Choosing the right name for your company isn’t easy.
First, you may have a myriad of ideas, and not know which direction to go in.
Additionally, your colleagues might have a variety of their own ideas, along with reasons why theirs are the best.
Having enthusiasm is great—essential even—but it won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have a solid strategy backing it up.
It’s crucial to consider all implications of a potential name when you’re in the midst of a corporate brand naming process. It’s important to pick a name that will truly make your brand shine.
In this blog, I’ll give you four strategies you can use to ensure your project is successful. I’ll also give an example of our process in action by sharing the story of how we rebranded Wheaton Precious Metals.
(Not sure where to begin with your brand strategy? Learn How to Conduct a Brand Audit.)
The right name becomes a powerful and strategic business decision and is imperative for the success of your business.
The right name will have long-lasting implications such as:
- Distinguishing your organization from the competition
- Strengthening your market position
- Being memorable because the right name connects you to your community in an emotional way
A Proven Brand Naming Process: How We Rebranded Silver Wheaton
In 2017, Red Rocket had the opportunity to rename and rebrand Silver Wheaton (now Wheaton Precious Metals).
Prior to the rebrand, Silver Wheaton (market cap $8b), a world leader in the precious metals streaming business, wasn’t getting recognition for the gold in their portfolio.
Everyone thought the company was exclusively a “silver play” as the name suggested.
But 50% of the company’s revenue actually came—and continues to come—from gold assets. It’s important to note that gold companies receive a higher multiplier in market capitalization than pure silver companies.
The improved brand name—Wheaton Precious Metals—has had a significant financial impact on the value of their company.
So what can you learn from our rebrand of Silver Wheaton? Let’s dive into what made this brand naming process so successful.
(Related post: Why Rebrand a Company: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself)
1. Remain Unbiased When Evaluating Potential Names
Often, when different company stakeholders participate in a company or product name brainstorming process, everyone has their own idea of what the new name should be. This makes it difficult to navigate the name creation or name change process.
Bringing in an unbiased facilitator can help stakeholders evaluate the viability of all options. During our rebrand of Silver Wheaton, Red Rocket served in that role to ensure the best name was ultimately chosen.
2. Have Your Most Vocal Stakeholders Present at the Start of the Naming Process
We’ve noticed that successful businesses are more difficult to rename than new companies or underperforming ones.
Why is that?
Successful companies are usually managed by successful (and highly driven) people who have strong opinions, and who are used to getting answers quickly. This can lead to challenges during a naming process, as these people are likely to derail what’s already been decided if they’re not in the room from the outset.
Therefore, it’s crucial to get the most vocal people (and possible opposition) involved at the very beginning of the naming process. It’ll save you a tremendous amount of acrimony later on.
Another important reason for the open forum discussion is that stakeholders will not support an idea/concept they had no part in shaping.
And back to my point about bringing on an unbiased facilitator—make sure you have someone in the room to prevent the naming process from spinning out of control. There’s no need for participants to waste time arguing over personal dislikes of particular names (ie: that suggestion reminds me of an old boyfriend/girlfriend/dog…).
3. Be Collaborative in Defining the Character of Your Company
Our name selection process doesn’t start with simply generating a list of names. It starts with defining the character of the company.
For the most success, there needs to be an open forum discussion with your leadership team focused on why your company exists. Questions to answer include: “Who do we serve?”, “What is our purpose?” and “What is our differentiator?”
Getting your key stakeholders to agree on these fundamental issues sets the stage for success.
4. Understand the Context of Your Company Name
Some people believe that a company name needs to stand alone to be effective. But company names never stand alone.
Understand that your company name is part of your brand storytelling strategy and is always used in context: on your website, in any ads you create, on your trade show displays, in news releases, and in its most naked form—conversation.
Additionally, different taglines, images, and language can shift and enhance the impact of your company name. They reflect your organization’s culture.
Understanding context allows you to explore your company name in association with a tagline and visual standard, including your logo. These fill the gap that words alone simply cannot.
Having a well-established brand name and selection process ensures everyone remains focused.
In the case of Wheaton Precious Metals, having them follow the steps mentioned above allowed us to deliver on the promise of helping them choose the best name for their business without issue, on time, and on budget.
In fact, once we’d chosen the name Wheaton Precious Metals, along with the supporting tagline, the whole team expressed strong support for the entire process.
“Now we understand why we….” was a recurring comment following the final stage of the naming protocol.
They appreciated the vetting aspect as a crucial phase in the overall process. Once the final name was agreed upon, there was no second-guessing if one name could have been a better choice.
The naming process is a critical part of your overall branding strategy. Done well, it allows you to represent yourself in the most effective and authentic way. And remember, achieving the best result requires a rigid process and strategy.
But that doesn’t mean your process needs to lack creativity.
The right process is collaborative and allows you to access the creativity of your entire team. Ultimately, creativity, thoughtful consideration, and evaluation lead to the best outcome and a solid company name.
Principal & Marketing Strategist A results-driven creative thinker, Perry is a marketing management professional with a proven record of achievement in Strategic Planning, Team Leadership, and New Concepts Development.
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