How will you measure the name of your company?

logos from around the world

Brands we recognize by their symbols and letters alone are many when the brand is well established or has been around for years. When establishing a new brand, names need to be easy to remember and recall in conversations and in times of recommendation. As a result, many businesses have opted to choose single words that describe why they exist or what they do. The difficulties lie when we attempt to measure the effects of marketing and PR on the brand in question – how is owned and earned media having an impact on the brand.

Let’s talk about an example, Mumble. Mumble is a very simplistic company – it provides a service much like Skype – voice chat for gamers. The data and analytics that Mumble can pull about its website using its analytics software is a data point that can’t be disputed because of the noise of the search inside other tools. However, when we start doing the research that measures the effect of a media hit or a marketing program and we search “Mumble,” we’re going to get a lot of false positives.

Take a look at the chart below. It has a search for the word “mumble” in English for the last 30 days. These are tweets alone in which the word has been used.

Mumble search

Doing research for any company using a common word as its name will run into this problem. Now that isn’t to say that we can’t use qualifiers – other words to help pull relevant results – and it doesn’t mean that the company is doomed to lose data. It just instantly makes it more difficult for any business who wants to rely on data-driven decisions as a key aspect of their business.

Imagine the issues that Apple runs into trying to track true coverage from people talking about eating apples. (It’s likely they’ve gotten very good at filtering at this point in the game, but it does take some extra work.)

There are some great upsides to using a single word or a well known word as a company name. We won’t deny that. Eventually the service will be well known enough to pop up in search, easy to find in voice search and when tracking down the company on the different social channels. Take Google, for instance. It’s now a household name AND it’s easy to search. When you search for Google, almost all of the results will be about the company or people using their services. Made up names work…when they take off.

So, what should you do when you are ready to name your shiny new business? Shoot for something memorable. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, try using commonly used measurement tools to find out how difficult it’ll be to filter out the noise. Use Siri, Google Now or Cortana to check how well the search is understood when you and others search for it. Use Google or other data sources to find words that aren’t commonly used anymore, like valor.

Finally, think about incorporating a function into the company name you choose. It’ll be longer but it will make it more clear to the customer what you do. A few good examples: Kentucky Fried Chicken, International Business Machines, and United Parcel Service. Each of these incorporate something that tells the user what they do and then get narrowed down to letters that everyone recognizes.

Choosing a name for a company in this day and age isn’t easy. Think beyond the way it sounds. If the domain is available now, think about how hard or easy it’ll make measuring success for your company down the road.

Chel Wolverton
Account Manager, Marketing Technology

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