Have you heard of these companies that famously changed their names? BackRub became Google. Research in Motion (RIM) became Blackberry. Confinity became PayPal. Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike. And Matchbox became Tinder!
The name of a brand is what will inspire the first impression formed in the first 10 seconds that a prospect hears it. Haven’t we all heard of a store and wanted to check it out just because it had a cool name? And haven’t we all heard of a company and felt that the name didn’t quite match the product it sells?
A name, like a logo, is far more consequential than it may appear. Which is why it is important to pick a good name for your e-commerce store – one that resonates with the brand itself and also engages people in those first 10 seconds!
Here are some basic guidelines that could help your brainstorming sessions when you’re looking for the right names for your store.
- Brevity, simplicity and charm
Humans develop specific attitudes and memories towards words without even realising it. These could even turn into positive or negative connotations. This is how infants learn a language, and what informs the way a person or community speaks. Marketers, advertisers, writers and anybody trying to convince you of something, already know this, and use this subtle art to phrase things in a way that persuades you in a certain direction. So remember this when you are picking a name for your store. People will have formed an opinion about your brand just from hearing its name. You want to keep the name simple and short, so that it’s easy to digest and remember and to look for online; but you also don’t want it to be too plain.
For instance, let’s say you plan to start a bakery and specialise in fondant cakes. You want the name of the store to convey this, but you don’t want to sound plain and square. A name like Cake Land may convey the idea of cakes but sounds conventionally dull! Moreover, it only acknowledges cakes and disregards the other baked goods you sell. Now look at the name Oven Stories. It clearly communicates the idea of baked goods, without saying it too directly. Moreover, it has a winsome sound; it conveys a cosy feeling of old stories around the oven, or the feeling that each baked item has a special story in it.
Secondly, don’t accidentally be redundant. Everyone feels relieved when they hear that Facebook was almost named The Facebook. Luckily, ‘the’ was dropped and now it’s a crisp ‘Facebook.’ Just think about that for a moment to see how different the name would have sounded!
Get creative but don’t make it so unfamiliar that it almost ends up sounding strange. Either people with phonetically approximate the sound to something familiar in their native tongue, or worse, they will forget you and move on to your rival.
- The name reflects the niche
The name doesn’t have to explicitly reveal what you sell; however, it’s good if it gave people an inkling about what you are. Let’s look at the point made earlier about the cake shop name, Oven Stories. It suggests baked goods while retaining a charming name. Let’s say you call yourself Eden. People will assume you are a nursery for plants. Names like Lilliput or Peek-a-boo would suggest something to do with children and babies, possibly clothing and child paraphernalia. Literally speaking, tinder is material used to kindle fires, and sparks are what you need on a dating app. So the connection isn’t obvious but it doesn’t require too much to put two and two together.
People nowadays don’t seem to have the time to look you up in your About Page. They want to know immediately what you are. When you are an e-commerce store, in competition for attention among a zillion other e-commerce stores in the same industry, you want people to make the association with your brand name and products as quickly as possible, to avoid having to explain too much. Because, generally speaking, you need their attention first before you can explain yourself; so if you are trying to explain yourself before getting their attention, well, nobody is really listening.
- Creativity, originality & distinctiveness
You may believe that by following points 1 and 2, your options for names become quite limited. That’s not true at all. It’s all about bringing a balance between the three points. Having a creative name does go a long way in associating your brand with the element of fun and pleasure in the minds of the shoppers. And if they believe that’s what your brand is, it’s more likely they are going to stick around to find out!
On a soberer note, if you accidentally pick a name that is the same or similar to a pre-existing brand’s name will land you in a fine kettle of fish. You have to check before you register your name if you don’t want unpleasant meetings with somebody else’s lawyers. You may think that big brands don’t bother with small fry, but that’s where you are quite wrong. A small but popular tapas bar in India came under fire for bearing the name Zara, which is the same as the global Spanish fashion retailer. Well, they lost the case and changed their name to Sera!
So remember, a simple and crisp name doesn’t mean an insipid name.
So nail it in the beginning so you don’t have to go through the trouble of first changing it later, and then bringing all your patrons up to speed with the new name!