runway startup


Choosing the name for our brand Apto may have been the longest, debate-richest decision process we’ve had with my associates. I’ve been picking up 10 tips I’ve used myself or learned during this experience, which might help you to accelerate and optimize this process.

1.Define your Goal:

Your activity is a crucial factor to take in account when looking for a name. You’ve probably noticed that businesses such as services or web tools often use names that try to clearly reflect their unique selling proposition by combining keywords.

e.g: Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, CrowdFire…

On the other side, luxury fashion brands or local businesses generally follow different guidelines: abstract or person-related names for the first one, geographical connection for the second.

Nevertheless, these criteria are not a necessary condition for a good chosen name: Twitter being one good counter example.

2.Verify languages:

If your business is intended to clients worldwide, be careful about potential mistranslations that might occur in some languages.

Personally I simply use Google Translation to test names. It’s quick, simple to use and quite reliable in comparison with some other translation websites.

[bctt tweet=”While finding a name for your product, check other languages to avoid mistranslations with a simple check on @Google Translation! #branding”]

3.Make lists:

Make a shortlist of names that sound and look good in your opinion, and write down the reasons why they do. Indeed, you’ll see soon enough that your they share common characteristics in their orthography, the way they sound or the underlying message they convey. You can then narrow your search to names fulfilling those criteria.

4.Check domains:

Obvious point to deal with, but verifying available domains is a step you don’t want to miss once you came up you’re your shortlist. Available domain names in .com will be often hard to find, but don’t worry, there are many possibilities offered to you: domains in .co or .io are good options that digital companies / products like to use. If you are a local company, you might see that your city name is an available extension!

5.Verify Hashtag

Check domains is one thing, but a simple brand-related hashtag will surely simplify your online promotion work.

After creating APTO, and although we checked the word in many languages before without any problem occurring, I soon realized that “apto” is a common Spanish abbreviation for “appartemento”. A long word that Spanish people avoided on twitter or instagram by using the hashtag #apto. This single fact complicates our work on social media, as users tend to use the #apto hashtag with their instagram pictures or tweets, making our search and the use of users generated content a much harder process.

[bctt tweet=”Checking available domains is necessary, but checking potential hashtags will surely simplify your online promotion work. #branding #naming”]

6.Trust first impressions:

You might brainstorm for hours and dig deep to finally find a name, which will eventually not appeal to your ears. Well, that’s already a sign bad enough to put this name out of your shortlist.

But don’t throw it away: good ideas often come from previous bad ones.

7.Try languages:

The name APTO means “adapted” in Latin. This corresponds to our willingness for a short name, with an abstract meaning / pronunciation at first sight which can be exported worldwide, but with a story behind that can be explained, creating a bridge between the brand and the products. Languages can also appeal to a certain segment of customer.

e.g : French-inspired names for luxury / wine / fashion & apparel markets.

8.Do not think democratically:

Names are subjective, and put without context external opinions will fast become a wrong decisional factor in your creative process. A brand name will appeal to consumers when they can easily establish a link with the corresponding logo and products.

So don’t waste your time sending surveys to your entourage asking for their opinions: rather keep your creative team as small as possible, and once the name is chosen, get everyone involved. You are the one who will live with this name everyday, so better be comfortable with it.

[bctt tweet=”Names are subjective: don’t waste your time sending too many surveys & asking your entourage, rather keep your creative team small and involved. #naming #branding”]

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