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Your branding, which includes your logo design, colour palette and fonts, can be changed as your business and proposition evolves. But your name is likely to stay with you for years.
It has a huge impact on your brand identity and how you are perceived, so you better make a good choice. But how do you choose a name for your fintech?
As you’d expect, there are no hard and fast rules. But as a fintech marketing agency, we can see trends that you might want to either follow or go against the grain of.
Basic rules of naming your fintech
Of course, a good fintech brand name should be distinct, memorable, and easy to pronounce.
But how do you create the best name for your start up?
Step 1: Wearing Your Purpose on Your Sleeve
When creating a fintech brand name, don’t try to include a full descriptor of your service in your name. Consider what your business is about rather than what it explicitly does.
When conjuring your fintech brand name, consider things that are important to your business, colleagues and of course, customers.
You can see how Trust Payments came up with their name. It sends a clear message that connects with their customer needs and gives the team a sense of their collective values.
Think about the higher purpose of your fintech and how you will be doing things differently.
Take Currensea for example. Currensea is a low-fee direct debit travel card that has the distinction of connecting to consumers’ bank accounts rather than a pre-paid card. The name is a play on the word currency, attaching it more closely with travel by switching the last syllable to ‘sea’.
This has become more relevant to their brand story as the company has expanded its environmental responsibility credentials from planting trees with fee savings to removing waste plastics from the world’s oceans.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Competitors
Competitor research is key when concocting your fintech brand name.
If you are looking to disrupt the market with a truly new way of doing things, you need to look the part with a name to match.
For example, your competition may come from legacy players with long names that literally describe their service. These names are turned into soul-less acronyms so a ‘purpose’-driven name will stand out.
From a psychological point of view, your market will assume that if you look different, you will also be doing things differently too.
Back in the day when the first challenger banks were mulling over ideas for how to name their start-ups, there were two distinct naming strategies.
When Monzo entered the market, they were called Mondo. Following a legal challenge, they took the decision to re-brand and went to the public for naming suggestions.
After receiving 12,000 suggestions, they settled on Monzo. But the rationale for the decision and the intended meaning of the word was unclear. It is likely that it simply provided closest continuity from their previous name without having a specific meaning, leaving customers free to attach their own associations to it.
Revolut is more straightforward. Again, a single word with a close association with revolution, which aligns with their own positioning as a challenger bringing disruption to the banking space. Though it’s important to note they were not officially banks and their offerings were based on prepaid cards.
Then there is Starling Bank. Julian Sawyer, co-founder of Starling Bank, once explained to Blue Train that they had briefly toyed with the idea of naming their venture just Starling as the reputation of traditional banks was in tatters at the time.
But they chose to include the word bank as they felt it would help build consumer trust in the long-term and they were, of course, legitimately able to do so.
Step 3: Time for a Brainstorm
Once you have gathered your thoughts on the purpose of your business and conducted your market research, it’s time to assemble your team and get brainstorming. It should involve all your senior stakeholders including your Head of Sales.
Use your findings to kickstart the session. Ask questions to reveal what you may have missed.
Portmanteaus are a creative way to build your brand name. Word association is a great place to start. Using the associated words that you’ve already thought of, try putting two together! Facebook, is a perfect example of portmanteaus in brand names.
But don’t overthink it. Steer clear of conversations that involve splicing several words together. While they may be a shorthand for what you do, it will probably end up as something only your team understands and is completely unpronounceable for your customers.
Incorporating your service into your brand is a good place to start but don’t try to shoe-horn too much description into it. Instead, see if you can add an element of emotion to it that people can connect with.
PayPal is a good example of a fintech brand name that incorporates both a portmanteau as well as their services with a touch of emotion. The addition of the ‘pal’ element implies a friendly approach and trustworthy service and user experience.
And then of course there is the tried and tested fintech idea of taking a word related to what you do and removing a few letters, usually the vowels.
This really is an overused technique that has hopefully burnt itself out by now. Standard Life Aberdeen faced mockery on social media after changing its name to ‘ABRDN’ earlier this year as an ill-advised attempt to jump on the fintech bandwagon.
It was the fintech branding equivalent to ‘Dad dancing’.
Weavr just about got away with it as they took care to choose a word that relates to their purpose; to ‘embed banking and payments into your product in days.’ The image of someone weaving code into their products has an artisan feel to it and warm emotional connotations.
Step 4: Test the Waters
Once you’ve created your brand name, or narrowed it down to a few options, it’s time to test, test, test!
See what brand name works best for you by doing some A/B testing. Here’s where your professional network can help. But don’t explain what you are trying to convey in your name, let your network tell you what they see.
One step in the testing phased that can completely change your fintech naming approach is checking URL and social media handle availability. Prepare to see your best ideas already taken and be ready to adapt your thinking fast.
It can be hard to get the senior team all round a table at the best of times and steering them through a creative discussion may well be difficult. Bringing in a fintech marketing agency with a tried and tested process for fintech branding can help – so get in touch and let’s talk.