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BRANDING | 10 Most Common Naming Mistakes | Part Three

4. Confusing The Need For Information With The Need For Differentiation.

When choosing a name, companies often fall back on descriptive terms, based on the belief that they are easier to sell and require less marketing investment. They might think that the more overt the name, the more likely to be understood—and so picked—by customers. Or they might choose them simply because these types of names feel safer.

But descriptive names aren’t always the answer, particularly because they can be limiting as your brand promise evolves. To effectively decide, it’s important to define the role the name needs to play—whether it’s to describe a function, signal a departure from where you are today, or to position something new and different.

Neither approach is right or wrong. Strong brands and mindshare can be built on both. Think of names like The Container Store or Bed Bath & Beyond versus names like Target or IKEA. All successful brands, each with a different name approach.

Spend time deciding on the best approach for you, and don’t always settle for safe. It’s the difference between creating a name that is easy to remember versus a name that’s hard to forget.

5. Overlooking Complex Trademark Issues

One of the most overlooked challenges in naming is the highly complex trademark process. But consider that there are over 2.5 million active trademarks in the U.S. alone, and over 13 million globally. And then there’s over 108 million URLs registered globally.

Then consider that there are (arguably, because it’s impossible to count) only some 250,000 words in the English language—and not all of them are useable as a brand name. In fact, almost every word in every major language has been trademarked. This means that someone, somewhere, owns the name you want.

Securing viable trademarks is becoming increasingly difficult—but definitely not impossible. To overcome legal challenges, weave trademark prescreening throughout the creative process. It identifies, early on in the process, names to avoid so your creative team can keep searching for the right, legally viable name.

Don’t leave legal to the end, so you don’t have to settle with just any name. Prescreening avoids wasting valuable time and money evaluating (and falling in love with) names that are clearly unavailable for use.