The hardest part of our rebrand process, by a mile, was coming up with a new name. Creating a new name for your company or organisation can feel like an impossible task. All the good names are taken. It’s hard to say out loud. What does the URL look like? Honestly, it was the part we spent the most time agonising over.
So, we wanted to make it much easier for you by lifting the curtain on our process. Discover how you can choose a name for your own rebrand.
We live by the power of workshops – they inform every part of our working processes. So inevitably, we were going to carry out a naming workshop.
When we set out to rename our company, there were some key things we kept at the front of our minds that are worth thinking about when it comes to your own brand:
- The name doesn’t have to specifically relate to what you do; it can be tangential
- It’s not just about you; your customers need to engage with it too
- It should reflect your brand values and tone of voice
- It needs to last
With this clear guidance in place, we asked the following question: what words relate to our work? We produced a starting points mind map for everyone to work with –
From there, we wanted to expand our creative thinking. We then asked; what words relate to these words? This produced a word list where we could see all of our ideas at once.
Here are some of the words that cropped up on our list:
As you can see, with lots of different people in the room, the words were varied. To help bring a bit of life to the words we’d chosen and bring them out of abstraction, we wanted to start playing around with them to give them new meaning. From this list, we then thought about the following:
- Add suffixes – e.g. equality
- Add prefixes – e.g. disagree
- Blend words together – e.g. Brangelina, Instagram
- Join words – e.g. Monzo, eventbrite, Hootsuite, Slideshare
- Remove letters – e.g. Flickr, Foundr
From this big, creative thinking we then had a long list of possible choices. After lots of discussion, we wanted to sense check some of our shortlisted answers.
Some important questions to ask about your own brand name include:
- Is the domain name (or sensible variation) available?
- Is the social handle (or sensible variation) available?
- Does the turn of phrase/name mean something rude?
- Is the name registered to another company on Companies House?
To help answer these questions for your own brand, I’d recommend the following tools to guide you along your journey:
- Check for offensive turns of phrase: wordsafety.com
- Search for trademarks: trademarks.ipo.gov.uk
- Search for domain name availability: Google Domains
After this we then did something that is often underestimated during the creative process; we left the ideas in the room and walked away. So often great creative ideas come much later after hours of discussion and ideas sharing. It’s vital to let it sit and breathe. Let your subconscious do some heavy lifting.
Other approaches we used
- Individual brainstorming – Sometimes, it’s important to let people think on their own then regroup
- Late night WhatsApp messages (sorry Greg) – ideas occur at all times of day, lean into it and share your thinking as it happens with others to bounce ideas
- Brainstorm sessions with new teammates – we were fortunate to have a new teammate join us as we started the naming process. Inviting fresh eyes can work wonders.
Some important stuff to remember when choosing your own name
Just to keep you sane and comfort you that, yes, it really is this hard for everyone.
- It takes so much longer than you think – ours took 4 months to arrive at
- Inspiration comes from everywhere – consume as much as you can, from TV to cinema to art to music
- Soundboard with trusted colleagues – we sent a shortlist of four names to some trusted peers to get their feedback – it massively influenced which one we chose
- Talk it out – the best tools to create a new name is talking and reflection. Both need to be given equal amounts of time.
Need a snappy summary to refer back to? Here ya go –
Want some help with coming up with a name of your own?
Talk to our team of branding experts and we’ll unblock your creative thinking. Reach out to our Founder Ruth Hartnoll on firstname.lastname@example.org.