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From the global marketer launching a new product to the entrepreneur who bootstraps her way to the top, business people have a lot of misconceptions about naming. Today, we’d like to set the record straight on what naming your new brand really is, and isn’t, all about.

Myth 1: “Naming a brand is easy.”

Nope. Many people think that naming a company, product or brand is a cinch. However, those people probably haven’t tried naming a company, product or brand for themselves. The simple truth is that once you try it, you’ll realize it’s difficult. Creatively, strategically, legally, linguistically — there are serious challenges every step of the way.

Myth 2: “Naming can wait until later.”

No way. People are often surprised at how long it takes to create, secure and finalize a name for a new launch. We’ve had clients who think it’s a one or two day process from start to finish. Naming a new brand can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months — we’ve even seen projects that require more than a year’s worth of work, deliberation and finalization. Start naming early in the development process. It can have a tremendous impact on what you bring to market. If you’ve already secured your name beforehand, that’s one less hurdle you’ll need to overcome.

Myth 3: “It only costs a few dollars, right?”

Perhaps. But you’re not going to get much bang for your buck. Fees for naming a brand vary depending on deliverables, timing and your agency’s level of experience. You might pay a few thousand dollars to have an individual consultant generate a list of ideas for you. Or you might pay several hundred thousand dollars for a major naming and branding firm to carry out a rigorous development process for you, complete with linguistic and legal screening and on-the-ground market testing. Average fees run from $8K to $50K. For more info on what types of naming vendors are at your disposal, check out I Need A Name & I Need It Now.

Myth 4: “Who cares if it means something bad in French?”

The French care. And with the free flow of information on the internet today, it’s highly likely that other people will pick up on linguistic issues with your name, regardless of whether your brand is local, regional, national or global. It’s standard practice in the naming industry to screen names for negative meanings and associations in global languages and languages or dialects relevant to where you are launching your brand. Why? To avoid disasters like Creap coffee creamer or Pocari Sweat drinks.

Myth 5: “My kid should have the final say.”

Not unless it’s a product specifically designed for your kid. Relying on the opinions of friends and family to help you arrive at a shortlist of ideas is fine. But like focus groups and other forms of evaluation, these opinions should serve as reference only, not the final say. Coming to a final decision on a name requires balancing multiple issues, including your creative strategy, legal and linguistic viability, audience research, gut instincts and more.

Myth 6: “We can change it later if we don’t get it right.”

Sure, you can change a name later if you want to. But do you really want to? Name changes require massive amounts of money and time. And they can cause serious confusion in the market. Comcast/Xfinity is a great example of an awkward name change. It’s important to get your brand name right, right from the start.

When naming your next big thing, dedicate the time and resources you need to do the job well from the start. With better information, ideas and expectations, you’ll be in a better position to ensure success. If you’d like for more information on naming and branding, check out the following:

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