6 Questions to Answer Before you Choose a Brand Name for your CBD Company or Cannabis Product Line
Naming your brand is one of the most exciting parts of building a business. But before you finalize your chosen name, there are a few things you should ask yourself first. Not doing so could lead to wasted time and money, not to mention a world of hurt. In this blog post, I’ll share six questions that CEO’s and entrepreneurs should ask themselves before choosing a brand name.
According to Investopedia, a Brand is a name, symbol, or other market that businesses use to distinuish their products from the competitors’ and foster a public identity.
1. Who is the Target Audience?
When you’re starting a business, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is who your target audience is. Choosing an audience that is too broad or too narrow can lead to missed opportunities or wasted resources. That’s why it’s important to understand your targe audience first before choosing a Brand Name. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a target audience for your brand.
Geography plays a key role in determining which target audience is right for your brand. If you are selling a product that requires physical stores, then you will want to focus on customers in areas where you have stores. If your product can be shipped directly to customers, then geography won’t be as much of an issue. If you do choose a brand name using a geography word, ask yourself if you will always be just in that area. Branding yourself to just one area can limit your brand down the road.
You like the brand name “Tampa CBD” for your new retail store. It fits your target market, but you also want to sell online nationwide. Will someone shopping online in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin buy CBD Gummies from “Tampa CBD”? Probably not. Tread cautiously when branding yourself geographically.
Age & Demographics
Age and demographics are also major factors when selecting a target audience. It’s important to know who is most likely going to purchase or use your product or service, so take into consideration age ranges, genders, economic levels, education levels and other demographic factors that might influence purchasing decisions. Knowing this information can help you determine if certain words will resonate with certain age groups or if certain images will appeal more to older or younger generations.
Say you’re opening a gym right next to a huge retirement community. Would you call it “Lit Fitness”? Not if you want people over 40 to come. The senior citizens wouldn’t even understand what the word Lit meant. Instead, maybe your brand name would be “Senior Steps Wellness Center”, “Silver Shapes Fitness”.
Another common example I see, especially with hemp companies selling Delta 8 THC Gummies and Vapes is using brands with misspellings such as “Delta 8 Gummeez” or “Big Budz”. This can be catchy if you’re targeting a younger customer pool. However, it may not appeal to older adults. Also, and I’ll cover this more later in the article, misspellings can cause website traffic to go other places. Here’s a common conversation and we’ll pretend they are talking about “Delta 8 Gummeez (.com)”. Pretend these two people are talking on the phone.
BOB: “Hey Dave. What’s the name of those Delta 8 Gummies you gave me yesterday?”
DAVE: “Oh, yeah. Just go to Delta 8 gummeez dot com.”
BOB hears: “Delta 8 Gummies dot com” and goes to a completely different site.
Knowing your target market is important when choosing a Brand Name for your business. Spend the time now and choose wisely.
Once you know who your target audience is based on geography and demographics, the next step is understanding their psychographics. Psychographics are the characteristics that define people psychologically and emotionally. This includes things like values, interests, lifestyle choices, hobbies, and beliefs. Understanding psychographics can better inform how you craft messages that speak directly to those people’s needs and wants.
You want to market CBD oil to doctors and chiropractors to be sold in their clinics. Would you choose the brand name “Big Budz” or would you choose “Zen Wellness”. Well, of course you’d choose Zen Wellness because it speaks to the interests of those going to medical facilities to improve their wellness.
How To Choose the Right Brand Name for your Target Audience?
Knowing who your target audience is essential when it comes time to decide on a brand name because it helps ensure that the words chosen resonates with that group of people in terms of style, tone, and message delivery. It also helps ensure that any visuals associated with the brand accurately represent its intended customer base as well as its values and mission statement. Taking into consideration your target audience’s geography, age, demographics, and psychographics when selecting a brand name should put entrepreneurs in a better position to reach their desired customer base both now and into the future.
#2 Is the matching .com domain available?
I can’t begin to tell you how important this is. Having a .com domain that matches your brand name is crucial. There are only a few exceptions to this rule which are below.
Why does your domain name need to match your brand name?
Because most people, when they want to find a company’s website, they simply type in the brand name and add a dot com to the end (BrandName.com). Or they will search Google for the brand name and if someone else has the .com domain name, there’s a decent chance they will mistakenly go to that website.
Why is getting .com domain name so important?
Because if you don’t and someone else owns it, they will get a significant amount of traffic from your customers. It’s especially dangerous when they sell similar products or have created a website that’s like yours on purpose.
When is it okay to use another domain extension instead of .com?
There are a few cases where it’s okay to use another extension.
- When the .com domain extension is still available but expensive. For example, let’s say you have two choices for your company, Purple Elephant.
- purpleelephant.com for $3,000
- purpleelephant.co for $15
In this scenario, if you are married to the brand name Purple Elephant, you may want to buy the .co for now with plans to buy the .com as soon as you start making money. What you don’t want to do is choose the .co and allow someone else to buy the .com when it was only $3000.
Now, let’s say the .com was listed for $100,000. That’s okay too because chances are no one is going to buy it.
- Someone in a completely different industry owns the .com domain name. You won’t lose business to that site. However, you will also be competing on google for your brand name as a keyword. Double check how many of their listings take up the first page of Google. If you can never beat those search results, you need to choose another brand name all together because a large part of Google searches is for your brand name.
- You are never planning on doing any eCommerce and your entire target market audience is local. In which case, your Google Business listing which shows up on Google Maps will be on the first page of google long before your website for customers near your business searching for you.
#3 Have you researched your potential Brand Name?
Researching your potential brand name before making a final decision is imperative. Here are several questions to think about before making a final decision.
Is the Brand Name Available?
Does another company use your chosen brand name already? If they are in the same industry, choose another one and move on. If they are in a different industry, see if the .com domain is available, and you’ll need to check to see if there are any Trademarks or Word Marks filed under that brand name.
Has anyone used this brand name in the past?
This could be good or bad. First, Google the brand name to see what comes up. If you find this Brand Name online, do some research to see if the company is still in existence. If not, dig deeper. Were they in the same industry? How was their reputation? Google “(fill in your brand name)” + scam. This should bring up bad reviews to see what sort of reputation you’ll be inheriting. If it’s bad, choose another name. On the flip side, if you get lucky and there’s a bunch of amazing reviews from the same industry, you could be starting a new business with an amazing brand reputation. And if that brand also used the .com domain you’re about to buy, you could even get a ton of backlinks and launch yourself very quickly to the top of Google’s search rankings.
Are there any issues with existing Trademarks or Word Marks?
Double check this at the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO https://www.uspto.gov/ website.
Have you Googled the Brand Name plus words like “scam” or “reviews”
Double-check no one has tarnished this brand name already.
Are there companies using the same or similar name in the same industry?
Will people be able to differentiate our brand from the other similar ones? Is that good or bad?
Does the brand name have any other meanings in other languages?
Prime example. Before we broke off and started Hemp Lively, the owners of Hemp Lively used to be part of ANO (short for Anonymous) CBD. We inherited the name btw. However, I was in Miami at a trade show and a guy started laughing at me. I asked why and he said to me, “Do you know what ANO means in Spanish?” I asked, “What?”. He laughed again and said, “Look it up.” So, I opened Google Translate and this is what it said:
Lesson of the day, open google translate and put in the brand name in Spanish, French, and any other popular language you can think of before finalizing it.
#4 How does the Brand Name portray to others?
Knowing what message your brand name is sending and how others view that message is important. Here are some further questions to dive deeper into discovering your brand's true message and how others perceive it.
How does the Brand Name Sound when said out loud?
Say it aloud. Slow. Quick. Does it sound like anything else. Does it accidentally make other words when you say it quickly. If you someone heard it, would they be able to spell it easily? These are all important.
How does the Brand Name look?
You need to look at two things here. How will the Brand Name look by itself and in a domain name.
Brand Name: Back King
Domain Name: backking.com
Do you see how it looks awkward in the domain and it’s hard to read with the back-to-back “k’s”?
Brand Name: Hemp or None
Domain Name: hempornone.com
The domain name looks more like hem PORN one. Bad Choice.
Also think of your marketing. How will your brand name and domain name be displayed. An easy workaround for weird looking domain names is to capitalize the first letter of each word in the domain on your marketing pieces to display clearly. E.g., BackKing.com & HempOrNone.com
What emotions does your brand name spark?
Close your eyes and have someone say the brand name to you. Say it aloud yourself. What emotions come to mind? Does it bring you happiness and hope or anger and misery?
Is the Name too complicated?
Brand Names need to be simple. The last thing in the world you want from a brand name is to have to explain it to everyone. If you find yourself having to do that, it’s the wrong name. This happens all the time with companies that try to use acronyms in their brand names. They don’t work. You shouldn’t have to explain what the acronym stands for. It should portray the company itself.
For example, my marketing company, which I’ve had for years when I do web design for customers, is called Bizecs, which stands for BIZ E-Commerce Solutions. Way too complicated. My only saving grace is its short and everyone understands if the name has BIZ in it, it must have something to do with Business.
Is the brand name easy to spell if someone only hears it?
If it’s not, don’t use it. You’ll lose traffic from people adding a .com to the correct spelling of the name and going somewhere else. This is also common on commonly misspelled words. If you have one in your brand name, find something similar.
Does my Brand Name match my products?
If it does, great. If your brand name doesn't, it's okay. It doesn’t necessarily have to. That’s the beauty of Branding. You’re advertising and marketing to people, so they’ll always associate your Brand with your Products or Services. What you don’t want to do is have it completely contradict the product.
For example, if your erectile dysfunction pills, do you want your brand name to be called “Soft Touch”. No, your brand should be called “Hard Times”.
Does my Brand Name Match my target audience?
Think of Age, Demographics, Psychographics, and Geography. Would my target audience understand my brand and how it’s associated with my products. If they don’t it’s okay as long as the brand doesn’t contradict the product or target audience. A brand can be anything. Purple Elephant CBD oil for example. Purple Elephant has nothing to do with CBD or cannabis. However, it’s memorable for the target audience and doesn’t negate the product. It also can be extremely visual, both mentally and within your logo and other branding.
Can my brand name be confused with any other brands easily?
You always want to make sure you’re not branding your company just to help another company. Let’s say there’s an established CBD company called FX CBD. It’s on the first page of Google all over for several keywords. Don’t make your brand NOFX CBD. It’s too similar and he’s way ahead of you in the rankings. You will do him more benefit than yourself.
Is my brand name memorable?
Is your Brand easy to remember? When someone hears it, do they easily remember it or visually picture something associated with it. For example, say your brand is called “Semper Fi Hemp”. Instantly we associate it with Marines and the military, and I’d guess their target audience is US Veterans. I can even picture the Logo.
Can I live with this brand name forever?
I can’t answer this for you. Not if, but when, your company is successful, it’s going to be too late to change the brand name without hurting your business. Make sure your chosen brand name does not limit you in any aspect and its verbiage is clever, memorable, and something you can live with. Try not to pick words that go in and out of style such as “groovy”. You may regret it in about 10 years.
#5 What limitations does my brand name have?
Brand Names that limit a company to a specific industry, product type, location, city, or time can be detrimental as a company grows and expands. Put thought not into where you are now, but where you plan to be when choosing an amazing brand name for your company. Here are several types of limitations which can be imposed by choosing a brand name incorrectly.
Does it limit me to a certain industry?
Using words like CBD, Hemp, and canna from being effective at selling other types of non-cannabis products. If Hemp Lively wanted to sell protein powder (without CBD in it), we’d probably have to think up a better brand name than Hemp Lively for that product line.
Does it limit me to a particular product or product type?
Limiting your brand name to an entire industry is fine. However, limiting your brand name to a particular product type is detrimental in most cases. For example, if my brand was called “Canna Gummies”, it would look silly to sell “Canna Gummies Delta 8 Vape Carts”.
Does it limit me to a certain cannabinoid?
Using the word CBD and Delta 8 in your company name can limit you to just CBD products or just Delta 8 products, at least from a customer’s point of view. If they’re on google and see that Hemp Lively or FX CBD sells Delta 8 Gummies, they’ll probably click on Hemp Lively instead of a CBD company. Using a cannabinoid in your brand name says that you specialize in that cannabinoid. It also infers that you may not specialize in other cannabinoids, even if you sell them.
Does it limit me to a location or city?
If it’s an extremely popular city like NYC, Compton, or Miami where everyone in the USA can relate somehow to it, then using a city or other location can be advantageous. However, if my brand name was “Decatur CBD”, someone in another city probably would choose another brand. Even if you’re starting out locally, think big. Will you eventually sell nationwide in stores or online? If so, don’t limit yourself with a restricting brand name.
Does it limit me to a time or year?
Have you ever seen a movie that’s about the Future in the year 2020. It’s not so relevant anymore is it, since 2020 has literally passed. Stay away from including a time period or year in your brand name, unless it’s a temporary brand made only for that time period.
#6 How do people react to my brand name when it's said out loud?
I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me super excited about their new company and when they said the name, I completely cringed. I’m no spokesperson because I’ve done this myself, then realized how wrong I was once I slept on it and looked at it a few days later. The point here is, when you’re emotionally involved in a creative process, you can become blind. You’re always going to love it the best. However, in business, what you think doesn’t really matter (sorry). It’s what other people think that’s going to make sales.
So, try them out. Ask a group of people what they think about a short list of Brand Names you’ve chosen. Don’t tell them what the business is, just tell them the brand names and have them tell you what they think the business is. Ask which one is most memorable. How did each one make them feel? And so on. Make their feedback about a third of your decision. With the rest split between your opinion and technical aspects like past SEO, less competition, and length.
Choosing a brand name is one of the most important decisions any entrepreneur must make when starting their own CBD business venture. It’s essential that this process involves careful consideration of all factors such as target audience, company values, competitor analysis & memorability for it to be successful & effective. Otherwise, there may be serious consequences down the line such as attracting the wrong target audience and ineffective marketing because it doesn’t match the brand. Take time and really think things through before finalizing any decisions. Getting an effective brand name that speaks directly to your target audience could mean all the differences between failure and success! Thanks for reading & best wishes on your journey ahead!!