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Naming and Branding A New Business: Part I

This past year my mind has definitely been in “Parry” mode, and now that I can finally talk about it I figured I’d go into some of the things I learned during the pre-launch.

When starting a new business, once you are clear on the product (or service) you’re going to be offering, the name and branding are next on the list. This is at least how I think of it. Once you know the product the next stage is finding a name that fits the product/business, accompanied with a brand that aligns with that and speaks to your target customer.

I feel like names are notoriously hard. You (usually) want something that has some meaning or significance to the brand/business and ideally it’s easy to spell and pronounce. On top of that, you then (should) check if there are any trademark issues. While this last step isn’t necessary, in my opinion, it’s definitely something you should think of when launching a new business. Later down the road you don’t want to have to change your name or rebrand due to trademark issues. If you’re not familiar, the USPTO website is a great place to do a preliminary search to see whether the name you’re thinking of is taken or not (after that I would definitely hire a trademark attorney to look into your name further and file for the actual trademark). Keep in mind, there is only a conflict is someone has the same (or even similar sounding/spelling) name in the same niche/space. So if there is a restaurant called “Parry”, that doesn’t conflict with the app “Parry” because they are in two totally different classes.

Some of you asked how the name Parry was decided on – I’ll share how Stephen and I decided on it and hopefully this helps get the ideas going for your business. For starters, we knew that we wanted a name that was discreet in nature. We wanted there to be some meaning and significance behind the name without it being obvious what the product was. This approach may be fitting for your brand but alternatively, you may want a name that is more obvious to what you do as a brand. A great example of this is Away (the suitcase/travel brand). I also think it’s important that you have a name that is easy to spell and pronounce. Now, I would have never used “Guentz” in the naming for the app because the app isn’t about me but that would not be a good name to use haha. It works for my blog because I am the brand, but I personally wouldn’t choose a name like that for a business that isn’t directly related to me. It’s very hard to pronounce and spell haha.

So when it came to naming Parry – we first made a list of everything the app/concept represented. Then we brainstormed names that were associated with those adjectives. In the process of doing that and looking up synonyms, we discovered the word “parry”. As soon as we came across Parry, we felt really good about it. Most importantly, the meaning behind Parry is to “ward off (a weapon or attack) with a countermove” so the definition was exactly what the app was intended to do. But, few people know what the word “parry” actually means so it exactly what we were going for. We also loved how it sounded (short and easy to pronounce), we loved how it looks aesthetically (me more than Stephen haha). And while we’re still waiting for our trademark to get approved (8 months later), the name appeared to be trademark-able (according to our trademark attorney) in our category. So all those factors combined, we felt like Parry was the perfect name. I took a screenshot of my notes below so you can literally see where we started in terms of listing out what the app did in order to then get to possible names:

Alright so hopefully this helps in terms of coming up with a name for your business. One thing I would also say is that it will probably take you a while to come up with one. To get to Parry it took many brainstorming sessions, checking the USPTO site, etc – and a lot of times the best names come to you when you least expect it. Sara Blakely said that Spanx came to her years after having the prototype – she was driving around and all the sudden it popped into her head. For you, think of where you think of your best ideas. Maybe it’s driving, in the shower, I know for me it’s right as I’m falling asleep haha. So maybe that will help come up with a name faster if you know what you’re doing when you get your best thoughts 😉

Ready for part II? Read here on how to come up with the right branding!

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