One of the most exciting steps of starting a business or launching a sports team is picking a name. It also comes into play during a rebrand or name change. In either scenario, it’s not just fun, it’s also very important. Luckily, we’ve had some experience with this as we rebranded our organization from U/S Sports Advisors to CHARGE in 2016.
Before you let the excitement take over, there are a few key considerations you’ll need to think about before announcing the rebranding of your team or business.
Research and register. The brainstorm sessions are done and you have your name. That’s great news! Now it’s time to check if anyone else has it. Head to the US Patent and Trademark Office to search for any conflicts. It’s also a good idea to check out potential websites or social media handles you’re hoping to secure. There’s nothing worse than landing on a name, then realizing all the digital touchpoints are in use.
Hire a lawyer. We all know the jokes about lawyers stopping all the fun and slowing things down, but they’re the real MVPs when it comes to this. Find a lawyer with expertise in trademarks and IP (intellectual property) and have them walk you through the process. This may be your first time naming an organization or your fifth, but the lawyers still have the expertise and experience you can count on in this area.
Run it by your supporters. Fan opinions have long been solicited in the naming of teams and some fans have actually picked a name themselves! While that may not be how you want to play it, their opinions still matter. If you have a fan council or local supporters group, consider sharing the name (or final few names) with them confidentially. Don’t just listen to their feedback, but look at the expressions on their faces as you go through each name. Are they excited, uninterested, fired up?
There is a lot to consider when naming a team or business, but keep these three steps in mind. Otherwise you’ll be starting a new exciting venture off on the wrong foot.