Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark

Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark

Choosing an effective trademark means a trademark that's unique. Instead of trying to find a word or two words that sum up your entire brand, product and values, why not focus on capturing one single essential element? We always recommend that our clients start with an idea, or an image, and then try to create different versions of this idea or image, using various different brand name types. The common danger zones here include: Single English words Power words -- like Force, United, Omni and Icon Symbolic words -- like Bridge, Spring, Sage, Rocket But just because you can’t use one stand-alone word doesn’t mean you can’t integrate these words into something more original. When you start to break this down, you can then pull out a lot of different words and ways to express the same image and feelings. Or you may realize that you liked "Heritage" because of its classic style and the opportunity it offers to align your brand with other desirable ones in your industry. So, go the Squatty Potty route, because it's important to set boundaries early on in the process, based upon factors such as what your company values are and who your target audience is. Your goal is to create a name and trademark (they're technically different because the trademark protects the name), plus a logo and tagline that all come together to create a truly powerful brand statement. Your name type and style offer clues about the character of your company, which can be brought together in one clear image through clever design, logos and taglines. If you follow a structured process of starting with the end in mind, brainstorming unique name ideas and exploring diverse naming types, there is no reason why you won't find a strong trademark-able brand name that will resonate with your audience and help you succeed as fast as you'd like.

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With 6.7 million trademarks out there — sigh — it’s getting hard to find something unique. Here’s what to do instead.

Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark

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Due to the sheer volume of new businesses and products emerging year after year, finding a snappy name for your company or brand that has not already been snapped up has become difficult.

A recent Harvard Law Review study highlighted the upwards of 6.7 million U.S. trademark applications (registered 1985 to 2016) that had been made over the last three decades and suggested that we might soon be at the point of actually running out of trademark options.

Dealing with thousands of clients, ourselves, we have realized that being the “on demand” generation has changed our consumer expectations. We expect everything to be delivered “the next day,” and content to be available at the click of a button. Unfortunately, however, in the trademarking world, such instantaneity isn’t going to fly. If a name in your industry is already trademarked, it is off the table. End of story.

But this in itself can be seen as a positive challenge: Be more creative.

So, to save disappointment and stress when you’re developing a name, here are four tips that might help you on your journey to find a strong mark that can be registered and will help you reach your business and communication goals:

Be unique.

Choosing an effective trademark means a trademark that’s unique. With upwards of 6.7 million trademarks out there, and only 171,476 words in the English dictionary, you need to start thinking outside the box.

Instead of trying to find a word or two words that sum up your entire brand, product and values, why not focus on capturing one single essential element? Often, this means looking past your product or business model, and at your brand attributes, values and customer experience.

We always recommend that our clients start with an idea, or an image, and then try to create different versions of this idea or image, using various different brand name types. Get your team together, get a white board and some markers — preferably non-permanent ones — and then get to work!

From visual descriptions, to compound phrases, to plays on words, to foreign phrases, the possibilities you brainstorm will get your creative juices flowing, and create some interesting — and terrible — ideas, which in turn will be food for thought for other ideas.

For example, Apple, as a technology brand, aimed to disrupt a market filled with corporate names like IBM, HP and Microsoft. Instead of choosing a name which fit its products, the company Steve Jobs built instead went down the road of concentrating its focus on UX and customer experience.

Apples are organic fruits which all of us have held in our hand, had in our lunchbox, picked from a tree or baked in an apple pie. Apples are linked to everyday lives, and to normal people.

As such, Apple chose a trademark and logo which could fit into people’s daily lives and become part of their routines. Voilà!

Know the danger zones.

With so many trademarks in existence, the chances of being able to use a single recognizable English word are becoming slim. The common danger zones here include:

  • Single English words
  • Power words — like…

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