6 Essential Naming Tips for African Businesses
Note: This is a guest post. To learn how to submit guest articles to Startup Tips Daily Media, we recommend you read the guidelines listed here.
The numbers don’t lie – the entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing across Africa. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor recently released a report looking at the global state of entrepreneurship. Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, and Angola were all in the top ten countries with the highest percentage of early-stage entrepreneurial activity.
While an impressive startup culture provides you with great resources to get your own business off the ground, you might also be concerned about these impressive statistics. Principally, how do you distinguish yourself from the thousands of other startups in your region?
In a competitive start-up market like those that exist in sub-Saharan Africa, the power of your name can not be understated. Your name is the face of your brand, and it’s the first impression people get of your company.
If you’re creating a startup in Nigeria, Zambia, or many other countries across the continent, the perfect name will provide a huge advantage.
To help you out, here are five naming insights from the team at naming platform Squadhelp:
1). Keep your name simple:
Great names are easy to say, spell, and remember. Being memorable lies at the very heart of naming, and names that are difficult to pronounce or spell must be eliminated from your list at once. Difficult names will likely cause referral and branding problems in the future. The easier information is to process, the more our brains are naturally drawn to it and the more we tend to like it.
2). Make your name evocative:
Online naming resources recommend catchy, unique, short and appealing names. However, after helping nearly 10,000 individuals find winning names, experts at Squadhelp found that one characteristic trumps the others – being evocative.
A name should inspire a powerful response from your target audience. It could bring up an idea in someone’s mind that’s relevant to brand messaging, or it could elicit an appropriate emotional reaction. For example, the name Flare (a smartphone-based ambulance service in Kenya) immediately evokes the sense of urgency surrounding an emergency call.
3). Appeal to your target audience:
Make a name that your target audience will love to use. When coming up with a name, don’t try to appeal to everyone. It’s likely you’ll end up with something too generic. A name like Dr CADx, a Zimbabwe-based medical image diagnosis system, won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s likely that the target audience of doctors and hospital administrators would connect with the name.
4). Take context into account:
It’s easier to judge a name’s power when it’s placed in context. As an entrepreneur, you know it is essential to define the purpose, benefits, and objectives of your project before you name it. A great question to ask yourself is “Do I want this brand to fit in or stand out?”
For instance, certain industries, like the tech industry, have commonly used naming structures. If you wish to align with industry norms, you’ll use the pre-existing structures, like Egypt-based Instabug chose to do. If you want to stand outside the norms, you’ll steer away from those customs, choosing to stand out with something edgier. Neither choice is right or wrong – each simply has a different effect.
5). Look at linguistics:
In the naming industry, there are many stories of international companies whose name turned out to have an offensive meaning in another language. Even manufacturing giants like Gerber have erred in this department – their product encountered some difficulties in French-speaking countries across Africa, as “gerber” means vomit in French.
You can see why names must be checked for linguistic conflicts.
6). Check URL availability:
Squadhelp has found that URL availability is the biggest naming roadblock entrepreneurs face while developing a great name. Outside of URL availability, your name has major legal implications. Trademark battles are not fun, so do your due diligence and make sure your name doesn’t infringe on established trademarks.
A great name will help your startup to attract and retain customers and create an unforgettable brand–and with these tips, you’ll be on the road to that perfect name that will help you stand out in Africa’s competitive startup market.
About The Writer
This is a guest blog post submitted by Grant Polachek. He is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp—transforming the way names, logos, and taglines are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.” His book How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything is available to StartupTipsDaily readers for free.
Note: This article has been edited for style and substance.
If you’ll like to submit guest blog posts like this to startuptipsdaily.com, please read the guidelines listed here.
What are your thoughts on this 6 essential naming tips for African businesses? Let me know by leaving a comment below.