Like any new bundle of
badass joy, once the excitement about the pending arrival starts to dissipate you’re left with all the planning and logistical overwhelm.
Building a brand is no different!
One of the first and hardest decisions you have to make when you’re building a brand is…choosing the NAME!
And that’s no easy task.
You’ll undoubtedly run into a lot of inquisitive head scratching, followed by a flood of perplexing questions. Questions like…
1. Should I choose something with keywords in it?
2. Should I infuse personality into it or make it more generic?
3. Should I create a personal brand and use my own name or go with something that isn’t chained to my identity?
4. Should I go for a name that’s super specific to my current expertise or something more broad that I can grow with?
And that’s just the questions spawned from your first sleepless night of ‘Namesomnia’.
Rather than lobbing some shit-tey one size fits all formula your way I thought I’d ask my rag tag posse of bizness besties to share the brainstorming and thought processes that went into choosing their brand names, and ultimately what reasoning they had for going with the name they chose, because real world experiences come with lessons you can’t get from a formula.
Here are 25 (ok, 24 + me) badass brands to tell you all about their process for choosing a brand name that fits like a glove + a few tales on what NOT to do in your search.
1. TOR REFSLAND
When you start a blog or an online business your brand name is really important. Why? Because a good brand name will help you to stand out from the overcrowded marketplace. In addition, it will be the name that is associated to your success.
And you are going to be successful, right? Duh! Of course you are. But there is one thing that is essential before you choose your brand name. Can you guess what it is?
If you answered “knowing your target niche, your target audience and your own expertise” then a flying high five to you! *SLAP*
Once that is nailed, you can move on to pick your brand name. I will show you three ways to do that (Andrea probably knows 452 ways).
Approach 1: Use a brand name that is your name
This is self-explanatory. Your name is your brand. However, in order for this to work you should be a well-known public figure, or at least well-known within your niche. If not, it just seems pretty lame.
It’s like saying: ‘Oh, look at me I started my own blog for the first time and my brand is my name – John/Jane Doe’. You might as well say that your brand name is “John/Jane Is A Lame Newbie”.
Examples where it works: Brendon Burchard by online entrepreneur Brendon Burchard and Evan Carmichael by serial entrepreneur Evan Carmichael.
Approach 2: Use an attention grabbing brand name that stands out, but doesn`t make sense
This should be a name that makes people think: “Say whaaaaat?” The name would make no sense regarding what the business is about. It`s all about disrupting people`s focus, so they will notice and remember your brand name.
Examples are: ViperChill by SEO expert and online entrepreneur Glen Allsopp. VideoFruit by online entrepreneur Bryan Harris.
Approach 3: Use a brand name that will immediately tell you what your brand is all about
Examples are: Boost Blog Traffic by blogging coach Jon Morrow. Successful Blogging by blogging coach Sue Anne Dunlevie.
Okay, then over to the main question…How did I come up with my brand name?
I first went through approach 1 (use a brand name that is your name). Well, no matter how much I really wanted it to be true, as a beginning blogger and online entrepreneur, no one knew who I was. Sad, but true. Yes, it`s a merciless world *Wiping tears* So then I had to scratch Tor Refsland. That is a brand for the future (and yeah, I have registered the domain). I would recommend you to register the domain name of your name. Who knows, perhaps you will become super successful? On the other hand, it kind of sucks BIG time if someone grabbed your domain name and was using it to post videos of farting animals. Not cool! Note: If you think that is cool, you should perhaps seek some help from the people with the white coats.
Then I went for approach 2 (use an attention grabbing brand name that stands out, but doesn`t make sense). Even though my girlfriend, Sara, suggested that I should choose the brand name Dead Sexy, I kind of felt that it would give people the wrong impression of my business. By the way, if you ever ask Sara about that, she would of course deny it. I was thinking about words that would stand out and make no sense, but easy to remember…
Super Cool Dude With No Beard…
Obviously you can see that making a brand name that sticks out and makes no sense is kind of risky. In order for it to work you have to be crazy good at building your online brand consistently…
and most likely it will not happen with your first blog (yup, let’s face it). The only thing that was left was approach 3 (use a brand name that will immediately tell you what your brand is all about).
I went through the following questions:
What am I so good at that people will actually pay me money to teach them? It quickly landed on time management, productivity and reaching goals.
What is my niche? Time management, productivity and goal setting.
I needed to pick one, so I went for time management.
Who is my target audience? At that time it was too general, it was everyone who needed help to become better with time management.
Note: If you haven’t narrowed down your niche enough, which is almost never the case at the start, you should pick a brand name that is broader. It’s better to go a little bit too broad, than the other way around. And then you will have a brand name that is targeting the wrong audience.
Example: you are a life coach, and you thought you wanted to coach truck drivers (don`t ask me why). So your brand became Truck Driver Life Coach. Then you decided that you would rather teach teachers. Yeah, you see where this is going.
So how did I land on Time Management Chef?
As mentioned above, I wanted the words time management to be included in my brand name. Then I got this epiphany that a chef is staying in the kitchen…experimenting with ingredients in order to constantly improve his craft…and his/her dishes…and when a dish looks good, tastes good and is healthy, he serves them to his customers.
So I was thinking, hey! Why not the Time Management Chef?
I ran it by my blogging coach Yaro Starak, and he thought it was a good idèa.
So I registered the domain name and the rest is history.
Even, though I recently narrowed down my audience to bloggers and online entrepreneurs, where I help them to skyrocket their productivity and crush their goals so they can grow their business, it does’nt hurt that it’s called Time Management Chef.
As mentioned above: if you are unsure, use a broader name.
It would really suck if I let my brand name reflect my first target audience:
Time Management Chef For Limping Hunchbacks Who Are Afraid Of The Sunlight.
2. MIKE ALLTON
In 2001, I moved back to my hometown in rural Ohio and started working for a small IT firm ran by a friend of mine. It was him and his wife, myself, and a few techs, and we were constantly running around the county installing networks, building websites, teaching clients technology, and looking for ways to expand our business.
Anytime something needed to be done, we’d do it ourselves. My boss and friend was Leif Ericsson and that’s a big part of his nature. He’s never been afraid to tackle any project or task, no matter what. But it was also due to the reality of budgets. So this mentality of “do it ourselves” applied as much to technology work as it did to office maintenance and remodeling. Leif was simultaneously an IT Administrator, Business Owner, Janitor, Plumber, Carpenter, Electrician and Painter.
Of course “Business Owner” means that you’re also in charge of accounting, payroll, vendor supply, inventory, and more.
To that, add Leif’s desire to run the business as a family business, which meant handling disputes (Counselor) and sometimes hiring/firing of family (Human Resources).
What was interesting was that, in virtually every instance, whenever I met another small business owner that we were going to work with, they were doing the same thing. They might not have had Leif’s passion for working with his hands, but they were clearly wearing many, many different hats beyond what the focus of their business was.
Fast forward about 10 years, to a time when I was getting ready to pivot my own business. I’d found a passion of my own – writing – and I wanted to build a business that would allow me to focus my writing, and revenue, around blogging and social media.
I found myself thinking back to Leif and all of those other business owners I’d worked with, the kinds of people that I’d be looking to help today. Again and again I could hear them all saying the same thing. “I don’t have time for Social Media, I’m already wearing too many hats.”
That’s when The Social Media Hat was born, for business owners where one more hat is one too many.
3. DENNIS SEYMOUR
This time around for LeapFroggr, it was still the same brainstorming process. It’s not rocket science like how other people want to make it look. LOL.
1. Identify the market you will be serving and what services or products to offer.
2. List words (nouns/adjectives/verbs)
3. Arrange them by coolness factor.
4a. Put a twist to it (in our case we went with a web 2.0 feel ala Flickr)
4b. Put the product or service name at the end. (we could’ve used “LeapfrogSEO” if we wanted to solely focus on SEO but we don’t)
We ended up with LeapFroggr. Leapfrogging is a game you can only win at if you know how to work with and help others. The most important role a LeapFroggr can play is one of support for the other player—“giving him a back”, as it’s called. That’s what we do. We use our knowledge of Digital Marketing & SEO to give you the back you need to leap towards your success.
4. IAN ANDERSON GRAY
Years ago, I set up a web agency called Select Performers, but I had wanted to set up a separate blog where I could write about social media, tips and hacks. I also wanted to launch a consultancy arm of my business. It was important to put forward a more human and personal side, and iag.me started as a personal blog. However after a few months, it was time to work on brand identity and I worked with Sam to do this.
My online home had already been established- the “iag” of iag.me are my initials (Ian Anderson Gray) and the .me domain extension gave it that personal feel. Sam came up with the tagline “Seriously Social, Socially Awesome”. The thinking was that we were going to get serious about social media! The “Socially Awesome” was a kind of funny play on the phrase “Socially Awkward” – of course we weren’t going to be socially awkward, but it made me smile!
My social usernames were all set as “iagdotme” in order to publicize my website address, iag.me. On Twitter I list my own name, but on my Facebook page I wanted to differentiate between my personal Facebook profile and my page. I’ve always found it confusing when people use the same name for their profile and page- as it makes it difficult to know which one is which. So, recently I updated my Facebook page to be called “Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray”. It’s quite long, but I like it.
5. JULIE HARRIS
A huge element in business for me is the idea that “you are your brand’. Our brands are everything that embody who we are, what we do, why we do it, why that’s important, and it’s the answer to how we are unique. When people do business with me, they are hiring ME, my experience, my expertise, my strengths, and my brand perspective. My business background is less than traditional; with a formal background in classical theatre and entertainment.
In school, my major training was in understanding people, listening, communication, and crafting an experience from start to finish in order to tell a story and communicate a point of view, all while being sincere, entertaining, and engaging. Yes, I also have the formal business and marketing training and education, but unlike other brand specialists or marketing managers, I come at branding with a people focused perspective, targeting the one-on-one individual opportunities and the long term relationships that can come with brand loyalty.
This ultimately creates brand ambassadors that passionately love and support your brand. This is the “branding by Julie” perspective I bring to all my brand projects, whether they be development, design, or brand strategy. Hence – Julie Harris
The “Design” has a bit of a double meaning. I believe that we as entrepreneurs are all designers. Design to me is the blending of both ideas and actions in order to create something unique and innovative. Entrepreneurs are the ultimate designers. Constantly thinking, dreaming, and experimenting with ways in which to make their world, and the world of their audience/target market better. So while I actually do design work, the “Design” in my name is a tribute to this modern innovative way of thinking about business as a form of art.
Together with my branding by Julie perspective and my modern approach to design, you have Julie Harris Design.
6. KAYLA HOLLATZ
After undergoing a few rebrands in a relatively short amount of time, I realized the best way to help my vision grow with me would be to put it under the one thing about my brand that would never change: me!
When I decided to brand myself under my name, everything else came into focus including my niche, target audience, and most importantly, my community. This clarity has allowed me to confidently create actionable content for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs and help them build sustainable, organic communities with no big rebrand in sight. #winning
If you’re looking for ample wiggle room to evolve with your brand, branding under your name might be your answer.
7. ERIKA MADDEN
True story: I spent about two months deciding on my brand name. (How’s that for indecision-making?!) In fact, I had registered an entirely different domain name and was in the process of building the site under a variation of my own name when I scrapped it and started over from scratch. New design. New branding. New logo. Everything.
My main criteria in choosing my name was that it:
1. Was short (because I wanted to make it dead simple for others to remember)
2. Resonated with my ideal audience (young female business owners)
3. Was meaningful to me. It wasn’t enough to have a “great name” for my personal brand if it wasn’t precisely that: personal.
As I started playing around with ideas, I kept coming back to the feminine and sophisticated name of “Olivia.” I loved it so much that I had even considered calling one of my daughters by the name. It also happened to mean fruitfulness and peace — two significant benefits I wanted to help my clients and customers achieve in their business.
The final challenge I faced was making it unique. Olivia is a popular name and occurs in numerous business names and URLs. I did NOT want to contend with that on Google. So, I did a search for Olyvia and came up with…nothing! I knew then that it would give me the perfect opportunity to design and build a unique, memorable brand. I went with a .co domain because it was edgy (plus, let’s face it, just sounds #supercool) and that was that. I ran with it!
Looking back, I can truthfully say that it’s proven to be one of the best business decisions I’ve made. People regularly comment on it, and it’s an excellent conversation-starter as everyone wants to know the story behind the name!
8. DANIELA USLAN
I am lucky to have a unique name, so the URL and all of the social media names were available. I decided to use my own name for my brand, because I wanted to be able to shift my focus if I wanted to. I had started, and stopped writing, 5 other blogs with niche-specific names that I eventually lost interest in.
This time, I wanted to be able to define and refine my niche as I built my blog, instead of knowing it from the outset. By using my own name as my brand, I was able to have the freedom to figure it out as I wrote more and built more relationships. Because of that ability to write my way into my focus, I’ve sustained this blog and built a much larger audience than I ever did with my past blogs.
I know that lots of people ask the question of whether you should use your own name as your blog, as doing so means that you are your business. You can’t walk away, because your brand is a personal one. In my case, my story and my personality are interwoven with my brand, and I am happy with that. It’s really a personal decision that is different for everyone.
9. ANNA BENNETT
My background as a store manager, spa owner and as a personal development seminar leader for Brian Tracy’s network, has led to me developing a strong attention to detail. That experience led to the thought of the “white glove” business philosophy, which strives for precision, thoroughness, results and of course attention to detail.
10. BRENT JONES
Yes, my domain is brentjonesONLINE.com, but if brentjones.com had been available, I would have chose that domain instead.
When I first took the steps to build my own online business, I didn’t have a lot of clarity at the time… big branding mistake, I know. But I still wasn’t sure who I would serve… what services would I offer? What types of readers and followers and clients did I want to attract?
So I kept it simple. Brent Jones, or brentjonesonline.com.
The way I saw it — no matter what I ended up doing to earn an income — it would always come down to me building trust with prospective clients. People buy from people they like and trust, and I figured that ultimately that made me the brand.
Prospective clients needed to know upfront they were dealing with an individual solopreneur and not an agency. That’s why both my name and face are front and center on my homepage — it’s me staking my name and professional reputation on the services I offer, not a firm.
11. ADRIENNE SMITH
I was taught rather early in my online journey that it was all about branding “you”. That we needed to be known for our name and not some term. It was recommended to purchase a URL with our name and every extension we possibly could so that no one else would get that chance. The dot com had been taken for some time with my name so I went with the dot net and never looked back.
In my earlier days I wasn’t crystal clear on exactly what I wanted to do, I was focusing on blogging but way too generic. Looking back though I’m glad I went that route because I think it’s easier to change directions when you have your name than some other term.
12. ASHLEY FAUKLES
After I shattered my leg skiing, and was sitting at home relaxing (so to speak) I decided to start a blog. I did this to learn more about marketing through “doing” (I recommend it).
Not being someone who likes sticking to convention (a bit like Andrea), and also not knowing exactly what I was going to blog about, I decided to choose a name that was fun.
Maybe because I used to play Lemmings (an awesome computer game, back in the day) the phrase “Mad Lemmings” had stuck with me somehow. It was quirky, so I decided to go with that.
Lessons in hindsight: Looking back, I would never change the name of my blog/website/company/brand. I love it!
But what kind of name should you go for?
A name that is obvious (amazing blogging tips) or (new york marketing)?
Or something more catchy?
In my opinion, your brand is more than just the name. So choosing a name that means more than what the company does, is important.
My name stands for fun. Quirkiness, uniqueness etc. And many have reacted to it that way (thankfully).
So why not add personality to your brand name too. After all, once it is set, it is hard to change. But, you might change your direction (no more “amazing blogging tips” but instead, “email list building tips” perhaps?). Then what?
You can’t remove that “blog” reference from your name so easily later on.
Then there is the difficulty in getting a “.com” domain name these days. Being original helps, because all the obvious ones are long gone!
Think about Flickr, Canva, Tesla, Coke, Amazon. Do these names tell you what they do? No way!
So have a think about how you want to appear to the world, and maybe roughly what area you are going to work in.
Then brainstorm some names, variations and options. Even silly ones.
Don’t leave anything off the list in the beginning. Just free your mind
Also keep in mind you need to buy a “.com” name (or similar) – remember to avoid hyphens, and not make it too long.
It should be catchy, memorable, and meaningful. It is the beginning of all your branding, which is how people see your business from the outside!
13. CHRIS HUFNAGEL
When I decided I wanted to get into the freelance web design world I wanted a clever name. I didn’t want something generic, I wanted something people would remember. That meant “Chrisswebdesign.com” was out.
To start, I got out a piece of paper and wrote down every word that came to mind when I thought about the services I wanted to provide for clients. I did this during a few different sessions, each time with a different piece of paper.
After 3 sessions, I looked at my list of words and started to highlight the words that showed up multiple times. These were the words that stuck out to me as I kept repeating them.
I loved the idea of providing “smart solutions” to people, but it didn’t say anything about what kind of solutions. Looking at my list again, I saw the word Internet and added that in the middle to create “Smart Internet Solutions”. This I liked, but it was too long for me.
How could I make it shorter?
I tried different combinations of shortening words, but nothing stuck. I am a huge fan of acronyms, but SIS.com was already taken. That is when I got the idea that I could do the first 2 letters from each word. When I put them together I had created my own, very pronounceable and memorable name, Sminso.
14. PENNEY FOX
It’ll be the coolest thing one day when I run a search for the words ‘Inner Social Media-ness’ and it shows up in a Google search. For now, the only place where you can find this term is on my website.
Here is the story of how I developed the idea behind Inner Social Media-ness:
It all started from a conversation with one of my graphic designer friends. I was working through some ideas for the design of my website. I wanted my site to show the social media work that I do but yet, I didn’t want it to look like all the other social media consultant websites that you see out there.
I wanted it to show my personality, my unique view on marketing with just a touch of my inner weirdness. And then I said, “I want people to see how I can teach solopreneurs how to use social media and show them how to find their own inner personality within the social world and to find their own … inner social media-ness.”
We both laughed at how funny that sounded. Throughout the rest of our meeting, I repeated that expression a few more times. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I liked the idea of what it meant. I liked what it stood for and quite honestly, I liked saying it out loud.
From that meeting, Inner Social Media-ness was born.
15. KRISTA WILTBANK
I would love to say that coming up with my brand name (Krista Wiltbank Digital Marketing) was a rich, organic, creative process that ended with a lightning bolt of brilliance from the heavens. But considering how bland my brand name turned out to be, if I told you that, I’d be lying. My brand name didn’t take a lot of brainstorming, or creative energy, or even deep thought.
Deciding on my brand name was, however, a strategic decision.
Here’s the backstory… my husband bought my domain name while I was in the final stages of my MBA coursework – taking my first accounting class, if memory serves. I remember him bugging me to choose a WordPress theme one Sunday afternoon when I was really not in the least bit interested. My mind was on the balance sheet I was trying to balance! But it did plant a seed.
Fast forward a few months. I’d learned about the power of blogging, and with that, personal branding. I started to look down the road, past my MBA classes, to what I wanted to do with the degree. The answer was to open my own business, as a side gig to my day job, offering digital marketing services to small businesses/non-profits. That’s when I started looking around for inspiration locally… and found none.
I started thinking again. What was my product? How did I want people to find me/my business? I came to realize that:
I was my product – my expertise
potential customers would probably come through referrals (at least at the beginning), so finding me was important
all of the local competition I could find used business names, not personal names, so I could potentially stand out that way
Plus… it just felt right. And having that decision resonate with me like a clear bell instead of a dissonant cacophony of sound was the deal-maker. I knew I’d made the right decision for my business.
16. KRISTIE HILL
Choosing a name for my business was a big deal for me. My husband and I brainstormed for months. Literally. We wanted something creative and catchy, but also something that reflected the content that would be on the blog. We came up with Dreamy Ambitions.
Dreamy came along because we would frequently chat about our ideas for my online business as we drifted to sleep. For a long time, we had all of these dreams to do something amazing. I figured that other people were experiencing the same thing too. My goal was to help them make their dreams become a reality.
We added the ambitions, because we wanted our dreams to be more than dreams. I looked into a lot of words that might fit and loved the definition of ambitions: “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”
So I launched as Dreamy Ambitions. Within one month I changed! Ha.
I received feedback from others who said the name really didn’t reflect the business, they didn’t expect blogging tutorials. I knew that if I was going to change my name, the sooner the better. My very first email subscriber was the one that came up with the new name. I was busy trying to think of something completely new and he put it simply: “Why not just change the dreamy to blog?”
I liked it. My goal is, after all, to help people be successful in the blogging world. I provide detailed blogging how-to’s to help online solopreneurs achieve their greatest ambitions. Blog Ambitions made perfect sense.
17. SUE ANNE DUNLEVIE
Two years ago I had a blog on stress management that was doing great. But I had more people asking me about how to create their own blog than about managing their stress. So I decided to start a blog about blogging. I knew how much work it was to start a blog from scratch so I jumped on Flippa and started searching. Two blogs caught me eye and one of them was Successful Blogging. I loved the name and knew I could make the brand my own.
Soon after I purchased the site, I had a mentoring session with Dre and refreshed the site’s brand colors, fonts and logo. So now Successful Blogging feels more “me” and the brand resonates more with my readers.
18. MATTHEW LOOMIS
Whenever I wrote some copy that he liked, particularly in the advertising realm, he would say “Kaboomis Loomis” or exclaim that in an email. So when I went solo, that name “Kaboomis” turned out to be a great choice for my own copywriting business. “Kaboomis Copy” sounds great together.
I hired a designer friend to create a logo, and he did amazing work. My former editor was Demian Farnworth, now with Rainmaker Digital.
19. MARIANNE MANTHEY
The idea for my website came when my mom needed her own website for my parent’s clock repair business. I thought I could either make it for her in WordPress or I could show her how to do it herself, thus empowering her to manage it so that she wouldn’t be reliant on anyone (primarily me) to make updates when she needed them. That’s when I had the idea that I could help others who were in same boat. I already knew my target market, so the next step was to find a name.
The first brand name (and domain) I came up with was Darling Blogs, but it never felt quite right.
At some point I came upon this post and started brainstorming keyword-based names. I wanted to find some keywords that were popular enough but not too popular that they would be difficult to compete with. I tested keywords like “web design workshop for women” (0 global monthly searches), “feminine web design” (320 monthly searches) and “learn web design” (22,200 monthly searches)!
I was really set on finding a name with a memorable acronym and for some reason BYOB (bring your own beer) kept coming to mind so I started thinking about names along those lines.
I went through a bunch of different iterations of available domain names and somehow found that DesignYourOwnBlog.com (DYOB) was available! It seemed to good to be true, so I ran it by the SEO guy at my company at the time and he confirmed that if I found something that had good keywords in it and it was still somehow available that I should snatch it. So I did immediately and that is how Design Your Own Blog came to be. It’s proven to be a great name because the majority of my traffic comes from Google searches which is amazing! I still marvel at how lucky I was to find a name like that as late as 2013!
Adding the word (lovely) into the name to make it Design Your Own (lovely) Blog made the name a little less generic and more targeted towards my audience of women.
20. DAN CRASK
My business’ name is Brand Shepherd.
In two words it describes everything we do. It has elements to it that anyone can relate to, and at varying degrees. It is both literal in truth, and metaphorical in application. It’s memorable and approachable.
But I am not gloating: I know quality now because my business started with a bad name.
I know what having a bad business name is like because for the first four years in business, the name was pretty bad: D&A Design. Just typing that name, with the capitals and the ampersand, reminded me of how much I disliked that business name.
It was well-intentioned. My wife is co-founder of the business, her name is Andrea, and since my name is Dan, we went with D&A Design. We thought it was clever. When written, it described what we were – a team. When said aloud, it sounded like “DNA Design,” which we welcomed because of the metaphorical value.
Yet in practice, it was a dud.
Writing it out was a pain for both of us, and more importantly for our clients. “Is it ‘and’ or the ‘and symbol’ thingy?”
Then there was saying it aloud when we wanted people to remember it. I don’t even want to think of how many people may have googled “dna design” looking for us during those four years!
Additionally there was the web address, social media, and email headaches. The web address was d-a-design.com, and what a headache that was to type out! Or consider this: Try spelling that URL out loud. Go ahead. Do it. I’ll wait.
SEE WHAT A PAIN THAT IS?!
At networking events, over the phone, and in so many other cases, our first business name created a lot more headache than profitability. For four long years we worked with it, but then something happened in 2010. Our About Us page tells the tale:
The idea of ‘shepherding’ a brand was inspired by a dear member of our family. He loved structure and herding our kids. He was Jake, our beloved dog, a border collie.
I had a picture in my head of Jake herding and guiding brands and their assets: Jake was moving around with care and intention, getting logos, web sites, packaging, print, etc. into cohesive, consistent order instead of being scattered everywhere.
Parts of the brand were totally lost, some were underfed, and some were just old and no longer useful.
But soon enough Jake had all the assets back in order, and they were all well-cared for, bleating in harmony, and all was well with the flock.
This is how I envisioned Brand Shepherd. We would shepherd brands with guidance and intention (design).
As soon as I realized this was our name, I devoted my energies to rebranding EVERYTHING. I knew this was our name.
Brand Shepherd is the business name I was born to operate. It fits my personality perfectly, and fits my team’s vibe very well too.
Last December I decided it was time for me to be a formal client, so I hired the best designer I know, and together we created a fresh new brand identity, icon, website, signage, and stationery. I love it.
We now have a name and branding that describe us perfectly. It really pays off because the brands and businesses we work with know what to expect just by reading our name and seeing our branding.
I could have had the best strategy and execution imaginable, but with a bad name, it would be for nothing. A good name is worth a lot of investment of time and money to get it right.
21. STEPHANIE CALAHAN
I started my company back in 2002. While everyone else was naming their company after the type of work that they did, I kept it simple. I knew that it was likely that as I grew, what I did would change. I also knew that any services I provided would always be solutions and results based. With that, Calahan Solutions was born. At the time I was providing very different services than I do now, so that part of my predictions was right on target. If I were to do it again I don’t think I would have used my last name. Many times people misspell it and that has caused me to need to do things like purchase the misspellings for domain redirects!
22. DENISE WAKEMAN
After two life-changing trips to Peru in 2012 and 2013, I decided it was time to have more live face time with folks who are looking for support, guidance and quick answers to their pressing online marketing questions.
I quickly realized Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) were the perfect solution and Adventures in Visibility live video show was born in early 2013.
The Peruvian adventures were informational on many levels and during the second trip, I realized I needed to more closely align my business with my true love and passion, travel. I woke up and realized I had been keeping my personal life and my business life in separate compartments. I realized I love adventure and when I dug deep with my business coach, it was glaringly obvious that in almost all aspects of my life and through the years, adventure played a critical role.
Whether it was travel, business, or relationships, a core piece was that I approached it with an adventurous spirit. Yet, I had not made the connection for my audience and clients. I’ve traveled all over the world and lived in three countries. How I approach travel is how I approach my business. I experiment a lot and take risks when trying new tools, strategies and tactics.
Circling back to my Adventures in Visibility show, it was a way to:
a) experiment with a new tool (Hangouts on Air)
b) create a deeper connection with my audience
c) explore my adventurous side and develop my message for the world
Now, two and half years later, it’s no longer simply a video show, it’s my brand. It encompasses how I approach my business and the beliefs I hold dear: that business, like life is an adventure. When you embrace a mindset of adventure, it’s easier and more fun to embrace change and explore new ways to boost visibility and build one’s business.
23. KIRSTEN THOMPSON
My brand name, Sweet Tea, LLC, began as my blog name, “Sweet Tea & Saving Grace”. When I rebranded my blog in 2014, that was the new blog name I chose because it’s an accurate reflection of my life – a true Southern woman who depends on a tall glass of sweet tea and the saving grace of God to get me through my day.
Over the past year and a half, however, the Sweet Tea brand has become my “thing”. My readers recognize me for it, and even on Periscope broadcasts and live webinars, people ask if I have my mason jar of sweet tea close at hand. It’s what I’ve become known for, in a sense, and I love that people think of me when they see anything involving sweet tea!
24. MALLIE HART
During almost twenty years of owning, operating and tearing my hair out over a business, I’ve swapped names a few times. At one point I ran Dizzy Wizard Design, and before we settled on our current and FINAL company name, I was working under the Social Media Ringer moniker.
That worked for me solo, as at the time I was knee deep in social media marketing and design, and less involved in branding and web design. But my boyfriend and soon to be husband was in the wings waiting to come on board and we needed a name that tied in all we had to offer as a creative marketing agency.
At the time I was living with my sister, waiting for Derek to move up to Atlanta to set up residence and business with me. My nephew, known as Cutie if you follow me on Facebook, was two at the time and I spent plenty of my unplugged time reading and snuggling with him.
Derek had come up to visit and we were hanging out in my sister’s living room, mulling over name ideas, when my nephew crawled into my lap with a book. That book was Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. Looking down at the book I asked Derek what he thought of Go Creative Go! as a business name.
He mulled it over, started to smile, and told me he thought I was on to something. I can’t remember any of the other names we were tossing around at the time. Nothing was memorable. Go Creative Go! was. Derek started sketching, came up with our logo and that was that.
Go Creative Go! was born and while the branding around the name has changed and evolved in the last four years, the name has not and will not. It’s us, it fits and it’s memorable!
25. ANDREA BELTRAMI
When I finally pulled my head outta my ass and realized that avoiding my fear of rejection and failure by trying to be something I wasn’t online was indeed NOT going to gift me any of my dreams coming true I knew I had to start from scratch.
I understood myself well enough to know I’d never be able to escape the feeling of being trapped in the brand I had been running so poorly. I craved a fresh start, like an addict craves a fix, yo!
Make no mistake, that maddeningly eager decision to trash everything I’d done for the past 2 years kept me torn and counting sheep for a solid couple months. Let’s be honest, desperation isn’t my best look.
On the bright side, all those months of indecision gave me tons of time to play ‘what if’.
What if…I believed in myself enough to create a brand around what I was truly passionate about? (which was branding + design if it wasn’t obvious!)
What if…I created a brand that catered to the people I really wanted to work with and not those I thought I would be able to profit most from?
What if…I stopped procrastinating in the name of fear and started creating something that oozed everything that makes me the neurotic creative I am?
What if…I stop driving myself insane with this fictitious ‘what if’ game and START getting shit done?
Turns out that game wasn’t a total loss. Call it exhaustion, or maybe excitement…one day I woke up READY to start bringing my ‘what if’ vision to life.
The benefit of all those months of fretting was that I was able to unconsciously work out what I wanted my brand to sound like, feel like, look like, and be…without realizing I was doing that. My brand wishlist so to speak.
There were two things I knew with certainty.
1. I knew I wanted to be the ‘IT’ girl when it came to branding + design.
2. I knew I wanted to help badass mofos who were lone wolfs like myself.
Pretty instantly (not including the months of sleepless nights and endless rounds of ‘what if’) it came to me….’The Branded Solopreneur’.
It conveyed what my brand was all about.
It conveyed who my brand was for.
It was keyword friendly.
AND…it spoke to me at my core…forever and always a girl rolling solo. I la la looooove me a double entendre!
It’s a little over 3 years since I launched The Branded Solopreneur and I’m as in love with my brand name today as I was that sleepless night I came up with it.
You know what they say…the rest is
still being written history!
As you can see, there’s no one size fits all formula for how to choose a brand name that’s going to fit you like a glove.
The bottom line is…
Only YOU know your brand’s soul and what moniker suits it best.
I promise you that there’s a badass name out there waiting for you to claim it…my hope is that our stories will help you two crazy kids find eachother.
Here’s to you and your brand kicking ass and taking names (see what I did there?!) in 2018 and beyond.
ONE MORE THING before you go…
GRAB YOUR FREE COPY OF
THE QUICK & DIRTY GUIDE TO BRANDING FOR SOLOPRENEURS
This 25+ page ebook is a bloat free recipe that will help you gather, prepare and assemble ALL six main ingredients you need to create a unique AF brand identity your peeps will love eye guzzling.
PLUS, the entire ebook is loaded with tons of exercises, resources and examples, so you’ll have everything you need to start creating your brand identity TODAY, regardless of where you are in your business.