Choose a Business Name
“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But Nike by another name would be seen on fewer feet.”
Shakespeare (sort of)
What's in a name? Depending on the kind of business you want to start, you can make the case that your name matters very little or it matters a lot.
As we've said before, a brand is so more than a name. The personality, actions, and reputation of your brand are really what give the name significance in the market.
But as a business owner, your company's name is probably one of the first big commitments you have to make. It’ll impact your logo, your domain, your marketing, and trademark registration, if you decide to go that route (it's harder to trademark generic brand names that literally describe what you sell).
Ideally, you want a business name that’s hard to imitate and even harder to confuse with existing players in the market. If you have any plans to expand the product lines you offer down the road, consider keeping your business name broad so that it's easier to pivot than if you chose a brand name based on your product name.
You can use a business name generator, which you can find online to brainstorm some names, or try one (or a combination)of the following approaches:
· Make up a word like Pepsi.
· Reframe an unrelated word like Apple for computers.
· Use a suggestive word or metaphor like Bufferin.
· Describe it literally (caution: easy to imitate) like The Skin Company
· Alter a word by removing letters, adding letters or using latin endings like Tumblr (Tumbler) or Activia.
· Use the initials of a longer name like HBO (Home Box Office)
· Combine two words: Pinterest (pin interest) or Facebook (Face + Book)
· Turn a string of words into an acronym: BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke - in english Bavarian Motor Works)
Since your brand name will also affect the domain/URL of your website, be sure to shop around to see what’s available before you decide. The same applies with checking to see if it is available for business registration. (National Business registry)
It's also a good idea to run your name by a focus group of close people, if for no other reason than to make sure it doesn't have an unintended meaning or is too similar to something else that you might've missed.
Pick Your Brand’s Colors and Fonts
Once you've got a name down, you'll need to think about how you'll visually represent your brand, namely your colors and typography. This will come in handy when you start to build your website.
Choosing Your Colors
Colors don't just define the look of your brand; they also convey the feeling you want to communicate and help you make it consistent across your entire brand. You'll want to choose colors that differentiate you from direct competitors to avoid confusing consumers.
Color psychology isn't an exact science, but it does help to inform the choices you make, especially when it comes to the color you choose for your logo.
It’s important to consider how legible black and white text will be over your colour palette, and how colored text might look over black and white backgrounds. Try using a tool like Coolors to brainstorm colors that work together, grab the hex codes to keep handy, and sift through different shades to find the ones you like.
Choosing Your Fonts
At this point, it's also good to look at fonts you might want to use on your website and other promotional items.
Pick two fonts at most to avoid unnecessarily confusing visitors: one for headings and one for body text (this doesn't include the font you might use in your logo).
You can use Font Pair to browse from a wide selection of fonts that go well together and download them if necessary.
For inspiration, use Stylify.me on your favorite websites to see their visual style at a glance.
Write a Slogan
A catchy slogan is a nice-to-have asset—something brief and descriptive that you can put in your Twitter bio, website headline, business card and anywhere else where you've got very few words to make a big impact.
Keep in mind that you can always change your slogan as you find new angles for marketing—Pepsi has gone through over 30 slogans in the past few decades.
A good slogan is short, catchy, and makes a strong impression. Here are some ways to approach writing a slogan of your own:
· Stake your claim: Death Wish Coffee—"The World's Strongest Coffee"
· Make it a Metaphor: Redbull—"Redbull gives you wings."
· Adopt your customers’ attitude: Nike—"Just do it."
· Leverage labels: Cards Against Humanity—"A party game for horrible people".
· Write a rhyme/jingle: Folgers Coffee: "The best part of wakin' up is Folgers in your cup."
· Describe it literally: Aritzia—"Women's fashion boutique"
Try our Slogan Maker to brainstorm some ideas or play off of your positioning statement to generate some potential one-liners to describe your business.
Design Your Logo
A logo is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about building a brand. And for good reason. It is the face of your company after all, and could potentially be everywhere that your brand exists.
Ideally, you'll want a logo that's unique, identifiable, and that's scalable to work at all sizes from very small to billboard (which is often overlooked).
Consider all the places where your brand's logo needs to exist, from your website to your Facebook Page's profile picture to even the little "favicons" you see in your current browser tab.
If you have a text logo as your Instagram avatar, for example, it'll be almost impossible to read at a very small size. To make your life easier, get a square version of your logo that has an icon element that remains recognizable even at smaller sizes.
Notice how the Walmart logo has both the "sparks" icon and the wordmark, which can be used separately.
The following are some of the different logo types you can choose to help you communicate with designers and find a style that makes sense for your brand. Keep the colors and fonts you chose in mind to make sure they work together with your logo to convey your brand.