6 mistakes to avoid when naming a B2B brand

January 19, 2022

When it comes to creating B2B brands, there’s no part as fun — or potentially treacherous — as deciding on a name.

What starts as a simple exercise can get bogged down by missed deadlines, organizational impasses, and multiple browser tabs with synonyms for the word “solution.”

At FVM, we’ve learned valuable lessons while successfully naming a broad range of B2B businesses and products. Keep your own branding process running smoothly by avoiding these common B2B naming pitfalls.

 

Mistake #1: Overemphasizing first impressions.

First impressions are important. But how many of us immediately fell in love with names like “Microsoft” or “UPS” the first time we heard them?

Instead of expecting love at first sight, give names a chance to grow (or sour) on you. The way you own and commit to a name generally carries more weight than any initial response.

 

Mistake #2: Trying to please everyone.

Just like preferences for foods, temperatures, and Netflix selections, naming tastes are subjective. Some companies spend months looking for a universally beloved name — before realizing it doesn’t exist.

Instead, embrace the fact that good ideas will always have naysayers. Take pride in your decisiveness. And celebrate the support of the stakeholders who do matter (more on that in a bit).

 

Mistake #3: Blindly following industry trends.

In five years, will you still like names that are backronyms? Or end in –ify? What about names with mssng vwls? Following trends can make your name more forgettable — and dated.

Instead, take a longer view of how your brand name can grow with your business. After all, the most memorable names are the ones that buck trends — not follow them.

 

Mistake #4: Being too literal.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many B2B companies play it too safe by choosing generic, forgettable names. Tacking the word “solutions” to the end isn’t fooling anyone — and doesn’t typically convey useful information.

Instead, take the time to consider more creative, abstract names. Not only are they more memorable and ownable, but they won’t box you in if your company grows beyond its current offerings.

 

Mistake #5: Trying to say too much at once.

A name isn’t a biography. Expecting too much from any one name can bring the process to a standstill — or overwhelm your audience with too many ideas.

Instead, let other brand elements carry the rest of your message. A good name works alongside your logo, colors, website, and other materials to tell your full story.

 

Mistake #6: Lacking a clear approval process.

The naming process can go on forever, if you let it. There will always be second thoughts, last-minute “aha” moments, and new criticisms (see mistake #2).

Instead, establish early on who’s participating — and who gets final say. Set concrete metrics for success instead of assuming your team will “know it when you see it.”

It’s also helpful to start your naming process internally, instead of ending there. That free feedback usually kicks off productive brainstorming early on — instead of holding up approvals at the last minute.

 

In closing

At FVM, we typically collaborate with clients and perform the bulk of our research up front. Our team comes back with a clear set of route options that can range from being descriptive to totally invented. Then we work with you to narrow the list down to the strongest, most ownable name.

We hope this guide was helpful for conducting a productive, drama-free B2B naming process. Still have questions? Contact us today.

 

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