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The right brand name before scaling

Once you’ve founded your start-up, the first goal is to get your business off the ground quickly. However, important elements such as a brand strategy and branding are often neglected at the beginning. It is the same with the name of the start-up or the own brand name. Often a name has to be found quickly during the start-up idea and is then retained, even if it is bad for the own brand afterwards. If you have developed into a scale-up, the right brand name – before scaling – is enormously important.

Your brand name is important before scaling

The first question we would like to answer is why the brand name is so important just before your scaling. The answer seems very implausible in the first place, but a wrong brand name will cost you money in the worst case. Because a brand name is much more valuable for your start-up or scale-up than you might currently think.

A wrong brand name can affect your scaling because your customers can’t relate to the name, it is not remembered or it is understood negatively. A brand name is therefore more valuable and important to your brand than people currently believe. Of course, people have already been exposed to your brand and may even tell you how great your name is. But is it really?

With your brand name, it is important that you gather feedback, for example, by testing, as we do in our Branding Sprint, or by conducting neutral surveys among consumers who do not yet know your brand. What do they understand by the name and what do they associate with your brand name when they hear or read it? The point is that it’s worth questioning your brand name before scaling, because once you grow and you reach a much larger audience or they learn about your brand, it will become more difficult for your positioning and therefore for your brand.

So having the right brand name before scaling is important. But how can you check for yourself whether your current brand name is suitable for the future or whether you should perhaps consider a new name before scaling? With the points below, we give you a few criteria to try out with your current name.

Your brand name must be distinctive

Your brand name should be distinctive. Does your current name stand out from the crowd and your competitors? Is this name easily recognizable in texts? Another point would be the length or brevity of your brand name, because the shorter it is, the easier it is to remember by your customers, partners and employees. There is nothing worse than having a name that is not only too long, but also complicated. This way, every person who comes into contact with your brand will have a hard time remembering or pronouncing it.

Does your brand name fit your business?

Can your customers associate your product or service with your brand name? Does it sound appropriate when it comes to your business idea and does the name reflect the values of your brand? Would your brand name also apply to your competitors? If this is the case, you should reconsider your current name.

Your brand name should be simple and likeable

Can your customers, employees and partners easily spell your brand name? Can they pronounce your name easily so that it is easy to remember? In addition, a good brand name must sound likeable. If it is likeable, people like to use the name and also associate a positive feeling towards your brand.

Is your brand name protectable?

It is important that you protect your brandname at the Patent Office. There is nothing more frustrating than when a competitor one day asks you to stop using your name. Unfortunately, we have heard many such stories from our clients. The question you need to ask yourself before registering is whether it is protectable at all. If you are unsure about this, we strongly advise you to consult lawyers who are specialized in this field.

The last point is the own domain for the website. Is it still free and if not, is it for sale? Ideally, it is still free and you do not run the risk of having to pay a high price for it. Sure you already have a website, but is the domain your brand name? Or was the domain already used by someone else and only adapted?

Brand name checklist

Now you know that the right brand name is very important before scaling. Here again is a checklist from the points described above. For a good and detailed overview of what a good name for a brand must fulfill, you can also read the book THE BRAND GAP by Marty Neumeier as well as the book BRAND NAMING by Rob Meyerson.

01 // Your brand name must be distinctive

02 // Does your brand name match your brand values and goals?

03 // Is your brand name easy to remember and pronounce?

04 // Does your brand name sound likeable and positive?

05 // Is your brand name protectable?

Certainly, there are other points that need to be considered for a good name for a brand. But this is a summary of the most important points that a name must fulfill.

Are you in the process of scaling your startup?

Then be sure to check out our Knowledge & Insights page. There you’ll find exciting downloads, our branding for startups & scale-ups podcast „Brands after hours“, as well as book recommendations that will help you build your brand.

Marcel Schubert ist Brand Strategist und CEO der disruptiven Branding Agentur burnt GmbH.
Marcel Schubert
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