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school marketing news

7 attributes of a good school name

Posted by Brad Entwistle

shutterstock_189122468.jpgWhat's in a name? A whole lot actually.

Here are the 7 attributes of a good school name ...

  1. Short, sweet and easily pronounced
    The ideal name for parents to remember — and for you to use to cut through the noise — is short and sweet and easily pronounced. This means it will have two or three syllables (or even one) and it will work on the phone or internet even if people have never seen or heard it before. If people have to be told how to spell it once, that’s okay (and may even help with recall), but if they have to be told a second time, that’s a problem. Research tells us that using one of the ‘sticky’ consonants (k, q, x, z) can help with recall.

  2. It's unique
    Your name doesn't need to be weird or clunky, but it also shouldn’t sound like all the rest of your direct competitors. 

  3. Legally available and defensible
    The ability to protect your new name from misuse, misrepresentation and mistaken identity is paramount. Your internet domain name is almost as important as your visual identity.

  4. Good alliteration, especially for longer names
    Sometimes a longer name does have a place in marketing. After all, the most famous brand in the world, Coca-Cola, is four syllables. But notice how smoothly it rolls off the tongue. Linguists will tell you it has good alliteration.

  5. Does not lend itself to abbreviations
    If you have a long descriptive name, people will abbreviate it quickly. Okay, we know it worked for IBM, KFC, ABC, ASIC and more, but how many years and how many branding dollars do you have? For a small school, this means you quickly become YASI (Yet Another Set of Initials) and drown in the initial bit bucket. At least make sure the trademark part (brand part) of your tradename is a name and not initials. E.g. Ford is the trademark for Ford Motor Car Company. Leave FMCC etc. to the legal documents only.

  6. Embraces your school's personality
    Two competitors, entering the same market at the same time with directly competing products, will pick different names because every school has its own personality. This means the Board must be involved in the decision making process. Your agency can tell you if the name fits, not if you are comfortable with it.

  7. Fits within the school's brand portfolio
    Do all of your school's brands sound like they all come from the same family? While this is a specific problem with merged schools, everyone's naming architecture needs to be properly managed to maximise your brand power and intellectual property portfolio.

Here are some resources you might find useful

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  • More blogs on branding which may be of interest to you

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This blog was written by Brad Entwistle

Brad Entwistle is founder and Managing Director of imageseven. For more than 25 years he has led the imageseven team on a crusade to lift schools’ brands and reveal the true value they deliver to students and their families. When he is not working with schools on their marketing strategy, Brad sits on the boards of two national not-for-profits and enjoys looking at antique maps.


Topics: Education, imageseven, Branding, Communication, School culture, Marcom, School vision, Rebranding, School marketing strategy, School marketing, School