Coming up with a satisfying and lasting brand name is a walk in the park for some language professionals, while for others it can become their worst nightmare. To avoid any cold sweats or sleepless nights, we’ve gathered a few tips to help you find an effective name for your language brand.
BEFORE YOU START
1. Know who you are
It all starts with the basics: know thyself! If you haven’t had a thorough brainstorming session about your language business, now is the perfect time. As a brand, you need to define your own identity and clarify important things like values, goals, mission, tone of voice, and other brand cornerstones.
In our previous blog post, we talked about the 5 essential questions you need to ask yourself to define your language brand identity. Have a read here and start brainstorming!
2. Know your audience
Don’t make your naming process all about yourself. Think about the characteristics and expectations of your clients. Different audiences have different interests, behaviours and needs. You want your brand name to attract your audience and compel them to learn more about your business.
Are your clients big fish looking for a certain profile? Do they work in the creative industry and expect something outside the box? If you work with lawyers and law firms, maybe you should avoid fancy names and go with something more straightforward. A good brand name always resonates with its audience.
Knowing your audience will also be decisive in two other aspects:
The language of your name: where’s your audience based? Which language will your clients identify best with?
The cultural meaning behind the words: does your name carry any negative or inappropriate connotations in your audience’s culture?
Ideally, you should aim for a balance between what works for you and what works for your audience to create an immediate connection.
Again, have a look at our previous article on the most important questions that will help define your language brand identity and work on the profile of your buyer persona(e).
GET TO WORK
3. Describe what you do
If you want to name your business, you should start by describing it. As a language professional, you sell services. Or perhaps also products, like webinars and courses. What specifically do you do? Which languages do you work with? Who and where are your target clients? Precisely which services do you offer?
You could also make a list of all the traits that define your business. Don’t forget about your audience: ask yourself how you want people to see your language business and include those ideas in the list.
You could also write your mission statement, which would help to delve deeper into your core business identity. Not sure how to do that? Check out this Hubspot article for a few inspiring examples.
4. Decide on the type of name
To facilitate the creative process, you can also start by deciding what kind of name you envisage. According to a few branding experts, there are 7 main name categories:
Descriptive: names that describe your services. They are functional and straightforward.
Poetic: names that evoke a certain experience or mood. These are usual more metaphorical and original.
Invented: names made up by invented words. These names tend to express the brand’s personality strongly.
Lexical: wordplay names. They are usually clever, witty, and creative.
Acronymic: names composed of initial letters of words. They may look functional, but are usually hard to remember.
Cultural: names that evoke a brand’s geographical, ethnic, historical or cultural trait (a rather interesting category for language services).
Personal: names made up using the business owner’s name. Although distinctive, they usually fail to convey a more meaningful brand message.
Above all, think about what you want your brand name to convey. A specific trait? Your languages? An area in which you specialise? Let your name tell a story.
5. Make it short, simple and memorable
The golden trio for an effective brand name! Choosing a short, simple and memorable name, you increase the chances of clients recognising and remembering your brand.
This is especially important when you work with international clients that may not speak your native language. For example, if you’re a Chinese interpreter working with European clients, make sure your name is readable, easy to say and easy to spell. Again, thinking about your audience is paramount.
6. Ask for opinions
After you come up with several brand name options, show your list to a few family members and friends. They can help you choose the best, point out details you’ve missed, and make useful suggestions.
Consider also showing your list to fellow colleagues from the same country/region as your audience. There’s no one better to tell you what works best and to spot mistakes, cultural discrepancies or other issues.
TEST YOUR CHOICE
7. Check whether your choice is visually attractive
Another criterion to help you narrow down your options is graphic beauty! Print the name(s) to get a feel of their visual quality. Do they look good visually? Do you see any graphic potential to explore at the logo design stage?
8. Make sure your brand name is available
Although seemingly obvious, it’s always good to be reminded that, whatever brand name you choose, you should confirm it’s legally and commercially free. You won’t be able to keep an already trademarked name, nor do you want a name that’s already taken (especially by someone from the same industry). The goal is to create a unique brand with a unique name and vision.
Your brand name should also be the same as your domain name, so don’t forget to check whether that domain name is available.
9. Let it simmer for a few days
When you finally have a winner, don’t think about it for a few days. This is something we always advise our clients to do with both brand names and logo designs.
The idea is to assess your reaction when you look at your brand name choice again. Are you still happy with your decision, or are you not so sure now that some time has gone by? Do you see yourself using the same name in a few years’ time?
Deciding on a brand name for your language business may take some time, but the sky is the limit. Remember you can also craft a tagline to support your brand name and help convey your message.
If it turns out you can’t use the name you’ve chosen (perhaps it’s already trademarked or doesn’t receive positive feedback from others), don’t be discouraged! Repeat the process until you’re totally happy with your choice.
You’ll want to end up with something:
meaningful with personality
memorable and easy to say and spell
appropriate to your business and audience
unique and different to your competition
legally and commercially available
long-lasting and future-proof
Although choosing a suitable brand name is important, it won’t determine the long-term success of your business. You still need to develop a strong and distinctive visual identity and a branding strategy.