What’s in a name?
As a marketing tool, your startup company’s name should align with your marketing strategy. At the same time, legal considerations impact your options during the naming process. The following seven steps will help you navigate those issues and create a strong name for your US startup company.
- Positioning statement
If you have not yet done so, draft a positioning statement for your company. To be effective, your positioning statement should identify your company’s:
- Target customer
- Market segment
- Practical benefit for the customer
- Differentiating features
- Emotional benefit for the customer
Don’t confuse the positioning statement with an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is communicated externally and can have legal repercussions. The positioning statement, on the other hand, is strictly for internal use, so you can be aspirational without concern for legal ramifications. Despite those differences, both your elevator pitch and your positioning statement will likely contain at least two keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Brand personality
After you have formulated a concise positioning statement, breathe life into it by developing a brand personality. As the embodiment of how you wish the market to perceive your brand, your brand personality should have distinguishing character traits. To get started, decide whether any of these adjectives describe the personality of your brand:
Accomplished, authentic, carefree, clever, cocky, competent, cosmopolitan, creative, diligent, down-to-earth, empathic, energetic, enigmatic, folksy, fun-loving, kind, methodical, naïve, outgoing, pragmatic, reliable, shady, shy, sincere, sophisticated, spontaneous, stoic, tenacious, vivacious, wise, woke.
Limit yourself to the three strongest characteristics, thereby caricaturing your brand personality in a way that can easily be described to internal stakeholders and agencies.
- Communication Plan
Determine the media you will use to get your marketing messages to your target customers.
- If your website and social media are the primary platforms for communicating your messages, inclusion of a keyword in your company name may support your SEO strategy.
- If your communication plan focuses instead on other types of digital media (eg, email), broadcast media (eg, TV and radio) or print media (eg, pamphlets and newspapers), a catchy empty vessel name can also be effective.
- Name ideation
Now review your positioning statement, brand personality and communication plan as you start thinking of name ideas. Although some people have a knack for name ideation (eg, Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons), uncreative individuals can also create strong names if they understand the principles of trademark law.
Even without submitting a trademark application, your startup company’s name may automatically enjoy limited trademark protection in the geographic region where your company conducts business. Registering a trademark for your company name, however, conveys additional advantages:
- Nationwide exclusivity of your trademark
- Minimized risk that you are infringing another company’s trademark
- Minimized risk that counterfeit products (that improperly bear your mark) will be imported into America
- Easier registration of your trademark in other countries
- Better outcomes in infringement lawsuits (by making …read more
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