We went through the road map of setting up your own photography business, a while ago, today we will discuss something equally important, directly related with starting your business in this field, without which it is impossible for you to shine in the market, and get as many clients and work as any entrepreneur would love to. It is the NAME for your photography business.
Not JUST a Name:
You see, naming a business is not a matter that should be left for the last or given less importance, because it is actually the first thing which will make you known to people. Which will let the market acknowledge you and your work. It becomes your identity.
This is why a brand and a product are never treated as something equal. A product is what you provide for the clients – or you may call it service, in this case – but, a brand, it is what is in the mind of the clients. It is something for which they will be ready to pay extra. And this extra money, will never be for the product or the service itself, but for the perception and class they find in your product / service, which makes it a brand, and makes your identity prominent.
So, while naming your photography business, or any business for that matter, keep in mind that you need to give it a Brand Name and not just a name, if you want it to become promising, lasting and most importantly a brand. A brand name can be based on a single term, symbol or design, or it can be a combination of them all, which must signify the services you offer and differentiate you from your competitors. Should be iconic, simple and independent.
Have You Done Your Homework?
What I call homework here has a lot to do with all that we went through in the photography business post. At least the basic research, fulfillment of the essentials, mandatory requirements and all that, are required for naming. Yes, I did write above that you should not leave the name game for last, but there are some things and facts you do need to get straight before you begin with finding the most suitable name for your business. Knowing these things will make the process less confusing and brainstorming will be much easier too.
Some of the things can be:
What do you offer with this business?
What is it that the clients get while working with you which they could not have gotten anywhere else?
What is your unique selling proposition? USP in other words. Anything which differentiates you from others out there in the same market as you?
Are you following any particular way of segmentation? That is, if you are a fashion photographer for example, are you focusing on aspiring models, designers or is it the fashion magazines you are interested in the most? Or did you go deeper into considering the following thoroughly?
- Age factor
- Family Status
- Residence Location
- Work Location
- Likes / Dislikes
- Values and so on.
What are your competitors doing? What approach have they taken with their names? Are they following the same pattern as most people do with their names or have they gone for something unique and catchy? If they have done this, how can you come up with something even better and totally different to stand out among them all is what you should think about.
Your target audience and the genre you have chosen for yourself are equally important to consider. For they are the ones who will be your prime concern.
Your pricing and positioning matters too. Would you like to go for an “exclusive” kind of brand personality or would you like to stay more on the average side?
All these things that I mentioned are some of those essentials I was talking about that you must know prior to your name search. If you have time then you should definitely read our post on business of photography also, to get a better idea of all this in detail.
Your Own Name
This is one of the most common ways to give your business a name. And it definitely has a few drawbacks also. When you go Google your own name, it is always very likely that you will find several other people owning businesses with that or a similar name. Unless of course if you have a unique name you do not need to pay attention to what I just said, but for people who have a very common name, you are in for some work.
You sort of lose the aspect of distinctiveness and in today’s world your individuality is what gets you more recognition. I am not saying that you should completely refrain from going with your name but if you are looking for something more creative, keep reading!
Explore Other Languages
This is a pretty cool idea to try. You can think of a word that means something to you and search for the same in other languages. This can make your brand appear cultured and foreign, and they’ll definitely land you with a unique brand image.
Where You Live
This might sound really boring, but it has some benefits attached. You would want for your brand to show up easily and at the top of all search engines. And the name of towns and places are so common that it actually becomes an advantage when it comes to keywords and search engine results and more business. Although, you will have to make sure no one else in the town already owns something in the same category with the same name.
This is more on the creative and fun side. It allows your mind to wander freely in wider boundaries and you can do so much here. There is a brainstorming trick I am sharing next that works really well with this one and which actually makes sure your random does not end up being exactly that – random – in fact no, it is so fool proof that even the random things come out polished and loaded with a meaning when it goes through all the process that trick is based on.
Now let’s head on to the tricks that will help you come up with unique names.
Using Mind Maps Effectively
Once you understand how to take notes in Mind Map format, you can develop your own principles for taking them further. The subsequent suggestions can help you draw impactful Mind Maps.
Use Single Words or Simple Phrases. Many words in normal writing are padding, as they ensure that facts are conveyed in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In Mind Maps, single strong words and short, meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the Mind Map.
The 40 Box Rule
This is a very valuable way to reach good decisions. It is a bit lengthy but works really well when your mind is block and you feel like you can’t come up with anything good, try this trick and you will be amazed by its ability to get a whole stock of ideas out of you.
Make a grid of 40 boxes on a sheet. Start writing / drawing one idea in one box. For this part focus only on quantity. Right now, you only have to fill up the 40 boxes with whatever name that comes to you, regardless of it being nice or making sense. Take inspiration from things you see around you, things you like, stuff that matters to you the most, things that are relevant to your photography genre, related to photography in general and so on. Just let the randomness flow without hesitation.
Once you are done with filling up all the boxes, try and merge these ideas and names with each other and see if there are any two words you wrote that sound brilliant when put together. Or they can inspire you to form another better name. Judge the ideas and shortlist them to 20, this time focusing on quality.
When you have the 20 best or favorite names separated, keep short listing them further and finally select the 1 that defeats all. Or repeat the process until you get something to your satisfaction.
Remember To Consider:
The thoughts and emotions someone feels when they see your logo. Does it actually appeal to your target audience? Is it delivering the right message?
Be sure to double check if the name is readable in terms of linguistic difficulty / technical language. Is everyone able to pronounce it easily or it causes trouble when someone tries to say it too fast? Try to make it as short and crisp as possible, for such names are easier to remember.
Keep it simple stupid
When you are selecting the name, keep in mind that you will be making a logo out of it – a memorable one at that. So stick to the one which will be most legible when you incorporate it into the logo design and simple enough so that it has a good recall value – easy to decipher and easy to remember.
Know what it means
Do YOU know what your brand name means? Or what your whole logo means for that matter? Even your random should have a logic going behind it. If there is a dot in your logo, you must have a concrete reason behind that mere dot, which will not exactly be “mere” anymore and that is the point. Show people how serious you are that you even took time to put so much thought behind just your brand identity / logo – “think of how serious and good this person might be with his work!”
Do not over do it though. Your name and the collective logo should have a meaning but that does not mean you overdose it with a handful of concepts that it loses the essence and whatever that you really wanted to represent, just diminishes underneath all that weight of other things on top. Remember, keep it simple stupid!
Get the tone right
Okay, this is important fellas. Many a times It happens that even when you have tried your hardest to give your logo a meaning and a proper logical explanation to go with it, it still does not convey the same thing to the audience as you had thought. For example, you meant for it to sound sweet but instead it got rather too cutesy for most of the audience’s taste and they made an image of you – the owner – being an immature or say unprofessional in their heads.
So, focus on getting the tone right as well. If it is supposed to be sweet then that is exactly how it should sound to me. If it is supposed to sound posh then not in anyway should your audience feel like you got a bit too arrogant there.
Make it future-proof
You want your business to flourish and prosper and all that, but just think for a second, how would – let’s say – Cutie Pie Photography sound a few years from now, when you have grown in your line of services, you have become the BOSS and have people running under you and all the works that come with fame? Er… yeah, not so classy!
This is why you must pick out a name that is FUTURE PROOF, note the emphasis people, it is just so important to keep in mind while you are at it, because although no one can stop you from changing the name later, but that comes with a lot of things kept at stake, identity recognition from scratch for instance. The previous name had made its place in people’s minds all over who-knows-till-where-you-had-reached! Therefore it is always better to keep a check on such things during the first time rather than getting disturbed by them at a later stage.
Plan your logo redesign
It means to have your logo designed in a few different ways, like planning what shape, size, look or feel it can be transformed into somewhere in the future, if need be, while still remaining close to the origin it was born with, embracing the same meaning it held the first time. It is like planning the evolution of your brand identity and checking if it does have that potential to be changed without having to change the soul beneath it, something like what Coca Cola and Pepsi did. Have you seen the evolution of their logos from the beginning till now? If not then be sure to get a look at that!
Try giving your name a double meaning. Have you come across such brand names and taglines that when you read them at first, they tell you one thing, but a while later you realize… oh wait, did they mean, this other thing that I think they meant? And the answer is yes! They did mean that other thing as well as the first plain meaning. But this time, this was deliberate and a well thought calculated approach.
It is a bit tricky but if you think you can pull it off nicely, go ahead and give it a shot. Before finalizing though, run it through a test of asking as many people as you can to make sure they do get it.
The name you are choosing should be something that is easy to find a website domain for. Think of the horror when you find out that the name you went through so much for is not available to you as a domain. But, fear not friends, this was exactly the reason I have suggested to you these brainstorming tools, which will make sure you end up with something totally unique, that which no one already owns anything with!
So, these were some tips I could offer to help you with creating and choosing a cool name for your photography business. But, all of this does not in any way mean it is mandatory that only people who go through these steps will get loads of clients and work. Nope, this is just a way to set yourself off on the right track for future prosperity.
It is always possible that people who never did anything like this and started off just like that will be earning bags full of money and fame because they were great at personal skills and networking. These two things can get you to more places than a name. Hence, as you choose that one perfect name for your business, do not forget that it works best when you combine it with great P.R skills – get them polished too!