Let's be honest: Companies can be prone to making some very questionable branding decisions. As many business owners may be familiar with, there is no magic formula for executing this daunting task of giving your company a voice—in fact, branding fiascos nowadays have become so familiar they become rich parody material in the entertainment and marketing world.
Virgin gets it
The path to a good branding track record, of course, starts with a catchy name for your business. Recently resurfaced on the Core77 discussion boards, reader William Stoneback in 2014 brought up the topic that still finds relevance two years later:
"This question is towards the freelance designers out there... Why did you name your business after yourself, or why did you name your business something else? I see pros and cons to both."
The topic brought up a number of thoughtful responses that perhaps shed some light on how to streamline this frustrating and long-winded process:
Name Vs. Brand
"Branding is all about personality and creating a DNA with meaning. To me, naming the consultancy with your own name had no meaning unless people already know you...a non personal name also has the advantage that it's perceived as more than an individual or personal opinion and can live on if you sell, incorporate or pass on to a new generation. (Though there are obviously examples of firms named for an individual still going when they are gone)."— rkuchinsky
Yes, using your own name is obvious if it is already established or you jump onto the market with a lot of momentum, for example if a designer opens his own shop after heading another design firm successfully for years. I feel that going with a branded name should generally be reserved for firms where several people are involved. Personally, if a designer wants to set up his own freelance shop, I'd recommend going with your own name...
Branded names from young designers looking for freelance work that try to be whimsical or clever just feel contrived and a bit silly to me, in the worst cases just arrogant and ridiculous. No client will refer to the freelancer by his brand name anyway if it is only that one guy. — bepster
Strategies for Properly Naming a Business
Brand naming is just another design process
"The branding process requires the same iterative method as the design process: research, strategy, implementation—rinse and repeat. Without the process, choosing whether you use your name or not your name is akin to choosing blue or red for a product."— iab
Don't forget about copyrights
Hello! For naming a company you have to be careful with the "copyright" of the name. Also it is very helpful to make a business a simple yet catchy name. If you plan to go international, as said before you need to be careful with the translating. There is a case that when a big company was becoming international it could go to one region because the name was a bad word. So it depends too where do you want to expand.—Stephanie_L_Diaz_Llorens
Been through the experience of naming a business? Have your own tips to share? Any sure-fire dos and don'ts? Interesting creative exercises to spark inspiration? Contribute your thoughts in the comment feed below or on the original discussion board!