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Dave Murray

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

I’ve been wanting to write a blog on naming your own gutsy brand for months. In fact, I did write one! And as I was putting the finishing touches on it, I decided – in a fit of brilliance – to delete it from the official Mayniax Branding iPad, thinking I could recover it from the iCloud. And I couldn’t.

And my business partner, Vanessa, rolled her eyes.

When Vanessa's eyes roll, Ann Arbor shakes...

And now that you’re all laughing at me, it’s time to present:

5 Tips for Naming Your Gutsy Brand!

Tip 1: Don’t Worry About Putting What You Do in Your Brand Name

“But Dave, you guys have ‘Branding’ in your name?” I know, but the name everyone remembers is “Mayniax.” And we’re building it so that, in the future, we can remove “Branding” from the name – like Apple did when they removed “Computer” from theirs. Don’t worry, there’s always a plan.

For examples of not putting what you do in your brand name, think of all the brand names you can. Hell, I’ll even list a few: Target, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Budweiser, Exxon, Apple, Macy’s, Sears, Walmart, Hewlett Packard, Google, Microsoft, Toyota, Disney, Amazon, McDonald’s, etc. In fact, you can click on over to Interbrand’s list of the best global brands, here. We all know what most of them are because they’re brands we’ve all heard of, but not a single one has its product or service in its name – unless you count the “Cola” part of Coca-Cola.

And besides, saying what you do is what your tagline’s for.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Generic Words

Al Ries, who co-authored several influential marketing books – including Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – talks about never using generic names for your brand(s). In fact, he flat out tells us to keep “nature” out of brand names.

When we say “generic,” we mean to stay away from words that can have a lot of different meanings. Words like: systems, solutions, services, business, group, tech, good, stuff, studios, etc. All of those words can mean different things to different people.

Long-time readers of this blog know the name of Vanessa’s and my first brand: Good Stuff Studios. Seriously, I don’t think it gets much more generic than that. And that’s why we decided to change it.

Because, like Al Ries says, “If ya got a bad name, change it.”

Tip 3: Do Use a Made-up Word

We have three reasons for this one!
1. It’s easy to trademark a word that’s never been used before
2. You can define that word, so it’s possible to make it stand for the category, like Kleenex is to tissue
3. Google loves a branded search!

So how do ya make up a name?

Telescoping

Telescoping is one way to give a shot. That’s when you mash some generic words together to see what sticks. Here are some quick examples: Microchip + Software = Microsoft, Federal + Express = FedEx, or Cocaine + Kola = Coca-Cola. Yeah, Coca-Cola used to be made with cocaine.

Because nutrition.

Anagrams

Coming up with anagrams is another way to name your gutsy brand. Unfortunately, using online anagram finders give you words already in use. So try coming up with your own using nouns, verbs, and adjectives you think of when you think of yourself and / or your target market.

Spell a real word differently

You may have heard of a little internet search company called Google. Well, that’s actually a re-spelling of the word “googol,” which is a mathematical term. And you don’t want me discussing mathematical terms. Another example we hope springs to your mind is Mayniax, which is obviously a re-spelling of “maniacs.”

The trick to this one is making sure people can’t possibly mispronounce the new spelling. When we were coming up with Mayniax, we played with several ways to spell it. One of which was “Maniax,” which would’ve been pronounced all kinds of ways.

Mayniax Branding toying with "Maniax" Branding

Tip 4: Keep it Short

Naming your gutsy brand, like everything else branding-wise, falls under the heading of simplicity.

If we look back at Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2016 rankings, We’ll see the longest name, character-wise, is Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with 26. But, since everyone says “HP,” – even though it’s technically not that “HP” – we’ll give this to Johnson & Johnson, with 17 characters – and we don’t recommend using ampersands because they can’t go in your URL. The longest one syllabically is Tiffany & Company, but since everyone calls them Tiffany’s, we’re giving this one to Johnson & Johnson, as well.

Something to keep in mind is the aforementioned brands were created a long time ago, when there was less competition, and when the average human’s attention span was longer than that of a goldfish. So keep it as short as possible, with as few syllables as possible. That will help keep it memorable.

Tip 5: Don’t Use Acronyms

As mentioned before, our first brand was Good Stuff Studios – and if you haven’t done so, yet, read our full story here.

What I didn’t mention before, is that some friends of mine and myself started Good Stuff Studios before Vanessa and I even met! And it was up to yours truly to design the logo.

And the logo I designed was a huge GSS, with a tiny Good Stuff Studios underneath it.

Mayniax Branding - The really old and acronym-y Good Stuff Studios logo

The problem with GSS is it’s also the acronym for the “Good Samaritan Society.” While I’m not exactly the devil, I doubt anyone would confuse me with being a member of said society. The point is, all the acronyms are taken. And the ones that aren’t, violate Tip 4.

Besides, it’s much easier to remember a real word than a combination of letters.

Here’s a re-cap of our five tips for naming your gutsy brand!

Tip 1: Don’t put what you do in your brand name
Tip 2: Don’t use generic words
Tip 3: Do use a made-up word
Tip 4: Do keep it short
Tip 5: Don’t use acronyms

And as a reminder, don’t play with technologies you don’t understand. Because if your business partners are like mine, you can actually hear their eyes rolling at you.

Stay gutsy, gang!

The world is broken, and we believe only entrepreneurs can fix it. But they’ll never get that chance if no one cares about their brands. So, with a little bit o’ nuttiness, a little bit o’ research, and a lotta bit o’ guts, it’s our job to make people care.

Wanna set up a happy fun time chat with Ann Arbor’s favorite branding team? Then click here, fill out the form, and we’ll get back to ya!