s a simple solution to this issue: tools like Hashtagify or Sprout Social can help you analyze hashtags related to your intended brand name and avoid potential pitfalls.

5. Handle your Brand Name Handles with Care

Consistency across platforms is key for brand recognition. When you discover that your preferred social media handles have already been taken, you will have to start your brand naming process again—they are almost as critical as your domain name. Suppose, however, that your FB, Instagram, and LinkedIn preferred handles are available to use, but Twitter’s is already in use by someone else. Are you going to change your brand name and start over? Well, ain’t anybody got time for that. So, in such cases, consider tweaking the handle slightly or using abbreviations to maintain brand uniformity across various platforms. Consistency in branding helps users find and engage with your brand more easily.

6. SEO Implications & How to Crack the Code

When selecting a brand name, consider the SEO implications. For instance, if your chosen name is similar to a popular film, attraction, or established brand, it may be challenging to rank well; additionally, if someone googled it, they would see unrelated search results. Making your customers’ lives difficult is not what you want to do. So, do thorough keyword research to ensure that your brand name isn’t competing with highly searched terms, which could make it harder for potential customers to find you online. Get creative with your brand name and even invent your own words.

Brand Naming 101

A brand name is one of the biggest steps towards establishing your business identity. It’s important to be aware of potential dangers, such as domain availability, unintended slang meanings, translation into other languages, hashtags, social media handles, and search engine implications. A successful business brand requires research and due diligence to avoid these pitfalls. Your brand name should reflect your values, resonate with your target audience, and make you happy.

And don’t be shy about contacting Growthgirls CEO, Effie Bersoux, for advice on choosing your brand name.

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