How to name your company to dazzling success, by Brad Hines (First appeared in Entrepreneur)
Have you ever liked a business just based on the name alone? Often said to be a blend of art, science and luck, naming a business properly is no easy task.
While good names are easy enough to remember, great names really have an impact on people when they hear them. Such a name for a business is one that is integral, perhaps descriptive of the brand in multiple ways, humorous, legally appropriate and maybe even slightly provocative. The name could also pertain to the nature of the business itself.
Related: 10 Questions to Ask Before Naming Your Business
Naming agency A Hundred Monkeys stresses the importance of a name not sounding like others: “Businesses should be finding a name that grabs people’s attention and gives them an opportunity to describe what they do. Bonus points for getting a smile, laugh, question.”
Big Ass Fans is a company that creates really large fans that cool a room or space. The name is distinctive and of course humorously descriptive.
Naked Juice is a name with just enough suggestiveness but one that actually describes the juice’s pure qualities.
When people hear a name, they should be both intrigued as well as gain a great idea of what the company does. If a startup can pull that off, then the company is onto something. This aspect of naming is often the hardest to attain, but it is that quality that makes a brand moniker seem balanced or just make sense.
Here are some tips to coming up with the right name for a business:
Related: Tips for Naming Your Business
1. Resist the eponymous brand. Unless your personal brand already carries notoriety, avoid naming your business after yourself. While Steven King can emblazon his name on his books larger than the title and Donald Trump can (and will) put his name on anything from a water bottle to a hotel, you will likely miss the mark by following suit.
2. Check a name’s availability online. When choosing a domain name for your company’s website there’s a benefit to using an arbitrary term beyond trademark strength. Arbitrary terms are words that can’t possibly be associated with a business. That means those names will be more likely to have the associated domain name available online.
Spotify for example seems to be a great name (though it appears to be a cross between “spot” and “identify,” according to Mashable).
When naming a digital site, consider if you can easily secure the social media accounts in the same name on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other venues.
Related: The Basics of Domain Names for Your Business
3. Brainstorm. Do brainstorming like nothing matters, then do market research like everything matters: Brainstorm names over drinks with friends even. Write down every thought, and when you’re tapped out for ideas, continue the brainstorming session with others.
Have fun with it. Don’t take the process too seriously. Look at the rhymes in goofily named women’s fashion retailer ShopBop.
Come up with a list of names. Take the names you like and ask friends for their gut feel or what the name evokes.
Ultimately do market research for each name. Hold a focus group, poll your email list or use research websites to find out which names people like the best and why. Doing market research about a name is not definitive. Make sure you understand the context of why a name was the most popular.
Then tie up loose ends by securing the names of variations of domain name and trademark protection.
Related: Growing Your Business When You Can’t Trademark Your Name
4. Check how the domain name will look and sound. Always make sure people can type your business name into a web browser address bar and find it easily. A perfect example is coming up with a website address for Women’s Expo. If you choose the URL www.womensexpo.com, to many people that will read as Women Sex Po.
5. Set up Google alerts for the name. And use social media to track mentions of the name to adjust to interpretations by users. Aim to get the name for the brand right the first time. Changing a name and your customers’ awareness of it can be a major hassle!