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Advice > Articles > Naming Your Brand

Naming Your Brand

BUILDING YOUR YOUR BRAND IDENTITY BY NAMING YOUR BAND

 

By Bobby Borg. Copyright © 2012. WWW.BOBBYBORG.COM 

 

Branding deals with presenting clear, unique, relevant, believable, and consistent messages about your organization with the intention of exceeding fans’ expectations and leaving a long-lasting positive image in their minds. Everything your company does can affect the way customers perceive you—from the identity it puts forth in its musical style, performances, and songwriting, to its logo, personality, and look.

 

Naming your band is an important tool to help build your brand identity. A name is what is typically stamped on all of your products and services (like records, T-shirts, and patches) as well as your websites, business cards, bass drum heads, and cases). Your name, in part, is how people will come to recognize, request, and discuss you among friends, and it is what will trigger a series of emotions, memories, and associations stored in fans’ minds whenever they hear or see it.  

 

A great name alone won’t make or break a band (great music, a killer performance, and an engaging attitude are key ingredients) but it can certainly help attract the attention of your intended target audidnce, cause them to check you out, and form a positive image in ther minds. In an extremely crowded marketplace where millions of bands are trying to get noticed, does settling on a name that is hard to pronounce, spell, and is seeingly meanlingless make sense? You decide.

 

What follows are ten useful tips — from reflecting on the right mood and imagery to creating a name that’s easy to spell. Let’s check them out.

 

1) Reflect the Right Mood and Imagery 

A company brand name should reflect the mood and imagery that fits with your vision and suggests the types of products and services the intended audience should expect. This will help fans to immediately visualize what you are all about. Kaskade was chosen to represent the popular American DJ/producer Ryan Raddon, after he saw a picture of a waterfall, which fit perfectly with the continuous, flowing sounds and powerful textures he creates when performing at raves around the world.


2) Make Your Personal Name Hip, Simple, Memorable, and Unique 

If you’re compelled to use your personal name (especially if you’re the founder of your own company), just be prepared to make it more hip, simple, memorable, and unique if needed. Will.I.Am of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas was born William James Adams, Jr., but he used only his first name, separated into three words, as a more hip and creative alternative for the stage.

 

3) Tell What Your Company Does Within Your Name 

Another method for choosing a brand name is to say precisely what your company does. Dave Mathews Band is a name that implies that there is one leader, Dave Mathews, but that we can also expect—with some flexibility—the same group or band of musicians working on every recording and performance. DJ Quick, MC Ren, and even The Boston Symphony Orchestra are other examples of companies that just tell as it is.  

 

4) Create a Name That’s Adaptable

Your name should be short enough (or look cool when turned into an acronym) to fit on merchandise including T-shirts, hats, stickers, drum heads, and even rub-off temporary tattoos. Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails denies any deep meaning to the name other than that he wanted one that fit and looked cool as an abbreviation on his merchandising. 

 

5) Be Sure it’s Easy to Read and Pronounce 

If you need to correct people when they say your name, you might want to consider a few other ideas. I personally remember asking a record shop if they had a band called Sigger Ross, but the store had never heard of them. I was ready to buy, but I went home empty-handed. Well, it turns out that the band’s name is actually pronounced ˈsɪːɣʏrˈroːus (Islandic) and the clerk just couldn’t understand me. This must be a regular problem because the band actually has a translation guide complete with MP3 at its official website (sigur-ros.co.uk). NOTE: While some might argue that having a name that is difficult to pronounce is what gets people talking, I'd like to pose the following question: In the competitive music lanscape where literally millions of bands are struggling to rise above all the clutter, do you really want to enter into the race with a name that no one can read, pronounce, and relate to. Just food for thought!

 

6) Choose a Name that’s Legally Available

Avoid using common names that are likely being used. Be sure to search the web, independent record shops, and the U.S Patent and Trademark Office website (www.uspto.gov) to see if your chosen name is already in use. More established companies often hire search companies like Thomson & Thomson (www.thompson-thompson.com) to conduct a more thorough search, but this can get very expensive.

 

7) Find Out if it is an Available Domain Name 

Domain registration is the process of reserving your band name as a “virtual address” like Yourbandname.com, but if someone is already using that  domain name, you may be out of luck. Check for availability by using a service like GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com) or Network Solutions (www.networksolutions.com). 

 

8) Create a Name That’s Easy to Spell 

While creating your own unique spelling for your company’s name could be cool and even make it more memorable (such as Korn spelled with a “K”), be careful not to make it too weird. Though the band Lynyrd Skynyrd has been hugely successful for decades, I literally couldn’t find it on the web when researching this article because I still can’t spell its name. [Laughing—but I’m serious.]

 

9) Invent a Name 

To create something truly unique, you can always invent your own name. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ name was invented by adjusting the name of the city in which the band was formed (i.e., from Boston to Boss) while saying something about their ska sound (which encompasses horns).

 

10) Reflect On Your Target Fan

Last but not least, another method that can be helpful in naming your brand is to understand your target audience and reflect on their psychographic characteristics (i.e., their activities, interests, and opinions). Alt-rockers Green Day named themselves after a slang phrase used by San Francisco kids for smoking pot all day. The name was intended to connect with the rebellious, free-caring attitude of  punk rockers. 

 

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DO YOU LIKE WHAT YOU READ? For more tips on branding, and other important marketing and business topics, check out Bobby Borg’s website at www.bobbyborg.com.

 

Bobby Borg Music Business Consulting: Helping Music Professionals Turn Their Art Into A More Successful Business.
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Bobby Borg is the owner of Bobby Borg Music Business Consulting. He is former major label, independent, and DIY recording/touring artist, educator at Musician’s Institute and UCLA Extension, guest speaker at music industry conferences, contributor to international publications, and the VP of Special Events for the American Marketing Association in Los Angeles. He is also the author of Billboard Books best-seller The Musician’s Handbook distributed by Random House. Look for Borg’s new release coming soon. 

This Article: Copyright © 2012 By Bobby Borg www.bobbyborg.com. All Rights Reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without the written permission of Borg. 


 


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