x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Manar Al Hinai: simple significance of finding the right company name

What's in a name? Well it's something that really matters when it comes to branding your business.

What’s in a name? We often take this matter for granted. Every day we are introduced to numerous names, whether they belong to people or retail stores. Some are forgotten the minute we hear them, while others make a lasting impact and resonate with us forever.

In the former years of the Arabian Gulf, if a child was born sick the family would change his or her name to that with a positive connotation, such as Salem, which means safe from harm, in hopes that the name change would alter the child’s destiny. Our ancestors seem to have got it right all along, even before businesses realised how a name could affect their success and their customers’ loyalty.

Think about it. How many times were you intrigued by a business simply because it had a catchy name? Believe it or not, people can even find those with certain names more attractive and smarter than others.

A study by Richard Wiseman, a professor at Hertfordshire University, revealed that people often associate names with those who are rich in famous. For instance, those who are called Sophie or Ryan are considered attractive, while women named Elizabeth are perceived to be successful.

I met a colleague of my sister a couple of years ago whose name was Luqman. In the Quran, there is a story of a good man named Luqman The Wise. Luqman was a wise man who gave his son great life advice. I never met anyone with that name before, and I wondered if this individual shared some of his namesake’s wisdom and intelligence. And he did – he was by far one of the most intellectual and intelligent people I have met. I never saw a young man at the age of 19 who had that much knowledge and wisdom.

After that meeting, I was reminded about the power of a name and its importance when branding a business. Celebrities seem to understand best the importance of a name and its power to attract customers and fans, especially since they are brands themselves. For instance, the birth name of the American singer and artist Queen Latifa is Dana Owen. Now, which name is more appealing to you?

So what guidelines should one consider when naming their business? There are numerous marketing advices out there, but most agree on the following:

Keep it short and simple. Long names might look pretty, but they are difficult to remember. Think about the places that the name will appear: web addresses, street advertisement or perhaps a motorway banner.

People need to be able to read it and type it down in a matter of seconds. Your business name should be easily spelt, and thus easy to find on search engines and phone directories.

Create a visual element. What pops into your customers’ minds when they hear your business’s name? Does it present your desired image? Does it make them think about what you want them to think about it? People often translate words heard to visual images in their minds, and that is why the right name is critical to your brand’s image

Your name should say what you’re all about. If possible, include a glimpse of your business in your brand name so that your potential customers could know more about you. If you own a hair salon business, maybe it’s wise to include the words beauty, hair or body in your business name.

Create a positive connotation. This can be created through the name itself, or through the branding guidelines: fonts, colour and visuals. Your business name should have a positive connotation that you want people to associate with your business and that would attract them to deal with you. For example, if you are starting a limousine service, you do not want to give it a name such as “Cute Puppies Transport”.

Last but not least, when you are the thinking of a business name, choose one that will stick with you. Sure, customers do like change, be it new products, new flavours or a new location. But when it comes to a business name, it has to remain consistent. As much as people are on the lookout for the new kid on the block, they like businesses with a history.

A name, as simple a concept as it is, could make it or break it for a business. Perhaps it is time to stop and give it the attention it deserves.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai