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In this first of a two-part post, we're going to be talking about how we chose our name as part of our overall branding process. From spider-diagrams to asking friends and family for opinions, we used a few different methods to get it right. You don't want to get this one wrong.

The name game

Choosing a name for your own company is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. In part 1 of this 2 part blog post I will be discussing how we decided on our brand name and what techniques we used to make sure we got it right.

Branding for your own company can be a lot more challenging that creating one for a client; I put this down to the fact that you have an emotional connection to your business and you’re around it every single day. It’s a prized possession that you become attached to and you want it to have the best of everything because it’s yours, you created it.

We were in this same situation and it took us a good while to be happy with our brand name and visual identity. So sit back and I’ll take you through what steps we took to come up with our name!

The right type of name?

When creating a name for your brand it’s important to consider your market and how you want to be perceived by your potential clients. You may want to look professional and well organised as a company, or maybe you like the idea of a more relaxed and laid back business. I would say make sure you know this before you start your branding as it will save you a lot of time.

As recent graduates we wanted our company to reflect our personalities as young and exciting, so we stayed away from anything corporate sounding as it’s just not what we’re about. We had a vision that our brand would be energetic, light hearted and relaxed - so a unique name that didn’t include the usual cliche of words (design, media, creative) was the idea.

Spider time

mindmeisterOnce we had a general idea of how we wanted our business to be perceived we started with the fun stuff, brainstorming names. We used a useful online application called MindMeister which is like a digital spider diagram that helped us plan out and expand on our initial ideas.

To start with we listed simple words that related to us as a business, words such as YOUNG, FRESH, PAIR, PLAY and CREATIVE all popped up on our list as starting points that we would expand upon.

Next, we got busy and our MindMeister map went into over-drive with random words. It’s important not to think too hard when mapping out ideas, it’s amazing how people will sit down and work on a spider diagram for hours at a slow concentrated pace.

I think its best not to concentrate too much and just thrash out anything that comes to your mind; even if you think it won’t work, write it down. We did it this way and it seemed to generate the most random ideas that we would never normally think up. Check out our MindMeister map to see how we got on.

The chosen one

After we had a variety of random names we took a step back and selected a couple that stood out. PixelFlip seemed to be one that caught our eye straight away but we made the mistake of running with it without asking people what they thought. We even started mocking up logo’s for PixelFlip which I’ll post up in part 2 of this blog.

It was only after a couple of weeks that we realised something wasn’t right; it never provoked a response with anyone and opinions were that it was so-so. We also felt that it didn’t really mean anything so it was back to the drawing board for another crack at it!

mindmeister

After some more consideration we decided we wanted a name that portrayed our passion for design and had a meaning behind it. Happycry was next in line; we liked the emotional meaning and sound to it as we always had the idea that our work has emotion and thought behind it. It also provoked response as it was a little different from what people expected; they seemed either to love it or hate it (a bit like marmite) which was fine by us as it gets people talking, which means they’ll remember it!

Feedback?

It’s important to get feedback on your name and to see how people react to it. It’s good to test it out on friends and family and not just once or twice, mention it to them often over the space of a week or so as some names may be growers, we found that with ours.

We had to gage how people reacted to our name over the space of a few weeks as their reaction will probably be similar to that of potential clients. Overall though the response was good. We obviously had a few ‘knockers’ but we don’t mind that, I’d rather be a little different than blend in when it comes to a competitive industry like ours.

We want our blogs to be active and for people to become involved so let us know what you think of our name, like it or not all opinions are welcome. If you have one of your own or any ideas then give us a shout and we’ll let you know what we think.

It’s always difficult creating a name for your own business; as we found, but if you have a name and it generates a response then our opinion is go with it. If you’re trying to create a name, be patient, open minded and test it out on people, because it’s going to be around for (hopefully) a long time!

On the next post i’ll be talking about our design process for the visual branding of Happycry, so until then…

Posted on 30 November 2009

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