Wondering how to start your business on the right foot? Following on from what’s in a brand name and discussing why you should develop a brand instead of naming a product, it’s time to take another step into product naming and come face to face with your brand and start defining what it means.
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How to start your business the right way
When you begin your journey with your brand, you have six key considerations, each of which has their own purpose within brand creation. You need to know as much as you can about these considerations, and while some of it is assumption, nailing it to structure will help you.
Asking yourself a series of questions and spending a bit of time with a scratch pad is the first step to really working out how to brand your product based on these considerations.
Product Naming and Brand Considerations
Consideration 1: ESTABLISHING WHAT IS APPROPRIATE
- What are the values you want to display to your customer? How important is demonstrating the values you’ve defined?
- Who are your customers? Who are the people who will champion your brand and spread the word about it? What are they into? How do they spend their time? What floats their boat? Really dig into them, and then choose 1 or 2 groups (or personas) you’ve identified as they’ll be your first targets.
- How to start your business without seeming green? Can you put into evidence your skills? How can you share your passion and ideas in a meaningful way? Will people buy your credibility and authority in the field? What content marketing and social media would help with that endeavour?
- What is appropriate for this product? Do people have an expectation of how a product such as this is presented? If so, how far can you move, bend, break and screw with that perception before it is too much? How will they want to be spoken to? What kind of personality do you want your product to have?
- What are the competitors doing? How do they approach things? Do they “own” any words, ideas, sentiments you would like to use? If so, how do you avoid reminding consumers of the present brand in favour of yours? What gaps have they left you can use to your advantage?
Consideration 2: HAVING MARKET APPEAL
- What kinds of emotional connections do expect consumers to make? What kinds of triggers do you expect in your consumers?
- Are you creating a market segment, re-segmenting an existing one or working within an established channel? How to start your business with the right audience firmly in frame can be tricky. What do you know of this market that will help you define the segment better? What can you realistically say about your idea and how original it is?
- How can you find the right customers? Where do they go? What are they usually attracted to? Can you hack that model? How do they currently solve the problem your product fixes?
- Who are the wrong customers? What makes them the wrong customer? How do you avoid their attention? Who is likely to sabotage your branding efforts?
- How do you tickle the imagination? What sorts of devices would tickle this market’s fancy? Are you dealing with a visual group of people? Do they like writing? What kinds of things would make them feel special?
- How do you create a situation of discovery for this crowd? Are there any special considerations you need to keep in mind about how this market would approach a product or the process of discovery?
Consideration 3: BECOMING MEMORABLE AND UNIQUE
- What is it about your product that makes you special? What is your unique selling point(s)?
- Every product or service has been created for a reason- what’s yours? What problem do you solve? What does you product make better? What is it about your product that people will attach to and remember when the time is right?
- What is your story? Why have you been founded? Is there something special about how your product is formed or the reason it exists? What is it that consumers can potentially attach to related to your creation? Think of the when, what, why, who and how to start a business like yours and incorporate that into the marketing.
- What resonates with you about your product? What kinds of words, associations, emotions and ideas do you like out of the questions you’ve asked yourself about your brand?
Once you’ve gotten to the 3rd stage of development, you’ll have a lot of scribbles everywhere that need to be qualified. You may even have a name and tagline at this point, or you could have a few choices that you feel strongly about.
This isn’t brainstorming per se
Take a fairly hard look at what you have. Break down what you have written down and look for patterns.
Lose the whole “every idea is valid” 70’s hippy brainstorm ethos. It isn’t and so you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Working out how to start a business on the right foot isn’t about pleasing a committee or playing games to be cool.
There are dumb answers and they will fall out of your brain, but capture them on a separate piece of paper designed to get them out of the way, and not clogging up decent words from being born.
ONLY collect what really sparks a connection in you and leads you down a further channel of discussion that gets a lot of head nodding happening. Constantly reassess what you have in your lists and cross out any that are over used or don’t speak to you. Circle those that make you feel good about the.
Don’t be too strict about what you keep but remember it has to be valuable to make the shortlist, otherwise you’ll just train yourself to collect words and not words of value.
Include scribbles about the words, thoughts and feelings that are over-used if they really do work. Sometimes a Thesaurus will be a best friend, sometimes it won’t be.
If you find that you are tapping into a certain emotional, look at metaphors for the same thing. Draw on fables, stories, allegories and work through a process of crafting something you feel emotionally connected with.
You have to own the concept and craft the story, but don’t always expect immediate magic or for things to be sorted within one session. Brands are usually at their best when they have meaning, or grow to have meaning, so take a shortlist and look over it for a week or so. Play with the words. Keep saying out loud your favourites- and always keep your customers in mind.
Product naming is like naming songs, children or pets. Something somewhere will click and it will feel right. Be ready for that moment, but don’t push it blindly.
Next, you have to see if the concepts you have fit with what you want to do. In the next instalment, we take your brand short list and talk about how to develop a future proof brand.
Wondering how to start your business on the right branding foot? Get in touch with me today!
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