In this second part of the brandable domains mini-series (Part 2 of 4), I would like to brush a little bit on both; identifying brandable domains and ways to get inspired for brand ideas.
Identifying a brandable domain
It’s important to first understand that not all brandable domains are created equal. There are multiple brand niches to choose from. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself and invest in all of them at once without any research. I would suggest starting with just 1 or 2 (Max) niches within brandables. Spreading yourself too thin too early is never good. Focus on what you can handle and then spread out from there later once you get the hang of it.
Abbreviations (a shortened form of a word or phrase.) – There are good and bad abbreviations, however, even with bad abbreviations, while they may not be ideal for branding, they still may have value in the shortness of characters. Let’s look at a few examples of abbreviation brandables. Here’s some examples of good ones.
- GAL (Gallon) – This one’s a clear abbreviation and happens to also be pronounceable.
- CATEG (Category) – This one’s a clear abbreviation and happens to also be pronounceable.
- Ave – (Avenue) – This one’s a clear abbreviation and happens to also be pronounceable.
Acronyms (an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word) – Very similar to abbreviations, there are both; good and bad acronyms to invest in. However, due to the shortness of characters, there may still be value in a bad brandable acronym. Here’s some examples of good ones.
- ANI (Age Not Important) – Pronounceable and brandable
- MAT (Mechanical Assessment Technique) – Pronounceable and brandable
- DIY (do it yourself) – Pronounceable and brandable
For abbreviation and acronym ideas, the following source seems to have an ample selection: Here
Dictionary Words (Single words that appear in an officially recognized dictionary) – single words (Or generics) like this can work well sometimes as a brandable, however, keep in mind that being a dictionary word by itself may also have added value. Here are a few examples of single words in use today as brands.
- Apple – An American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, a suburb of San Jose, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.
- Scorpion – Manufactures and sells operator-friendly makeup and breakout machines / hydraulic tongs that increase the safety and efficiency of resource drilling operations by replacing unsafe procedures and equipment.
Unique Pronounceable (Single words that are not in a dictionary and made up to be unique) – Creating a unique pronounceable word that isn’t found or used by anyone else seems to be a popular branding strategy. Companies striving to not have their identity confused with anyone else generally go down this road. Here are a few examples of good ones.
- Nexium – Pharmaceutical that can treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can also lower the risk of bleeding after endoscopy in patients with ulcers.
- Google – An American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware.
Multi-Word (2 or more words used to create an identity) – This has also been a very popular branding strategy since the beginning of businesses. Not all word combinations have value. As a matter of fact, most don’t. Here are a few examples of good ones.
- Coca-Cola – A carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton
- Scorpion Agency – A vector based graphics design company that specializes in corporate identity/branding (E.g. Logo, mascot, caricature, illustration, etc).
- YouTube – An American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim
Real Name (The use of a real name) – This form of branding is common amongst artists, law firms, and freelancers. here are a few good examples below.
- Hewlett-Packard – Was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California
- Frank A. Rubino, Esq., PA – dedicated to the defense of complex criminal defense matters in federal courts throughout the United States, as well as in international courts around the world.
There may be a few more categories to consider in brandables, however, the above are the most popular categories which should get you headed in the right direction.
Getting Inspiration For A New Brand Name
Now that we have the basics covered above, let’s move on to how you get your creative juices flowing. Inspiration is important throughout life, from the first step you take to your first corporation. Keeping a focus on brandable domain investing, I have put together a short checklist of things you can do to get inspired.
- Thesaurus – This is actually a great way to brainstorm and find a bunch of nice synonyms and related words.
- Glossaries – Just about every industry has some popular slang/lingo. Comb through some of your target market glossaries for playful slang/lingo ideas.
- Search Engines – This is the most obvious way to brainstorm. However, for the best results, you have to get creative. Example: If you are targeting a coffee shop niche brand, think of a few words or phrases that express your feelings towards the smell or taste. Then comb through a few pages until you are able to piece together a potential brand.
- Song Lists – Believe it or not, some of the most creative words and phrases you may run into are in the music industry. Scan through a few song title lists to see what I mean. See if you can challenge yourself to come up with a catchy one or two word song title of your own (Don’t copy anyone word for word) that can be used as your brand.
- Pictures – When in doubt, search photos related to your target niche. When people said that a photo is worth a thousand words, they weren’t kidding. You can literally stare at a picture and find triggers everywhere that could transform into a brand name easily. You’ll need to open up your mind and look at even the smallest details of the photo. For example, if you were targeting florists or even the rose lady that walks into bars at night selling single roses to half-drunk patrons, a picture of a rose may make you think of words like; red, thorns, green, stem, vibrant, water drop, aromatic, silky, delicate, edible, sent, attractive, etc. You may also want to look at bar pictures, repeat the process, and then find a word from both pictures that fits together nicely.
- Work backward – Start with your marketing message to potential customers/clients. You can then extract meaningful words to build the brand. This may also help with keeping your brand targeted to your product/service.
- Change The Spelling – It can get pretty funny doing this method, but it does work. Changing an “S” to a “Z” or adding another letter. Some people like the idea of an “i” or “e” in front of a word. Maybe try adding an “o” on the end of a word (E.g. Start = Starto).
- Research Competition – It’s important that you know what your competitors are doing and how they got to where they are today. Research 5 to 10 of your direct competitors to see how they branded them self.
- Online Tools – There is a plethora of online tools that can help you navigate different ideas. Some tools are completely automated and will spit out ideas based on the variables you give it. You can google terms like “Brandable domain suggestion tool”, “Domain suggestion tool”, etc. to find and research what tools may work best for you.
- Ask your potential customers – A simple, but very effective way to get ideas is to ask other people for their opinions. The best people to ask would obviously be those that would fit in your ideal customer demographic.
The above list is only of a few of the more popular methods of brainstorming and getting inspired. It should be enough to get you headed in the right direction.
Stay tuned for part 3 of 4. I should hopefully have that ready for publishing within the next couple days.
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Since 1996, Eric has managed companies with 240+ employees, online communities with over 1 million members, attended numerous industry related events/conventions and has personally worked with start-ups, personalities, small mom and pop businesses, corporations, freelancers, news outlets, and a variety of domain investors one-on-one from all over the world. That equates to a lot of years behind the scenes with his fingers firmly on the pulse of multiple industries.
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