Why we love ‘blank canvasses’ when it comes to branding…

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Recently an old work colleague came to me and said she was going to set up her own business. She asked me how to go about getting it set up in the fastest and most cost effective and time effective manner.

What I loved best about her approach is that she came to me as a ‘blank canvas’. Unlike many over-enthusiastic clients I often deal with, she hadn’t come up with a business name over a glass of wine with a friend on a Friday night and then rushed out and business name registered it the very next given opportunity, or jumped online and thought she was netting herself a bargain by buying the domain name herself.

Time and time again, I’ve seen businesses who spend their $200 odd dollars on company registration, only to discover after the fact that their desired domain name, company name or trademark is not in fact available. Ouch! There goes 200 bucks down the gurgler! I’ve also seen businesses pay $100 for a domain name for 1 year thinking that this must be the going rate and that by doing it themselves they’re saving a few dollars, when it reality, we can organise our clients most domain suffixes for $39 – $49 for a two year period any day of the week.

Whilst some people are just independent souls who like ‘doing things for themselves’ my preferred client is someone who let’s us guide them through the entire process, NOT because it spells dollars for us AT ALL, but rather because it means we can help navigate them through the many strategic decisions that need to be made at this crucial point in their business to set them on the best possible foot forward for the future.

I truly believe that the success of a business in today’s era is largely determined by the strength of the brand and the company’s website, and the website success is based on two equally powerful drivers; how well it is presented to the user, and how well it is written for Google.

Therefore choosing a company name, and thereafter a domain name which is ‘Google-Friendly’ is a powerful ‘leg up’ you can get from the outset, if careful consideration is given.

In the branding process we tend to take a ‘blanket approach.’

We through a creative brief out to a network of creatives who will all contribute possible company names in a fast 48 hour turn around period. By getting lots of heads ‘on it’, we are effectively looking at the proposition from all angles that you as a business owner would most probably not be able to do. We also feed off one another, with one suggesting a word or a theme or angle of a certain vein, that triggers another to contribute something else that might just end up being the winner on the day.

Once we have a wide range of names in the mix, we’ll then weed out the trash and categorise the suggested names into categories of similar themes.

We’ll then pull out our list of selected picks, opting for something that will be easily understood, easily remembered, easily repeated, and that has some overall branding strategy behind it (possible slogans, looks, thought behind the name choice) whilst encompassing the brief we extract from the client on items such as the intended target market, product range, chance of diversification, competitors currently operating in the same market, point of difference and so on.

We then throw it back to the client to get buy in, and soon enough we have a handful of names that are hot contenders. At this point we start doing our due diligence on the potential names which in Australia basically involves checking http://www.asic.gov.au for similar company names, http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au for trademarks and search available domain names.

If all of these come up available (or without substantial competition), we know we’re almost open for business when it comes to finding the right name.

So next time you’re thinking of creating a new single product, product line, company, service, campaign initiative, or naming a band, event, child or pet rock, don’t presume over a bottle of wine on a Friday night that you ’should’ve got into marketing you’re such a goddamn genius’. Run it by some professionals and you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of time, energy and money in the long run.

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