Choosing the right name for your franchise can be tricky. It’s the first point of contact that most customers will have with you, and it’s a big decision to make. Here’s how to choose the right name for your business that represents what you’re all about.
Making the decision to start running your own business is a huge one. If you can do that, you can name it, too. You’ve already proven that you’re bold, brave and ready to make decisions. Leadership is one of four key franchisor traits.
When it comes to building your brand as a franchisor or business owner, use the same decisiveness and creativity that led you to where you are today. Don’t let the process intimidate you. Instead, consider it a fun and exciting chance to hone your brand identity and perfectly showcase your ethos from the get-go.
Customers form their first impressions on a brand in 10 seconds or less [ActionCard], so if you can land on the perfect name, you’ll create an instantly positive first point of customer contact.
How to choose the right name for you
Figuring out how to market your franchise should be one of your first steps as a new business owner, no matter the industry you’re operating in. One of the biggest keys to building a brand successfully is consistency, and that’s exactly why you need a business name that fits your marketing strategies, and marketing strategies that fit your business name.
Point Franchise has gathered together six top tips to help you figure out how to choose a name for your business which works on multiple levels:
1. Choose a name that’s memorable and unique
Don’t name your business something cliché or choose one that you’re likely to get bored of in a year’s time. Think hard, and think deeply about what name you choose. Try to land on something stand-out and creative that customers will remember quickly and easily.
72% of the best-performing brands out there have names comprised of made-up words or acronyms [Crowdspring]. Don’t be afraid to get creative and splice things up. The more memorable your name, the more easily you’ll be able to build your brand and market your business.
2. DON’T choose a name so unique that nobody can pronounce it
While uniqueness matters, so does accessibility. Avoid, at all costs, adding any confusion into the mix. When a new customer is trying to discover you, you don’t want them getting lost.
Pick a name which is easy and intuitive to say and write, and you’ll save yourself time making corrections in the long run.
3. Avoid pigeonholing your business
Make sure that the name of your business allows for expansion and growth. While a name that includes a specific location or product might reflect where you’re at currently, it boxes you in five years down the line.
What happens when you want to expand your product range or alter your offerings? What happens when you’re considering franchising in other locations? Give your business the room it needs to adapt and change with time.
4. Do your research
No matter what you do, don’t get over-invested in a name before you’ve done some proper research into it. There’s nothing worse than picking a name, falling in love with it, and then realising that another business or franchise operating in a similar space to yours is already using it.
While using the same name as another business - or even a similar name - isn’t impossible, it does complicate things. Especially when you’re starting out, and you want very much to be able to stand out and make an impact. Research before you commit.
5. Nail the site domain and logo
If you find the perfect name, but can’t figure out your site domain or logo, your branding will be inconsistent and patchy, and your business will suffer.
If you can’t purchase a domain name that matches up exactly with your brand name, it’s not the end of the world. Find creative solutions that still incorporate some element of your name. Avoid domain extensions like “.net” and “.org”; while they might look more exciting, or cost less to purchase, they’re likely to make your business look less professional than its competition. For an established, professional look, stick with “.com” or “.co.uk”.
For your logo, make sure to choose something which isn’t too busy, and which complements your chosen name well. Try to select a signature colour for your brand, as colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80% [Loyola University Maryland].
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6. Ask the three most important sources what they think
Source one? Your target demographic. Consider conducting some market research to see how a few different brand name options are received.
Source two? The people you trust. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on a possible name from anyone that you know will offer you sound, professional advice.
And source three? You! After asking for feedback, spend some time with the name yourself. While it’s important that it’s received well by others, it’s no good if you don’t actually like it. You need to feel proud of your business. Before you commit, make sure you’re 100% happy.
While the right name can make your business popular within a short time, the wrong one can doom your prospects. The right name can create a unique business identity, but the wrong one can mar it, along with your chances of success.
—Richard White, Small Business Trends
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How to market your franchise
Once the name is chosen, your marketing strategies can begin in earnest. You can market in many different ways:
- Public relations
- Online marketing
- Offline marketing
When it comes to marketing, research is your best friend. Luckily, you’re in just the right place to start. Point Franchise’s extensive collection of articles dives into many different marketing topics, including the biggest franchise marketing mistakes to avoid and tips for becoming a marketing pro.
Ideal franchise names
In the UK, there are many different amazing examples of franchises who’ve really hit the spot with their names.
The Shakeaway franchise is one of these. Shakeaway’s name works particularly well as it explains exactly what the business offers - milkshakes to take away. That said, the name is also not so specific that expansion can’t occur. Indeed, Shakeaway now proudly offers its customers a range of products beyond milkshakes, including smoothies, fries and frozen yoghurt desserts.
Another solid example is The Body Shop. The term “body shop” is typically used to refer to a garage or mechanic, quite the opposite of this cosmetics and skincare franchise. But, paired with the upscale and elegant branding that The Body Shop is known for today, the customer expectation is playfully shifted by a familiar-sounding phrase in a brand-new context.
There’s always room to change your mind
While it’s ideal to get the name of your franchise perfect the first time, it’s not the end of the world if it changes down the line. If the name doesn’t work anymore, and it doesn’t serve your business well to keep it, changing it is definitely the right move.
Many successful franchises have changed their names over the years. Here are just three examples:
- Nike. Once upon a time, Nike was Blue Ribbon Sports, a distributor of shoes for a Japanese manufacturer. When the company started making its own shoes in 1971, the brand was refreshed, and the name became Nike.
- Bella Italia. Originally, Bella Italia was known as Bella Pasta. In a December 2002 rebrand, the name was changed.
- Yahoo. Yahoo was once named Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web, after its creators. This long-winded, highly specific name was axed by 1995, and the name Yahoo replaced it.
Enjoy each step of the journey
Starting a business or franchise can be stressful and all-consuming. But it’s also an undeniably exciting time for a new business owner. Try to enjoy every step of the process, as you’re bound to look back fondly on the naming of your business once it’s a thriving worldwide brand.
If starting from scratch isn’t your cup of tea, but you’d love to experience the excitement of running your own business, browse Point Franchise’s wide range of franchising opportunities via our UK franchise directory. You might well find the perfect next step.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©