Your name matters to you. What people call you matters. You want to be called by the name that’s you. The one you’ve built your personal brand around. The same goes for a company name. The name you choose for your business has power, so don’t fast-track a name because it seems easy or less important.

When it comes to naming – or renaming – a corporate identity, a range of styles awaits your exploration, but not every naming strategy works for every company.

Names can be descriptive, associative, evocative, arbitrary or abstract. Descriptive names are easily understood by outsiders but are not particularly special or legally protectable. Thus, they can compartmentalize a company in a way that stunts future growth. Arbitrary or abstract names are more distinct and protectable but depend on a descriptor and/or a commitment to messaging to help others “get it.”

Finding that just-right mix for your corporate identity can be challenging but having an outside partner consult you through the journey gives you an edge. You gain a fresh perspective and dedicated expertise to develop an unbiased brand and naming strategy that can truly resonate with your target audience because every decision about the naming strategy should be consistent with your brand strategy. This means you should look for a partner with a strong strategic approach. Here at Addison Whitney, we’ll work with you to align your corporate identity with your position, purpose and story to help you determine which direction is right for you.

Which naming strategy is right for your corporate identity – meaning more or meaning less?

When meaning less means more for your corporate identity

For new companies or those seeking a rebrand, made-up names that leave some meaning to the imagination are powerful. They’re legally protectable, and they can be more memorable and provocative, allowing your company to stand out in the marketplace and enable brand awareness and recall. And, if you have plans to expand in the future, this naming strategy will remain relevant because you’ve left room for flexibility.

Perhaps a rebrand isn’t what you need. Instead, as an established corporate identity, you’ve found that you’re in a position to expand, specialize in a new area or spotlight a new department or team. What are your options?

As a spin-off, i.e., a completely new entity with a specific focus but still somehow connected to the original brand, a completely new name is the way to go. You can explore options on the abstract, made-up side of the spectrum even while incorporating the essence of the parent brand. You’re forming a whole new entity instead of simply recharacterizing the existing one which opens the door to feature and market a new area of capability. This allows you to potentially capture a new target audience without alienating your current customer base. Let the name stand on its own and make its mark.

When meaning more means more for your corporate identity 

In addition to spin-offs, a recent trend we’ve advised clients through is strategically identifying internal business units – specialized teams with a noteworthy objective. When naming these internal business units, we generally advise a naming strategy that allows a name to be on the more descriptive side of the spectrum. Chances are, no trademark protection is being pursued and little or no budget is allotted for marketing and advertising activities to help educate the audience on what the group does, let alone what its name means.

Naming internal business units can benefit from more cohesion and improve employee culture, especially after an acquisition or merger. The name can build a sense of pride and belonging amongst colleagues while inspiring stakeholders’ confidence in your organization.

Preparing to name your corporate identity

Selecting a name for your corporate identity is only one step to building a corporate brand, and it’s not just a box to be checked without intention. It need not even be the first step – consider having your brand positioning and other brand strategy elements in place first, then move to identifying the right naming strategy for your brand. From there, you can develop the perfect name that will become synonymous with your brand’s purpose and promise.

If you’re looking for a partner who will work closely with you to strategically develop a meaningful (or meaningless) name for your new corporate brand or rebrand, spin-off or internal business units, Addison Whitney has the enthusiasm, experience and expertise to help you bring your brand to life — from its architecture to its corporate identity. Let’s schedule a discovery meeting today to get your brand’s story started.