Guest post by Pia Cato
You’re 100% certain that you want to start a cake business, you have identified your niche, you’re ready to start telling the world. But wait, you haven’t created a name!
You may question why I am writing about naming your business before creating a business plan. Well the naming process, the identity creation, will help you decide what you want. It will help your cake business come alive and make it ten times easier to visualise when you come to put pen to paper and write your business plan.
What is branding?
The name, logo, font, colours all make up part of the branding of your business; basically the front door to your new venture. While the activity of naming your business is fun and explains to the world who you are. The overall branding of a business is so much more. It is the essence of your business, the look, the feel, the language and the emotion. It is everything that it touches.
So how do you go about creating a brand that encompasses all of this. Well sometimes it’s easy and it is literally like switching on a light bulb, other times it takes a little more thinking.
Let’s start with the name
When deciding on your business name, question everything and get clear on what you do and don’t want. Ask yourself if you would like:
- A name that “does-what-it-says-on-the-tin”?
- An abstract name?
- A name with a nod to your family heritage?
- A name that includes your first name?
I remember when I started thinking about a name for my bakery business I specifically wanted something that didn’t have my given names in it, but I did want the name to have something to do with cakes/baking. One of my favourite exercises I used to help find my name and the basis of my business’s branding was Word Association. I wrote down exactly how I saw my business, it ended being a massive list of all the sounds, colours, smells, feelings, tastes, aspirations, loves, wants that I wanted for my business. It was very exciting and through it I discovered the name for my business, The Vanilla Pod Bakery.
To start your Word Association journey simply grab a piece of paper or open a new word document (it doesn’t need to be fancy) and start writing every single thing around what you want business to represent and how you see it in your mind’s eye.
For example. Mandy is starting a cupcake business, she lives by the seaside and wants to create a name that represents her love of the sea and sugary treats.
She writes down the following: Summer, Blue, Seagulls, Fresh, Hot, Salt, Ice-cream, Bunting, Clouds, Beach, Beach Huts, White, Cream, Holiday, Relaxed, Waves, Fish, Stripes, Sugar, Candy Colours, Vanilla, Promenade, Boats, Happiness, Cute, British, Red, Fun, Sunshine, Strawberries, Ice Lollies, Lemonade…etc.
Can you picture Mandy’s business? What name would you give it? (Let me know in the comments box below).
You may need to do this exercise a couple of times but it is fantastic in really defining what you want and bringing what is in your head to life. From the word association exercise you could always create a mood board with images of what you wrote down. Pinterest is great for this.
Once you have come up with a couple of potential business names, test them with your friends and family. Which names roll off the tongue better, which name feels more like you, which name do you prefer and what type of emotion or memories do the potential names bring up.
Top Tip: Check if the domain is available for your ideal business name. With the internet being such a huge part of business these days, it is vital that if you go down the website route it is easy to find. Dot com websites still seem to be the holy grail of domains with country domain names coming in a close second.
Adding a strapline
Now this is not vital but it will help set you apart from your competitors and ingrain your business into the minds of your potential customers. A strapline is essentially a short piece of text that summarises what your business stands for.
Marmite – “Love it or hate it”
HSBC – “The World’s Local Bank”
Nike – “Just Do It”
These examples are short and snappy, and while they do not sum up everything about the company they do give a general idea about the philosophy of the company. Nike is all about action while HSBC is a global bank with a friendly service, and marmite polarises opinions.
Adding in the Details
Now it is time to bring it all together. You have chosen a name, a strapline and identified how you want it to be represented but you need to add in the little details that make it visually appealing and create the tone of your business.
Consistency is key with the details and I suggest creating a set of branding guidelines so that you appear professional from the word go. Branding guidelines are short documents explaining all about the fonts you use, the colours you use, the tone and style of your business’s language, as well as how to you use your logo, to even what filters you use on your instagram posts. It is there to help you send a consistent message to your customers and potential customers.
Go Forth and Create!
So are you ready to go forth and create your business name and put your branding guidelines in place. Have fun and be sure to come back next month when I will be talking all about creating a business plan.