Choosing a brand name and tagline for a start-up business

Grow with the pros 2 brand names and taglines

An exciting part of launching any business is establishing the tone of voice and personality of the brand. Having gone a way down the track, our experienced entrepreneurs have had time to refine that personality, put it to use in different ways and to test the limits of its identity.

We caught up with Lorna Minter, Matt Davis and Christine Wyatt to relive those journeys and talk through the reasons behind their decisions when it came to their brand name and tagline.

Make a name for yourself

Your name is often your first branding decision, and the first impression you make on your audience. It’s a challenge to sum up your product, service and ethos in a simple, snappy handle. Our three businesses have taken different routes to arrive at their brand names, from precise, to personal, to practical.

Cookies & Cones

Our most “on the nose” example is certainly Cookies & Cones. The name leaves you in no doubt about what’s in store. It’s a great example of low-context language which we cover in our blog about slogans. However, as time has gone on, Matt has found the name has become too narrow an expression of their offering:

To be brutally honest, our name is probably not the best idea we ever had. It can be quite restricting, especially when we’re trying to sell people coffee and in the winter when people don’t necessarily want to have ice cream.

However, as time passes and awareness grows, brands can become more than the sum of their parts. The name Cookies and Cones is already a signifier of more than just cookies and ice cream.

Latham Street

Conversely, Latham Street is an example of high-context language. You really need to know a bit of backstory to appreciate the name. Latham Street gets its name from the Street in Preston where founder Lorna Minter lived as a student. 

The house on Latham Street became a hub for fellow aficionados of the flourishing rave scene. It was the memories of that time that inspired the central offering of Lorna’s current business: clothing that gives a nod to the dance culture of the 90s, Y2K and onwards. 

The name is successful despite the need for context because it’s unique, it inspires curiosity and it’s personal and meaningful to Lorna.

Create 98

Create 98’s approach to branding is a little different in that everything stems from the location itself. Christine bought 98 The Broadway Leigh-on-Sea with a view to starting this art  business and aspects of the existing property – the 98 from the address, the exposed brick wall – have all been folded into the brand. Ultimately, Create 98 is a brand that has coalesced around the bricks and mortar where the magic happens.

It was also important to Christine that the name summed up activity and creativity. Originally, she had intended to name the business “Make 98”, but having discovered that another local business was using a similar name. Being forced back to the drawing board turned out to be a blessing, as “Create 98” with its internal rhyme is a perfectly catchy brand name that also reminds you where to find it.

Coming up with a tagline

Businesses often employ a short line to sum up what they have to offer. Our blog about slogans and taglines offers some advice on what makes a great line, along with examples of brands that has used different approaches to come up with something memorable. The approaches of our three businesses are quite different, but each one is successful in achieving their individual goals.

“Reused. Remade. Reloved.” 

Latham Street’s tagline “Reused, remade, reloved” truly has it all. Firstly, it’s factual. The business does indeed reuse textiles, which it remakes into new garments, ready to be loved once again by a new owner. It’s the word “reloved” that’s the clincher though. You won’t find it in the dictionary, but we know exactly what it means in this context.

Latham Street’s pieces are made to be cherished and valued for their uniqueness – the antithesis of disposable fast fashion. The catchy assonance that links the three words is the icing on the cake.

 “Live life more creatively”

On the face of it, Create 98’s tagline prompts its audience to consider incorporating creativity into their routine. The reason this line resonates more deeply, though, is the suggestion that cultivating a creative outlet can also have the power to permeate, enhance and lend meaning to every aspect of our lives. Christine told us:

When we were explaining our brand aspirations to our design guys, we said “we want to excite people to live their lives more creatively”, so, from that, “live life more creatively” became our strapline. We’ve got it on the wall, we’ve got it on the mission statement you read as you go down the stairs and we always start our newsletters with that message.

Various, including “The coolest place in town”

Cookies and Cones has no official tagline, preferring to switch it up, using various slogans across its different channels. In reference to its outlets, the phrase “the coolest place in town” appears on the Cookies and Cones website, letting us know what a hip joint Cookies and Cones is, while hinting at the frozen treats that await. Their delivery vans are emblazoned with “Here it crumbs!” because who doesn’t love a pun? 

At other times the company has used “It’s cookie time all the time.” When we asked Matt Davis whether he felt that he would settle on a tagline, he told us:

I think it will always be a moving idea, to avoid being too restrictive while we’re growing.

Putting imagery to the words

With a name and a tagline in place, brands need a visual identity to present to the world. In our next instalment of “Grow with the Pro’s” we’ll be looking at how the logos and brand colours of the three businesses came together.