These days, we often turn to the ‘hive mind’ – the collective internet brain – to solve a problem and engage with our audience; it’s like instant market research. This is one of the joys of where user-generated content and the gig economy have brought us, where a brand can get specific insights from the very people it needs to engage, directly.
The hive mind doesn’t just provide necessary answers. Crowdsourcing is a very effective way to create brand ambassadors from the ground up; it attaches a level of exclusivity to your brand; it builds trust with the public who see a transparency, an openness and a willingness to listen. These are very powerful and valuable traits in the spheres of digital content and social media.
If you’re stuck for ways to add value to your offering, why not ask the people that it matters to? Write a testimonial, find funding, or even come up with a name.
So, what’s in a name? Well, from a marketing perspective, quite a lot. And one company that knows quite a bit about the marketable importance of a good brand name is Squadhelp, a platform where brands can appeal to a panel of experts to find them a name, slogan or logo, which they do through an internal contest.
In today’s blog, Squadhelp Director of Marketing, Grant Polachek tells Southerly why finding the right brand name makes a lasting impression and can provide insights about your audience that will inform your marketing strategy no end.
If your brand is modern and energetic, you want your first impression to make that statement
Why is a good brand name, slogan or logo important?
Your name, slogan and logo are your first impression. Even before someone knows what you offer, they’re going to see your name on the sign above your door or your logo and tagline in print. Think about this; you’re sitting at a restaurant awaiting the arrival of your blind date. When they walk through the door, you’re going to look them over. You’re going to notice how they’re dressed, how they walk, how they sit. You’re going to remember the first thing they say.
If you spend more than a moment choosing what you wear on dates or to business outings, if you’re conscious about delivering a firm handshake, or if you’ve ever gotten your teeth whitened, then you’ll understand the importance of a great name and logo.
While you can change a first impression over time, it’s easier and more cost effective just to do it right in the first place. If your brand is modern and energetic, you want your first impression to make that statement. If your brand is more serious and professional, you want to put that across upfront. In order to be seen as fun and light, modern and techy, you need a name that encapsulates that idea.
Shareability is another reason a good name is important. Especially for social media; you want your name to be easy to spell, easy to say, and easy to remember.
What, in your opinion, defines a good brand name?
Probably the most important aspect of a good name is alignment. A good business, product or book, for example, is unique and valuable. Good branding personifies and expresses that uniqueness and value.
A good name aligns with your brand. It’s like the curb appeal of a house. At the end of the day, someone buying a home wants a great space that they can live in. So the inside of the house is really most important. But speak to any realtor and they tell you that the curb appeal is going to do wonders in helping you sell your home. Your name is your curb appeal. You want it to say, “Come in”.
Today, perhaps more than ever, a huge branding frustration involves all the great ideas you must simply throw out. I’ve found dozens of great names, but all the URLs are already taken. That’s one of the things that brings a lot of people over to Squadhelp. It’s also critical to enlist the proper support to avoid Trademark issues.
Shareability is another reason a good name is important
What sort of companies do you find predominantly seek your services?
Honestly, there are a number of different types of companies that love our crowdsource naming and branding platform. We’re primarily working with start-ups and smaller businesses that are looking for a great name or logo, but don’t have a huge amount of excess money. But struggling to find a good name is a universal problem, and we’re offering a completely different and unique solution. Even Fortune 500 companies that do have the money to hire a big naming agency are trying us, and are happy with the results.
Primarily, people come to us for help with their business, sub-business, products, mobile apps, documentaries, and books.
What kind of challenges do companies face in terms of branding? Are all the good names taken?
It’s easier than ever to start a business. There is so much great information, so many affordable tools, and so many great ways to reach niche markets.
The biggest challenges are creativity and sheer grit. Do you have the creativity to come up with a great business idea and do you have the determination to see it through?
There are so many excellent potential names still out there. Sure, some of the more obvious ones are gone, but that just means you’re going to have to put in a little more effort and hard work to get something great.
The biggest challenges are creativity and sheer grit
How does brand identity come into play – what sort of aspects do namers focus on?
We have found that the best names are ones that capture just one or two important brand aspects. We know that there are plenty of things about your business that are important to you and that you want to convey to all of your potential customers, but it’s just not possible.
Some of the aspects you should consider are the benefits, personality, story and value proposition of your brand. Out of all these possibilities, you need to choose one or two aspects to capture in your brand.
Aside from cost savings, what are the other reasons this sort of crowdsourcing works to get the best result?
We’ve put a lot of effort into the naming process. Where many companies are all about connecting you to the crowd, we really focus on delivering an agency-quality process, full of ideas, brainstorming, realisations, iteration and the like.
People who follow the process and combine it with the unmatched creativity of our expansive community nearly always find a good, strong name. The biggest benefit of Squadhelp is being able to rapidly and effectively brainstorm with anywhere from 100-150 participants within just 3-5 days.
Some of the aspects you should consider are the benefits, personality, story and value proposition of your brand
There are times when a company brainstorms with the Squadhelp community and they start to uncover things about their business that they didn’t even think of: new ideas, new angles and even a new focus. Working with us in this way helps them think differently about the brand and their business and come up with some great and truly amazing ideas that may not be specifically tied to their name, but are important to their future.
Squadhelp is more than just the name. It’s about providing an experience where you are going to learn about what you do like, what you don’t like, and how people are reacting to what you’re saying about your proposed idea.
Working with us in this way helps them think differently about the brand and their business
What’s been a notable success?
Nearly every contest that we have is a success, but here’s a simple story that I just love:
One of our creatives, who had been participating with Squadhelp for a while and won several contests, sent us a note that said something like: “I was driving to a friend’s house, and I looked over and saw one of my winning names plastered on a building. It was the same tagline they told us about, and I had no idea that they were even located near me.”
Finally, what top tips would you give a company without a name or looking to strengthen its brand?
1. Understand your business. We call this a statement of purpose; others call it a value proposition or USP. It’s super important. You have to know why you exist, why you’re unique, and why you’re going to be able to get people excited in a new way. Once you know this, you’re going to need to write a one-to-two sentence explanation that you can easily give to anyone.
2. Understand your brand. Your tone, your business, the one or two things that are the most important part of your first impression – these elements are your brand. You want to be able to share this brand, and once you can you’re well on your way to a great name.
3. Get help. This is especially crucial in the brainstorming process. You might ask a group of friends, or recruit some colleagues, partners and other professionals to gather in a conference room. Having a team there to help you is going to be a whole lot better and much easier.
4. Validate and verify your name. Check the URL and make sure it’s available. Then make sure that the name and other identifying information you have is free of trademark infringement. Also confirm that your name aligns with your target audience through testing.