Brand Naming: When Time Equals Money

In Building a Brand by Distility2828 Comments

At Distility we are passionate about delivering branding at the speed of business rather than at the typical glacial speed of other branding agencies and consultants. To make this possible, we developed Distility 1day1brand which allows our customers to develop their brand strategy in one day. We have also developed design and digital workflows to permit our customers to launch (not simply design) their new brand systems (wordmarks, taglines, websites, business systems, etc) in two to three months following their Distility 1day1brand workshop. We have mastered how to get branding done quickly without sacrificing quality. But there is one instance when we urge our clients to budget a good long time: company naming or product naming.

Three Reasons To Take Time with Brand Naming

We get calls from organizations looking to rename in time for an event or launch in one to two months. We caution them that using such a rapid renaming deadline is high risk and high cost. We urge them to take the time needed to allow enough time for name development, but importantly to ensure trademark protection, fraud prevention and domain acquisition.

1. Brand Name Trademark Protection

You need to allow sufficient time for a trademark review of your proposed new brand name to ensure (i) you aren’t infringing another brand’s trademark and (ii) you can get trademark protection for the new brand name. Failure on either can be an enormously costly misstep.

Ultimately, having a trademark application rejected is never good. For an early stage start-up that isn’t even marketing yet, it is a big pain to have to change your name. For a brand that is in the market, and has been using the rejected trademark, it is a full-on marketing disaster.

In terms of potential infringement, it is vital to remember that a trademark can be based on usage and need not be based on a registered trademark. You face trademark infringement risk if another organization is using the brand name for a similar purpose, and this risk exists even if they have no website and zero search engine hits. The upshot is that you should ensure that your legal team has the time they need to do required due diligence, apply for a registered trademark and get back meaningful results.

2. Domain Name Acquisition

If you need a short “.com” domain name (or URL), then additional time can allow significant domain name acquisition cost savings.

Some brands cannot afford to be without a short “.com” domain name. It is essential to their business. In addition, they need a domain name that is easy to pronounce, easy to read and easy to spell. This means they will likely need to negotiate the purchase of that domain name; it is unlikely that the desired short .com domain is unregistered. Allowing additional time to secure a desirable domain name can mean that, instead of paying $100,000 (or more) for that domain name, you might end up paying a fraction of that amount. Added time gives tremendous negotiating leverage; you can investigate the cost of multiple domain names, negotiate with more than one party on different names and not be under pressure to secure one domain name at any price.

3. Domain Name Fraud Protection

“Phishing” is the fraudulent activity where criminals will create a fake website that look and feel like the real thing. After the fake website has been created, then through email, instant messaging, or other online tricks, the fraudsters get unsuspecting customers to share private information, or download nasty software designed to steal your customer’s assets or identity. For prominent brands that have customers which fraudsters may want to target, owning “defensive registrations” means owning domain names that look like yours, but are not exact matches. For instance, through an instant message, you would be encouraged to click on “” instead of “” (notice the missing “m” in the first domain).

Allowing extra time for naming, gives you extra time to negotiate and obtain domain names (URLs) that could be used to mislead your customers.

Brand Name – Essential Brand Marketing Asset

Your brand name is an essential brand marketing asset. Decisions about naming or renaming are the most important brand marketing decision your organization will make. Ensure that you allow enough time to do it right.

The amount of time which we recommend budgeting for brand naming or brand renaming will depend on the situation of your brand. We work with our clients to help them balance their time and budget requirements for naming. Please see our post “What is Your Company Naming Strategy” to help you consider your brand naming needs.

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