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There’s nothing we love more than an empty whiteboard and the thrill of beginning a new brainstorming session. Spouting off ideas is like striking stones together and waiting for an exciting spark.

But many of our clients find that blank space daunting, and for good reason — naming a business or brand is a big deal. Your brand is going to hitch its wagon to that name for years to come, which means it needs to be original, memorable, and directly support your brand strategy, brand values and mission as a company.

And with the advent of AI and proliferation of name generators, coming up with a truly original and memorable name is becoming even more daunting.

As intimidating as this sounds, your company’s brand name brainstorm session doesn’t need to inspire dread. With a few key tips, you’ll be NameStorming® like the experts. Ready?

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How to Brainstorm Business Names Like the Experts

It’s easy to brainstorm business names once you have an idea of where to start. The naming process can be surprisingly systematic, but it will depend on factors such as fit with brand strategy, domain availability and the type of brand identity that you want to develop.

So in order to come up with your own catchy business names, here are a few key elements that will help.

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1. Determine Your Target Audience

Most companies, even fledgling ones, know who their target audience is. The problem is that instead of actually zeroing in on that target during the brainstorming phase, the owners or marketing executives often focus on themselves.

They think that if they are drawn to a name, their target will be, too. But — and brace yourself for this one, folks — your opinion is the last one that matters. The primary focus should be what your target thinks of the name.

Putting your target at the center drives the entire process. Check your own opinion at the door and try to think like your audience does. And, of course, it helps to have participants in your brainstorming sessions that are representative of your target audience.

Here are a couple of brainstorming tips to get those creative juices flowing:

Understand Who Your Target Market Is

What unique business proposition do you offer, what kind of business idea is it and who is the ideal customer? Factors like age, gender, education, income (e.g., the average demographic) will help you refine your target audience and generate the most engaging new company names.

Analyze Competitor Business Names 

After you’ve come up with a few creative business names, you should always compare them to whatever is available on the market using one of the more up-to-date AI search tools like Bard. This will help your company avoid company name conflicts.

Future Growth Considerations

Does the name help future proof your business? Is a word or namepart too limiting or only related to current trends, or will each part of a name help you establish a timeless and unique brand?

Consider the Unique Aspects of Your Business

Coming up with the perfect business name often means considering the unique aspects of your business. For example, if you consider yourself a luxury brand, then try to include words or naming styles that will appeal to those with more sophisticated tastes than the more hackneyed or trite words like “Platinum” or “Opulent”.

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2. Determine the Strategy Behind & Objective of Your Business Name

This one can be more difficult to answer succinctly, but it’s imperative to nail down before you start tossing around ideas. Surprisingly, when we ask this question, many clients end up meandering for a while and listing a dozen or so attributes they want their brand name to have. Maybe they want a fresh feel that ties to their new brand strategy, but they also want the name to be entirely self-explanatory and not too jarring.

So prioritizing the naming objectives is important since you can’t have everything in a name. In fact, the strength of a name is inversely proportional to its scope. That’s why you want to narrow your list down to a single, strong goal that you want to accomplish before you even pop off the cap of that dry-erase marker. The narrower the focus, the better the name.

“What they did for us wasn’t just about names; it was about the way of thinking about what the name could be.” Deon Lewis- Global Strategist 


So in order to narrow down the scope of your business name, here are a few key elements to consider when brainstorming.

How Does It Reflect Your Business Identity?

When establishing a business identity, it’s important to consider how each word conveys your business’s message. Creating a mood board or deciding on the most appropriate brand archetype can be a good way to establish the most important elements of your business.

For instance, do you want to convey a sense of reliability and professionalism? Adding a word such as “Secure”, “Trusted”, or “Stable” can evoke those feelings. Or better yet, picking a name that might evoke these types of attributes might even be a better approach (like “Citadel”, “Vanguard” or “Presidio”.

Similarly, you can create a catchy business name by looking at the elements on your mood board and combining multiple words together. Even using an AI-based name generator like Namelix or Looka might be helpful, as long as you don’t get distracted with the sea of “pretty good” but not great names they seem to generate.

How Memorable Is Your Business Name?

Some great business names include multiple words related to the company and what they offer. Other businesses prefer just one word in their names. Regardless, make sure the name is a memorable, catchy business name.

A good business name should naturally create some level of brand recall and recognition. Perhaps it’s quick and snappy, maybe it’s a fun play on a word, or it could just be a very plain yet to-the-point explanation of what you offer.

Do You Want to Support Business Storytelling?

A good business name often aligns itself with storytelling narratives to create a more compelling and interesting message.

For example, you can include words related to your business that reflect its origins, cultural significance, or historical references. Diving into the history of your brand or the products you offer can be a great way to find inspiration.

We have found that ChatGPT and other popular AI tools are very helpful at helping you craft a compelling story, as long as you do the fact checking and final wordsmithing.

Linking common themes and adding a little creativity can lead to the perfect business name. Start writing down ideas like this and brainstorm related words and themes for a large supply of creative business name ideas. You can also search for some great examples of brand storytelling and how companies capitalize on their message and name.

Consider Legal and Practical Implications

Lastly, don’t forget that there may be legal and practical considerations to think about. You may want to perform a trademark search (go to USPTO.GOV) or look on Google Maps to find local businesses that may have a similar business name. Check availability as soon as you land on a few great brand names to ensure they’re not already taken.

These factors can become major concerns if you’re solely using a business name generator, as those services may not check for existing business names. Check that your business’s legal name isn’t too similar to another company.

You should also consider if the business name idea is culturally appropriate for your customers. Seek unbiased feedback to ensure that the name is both user-friendly and has no negative connotations to the customers you want to appeal to.


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3. Brainstorm Business Names Like There’s No Bad Ideas

We’re the first to admit that it can be scary to put ideas out there. Being creative means being vulnerable, and it’s possible that the people you want in the room with you wouldn’t even consider themselves the right-brained type to begin with. Not everyone with a worthwhile opinion is automatically comfortable with the collaborative creative process.

Our team of naming experts subscribes to the notion that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. If you write off or disparage ideas, you could be shooting down brilliance without knowing it. Maybe the name that doesn’t inspire you could be a stepping stone to one that does, but if your team members are afraid to piggyback on it, you may never know. So take the negative off the table. Disallow criticism and give your group the freedom to explore any idea. Wait to start culling name candidates until after you’ve gathered an extensive list of ideas.

Here are a few tips on how to encourage the brainstorming of unique business name ideas.

  • Get everyone in your company involved and allow people to suggest starting points for unique business name ideas.
  • Don’t immediately shoot down ideas if you don’t like them.
  • Build on existing ideas by finding common themes and similar words to what has been suggested already.
  • Perform some light keyword research and establish a mood board to help generate ideas.
  • Don’t limit your vocabulary. Try as many words as you can to create great business name ideas.
  • Give your team the freedom to explore all ideas and don’t overly criticize names.
  • Use AI and AI name generators to complement but not be a substitute for human creativity. While they can be a great brainstorming partner, they often come up with names like what is already out there vs. truly fresh and novel ideas.
  • Gather an extensive list of ideas and themes before you start to narrow them down.

You’d be surprised at how many company names your team can come up with based on nothing but an initial business idea and a few starter ideas and novel words. A new venture is always an exciting time, and with it comes the possibility of reinventing your business to better reach more potential customers. Don’t squander this opportunity and be open to all kinds of invented names and creative ideas.

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Create a Business Name Ideas Checklist

Once you start to brainstorm business names with your team, there’s a good chance you’ll have dozens if not hundreds of potential suggestions for original business names. In order to quickly identify the good ideas, you’ll want to pass them through a couple of checks to ensure they meet the minimum for what’s considered to be a good brand name.

But what should you include in this checklist? It ultimately depends on your business, brand strategy and brand identity, but here are some important criteria that all good creative business names should meet.

Is the Business Name Pronounceable?

Pronounceable names are much easier to include in conversations and are therefore much easier to recall. A name that is easy to pronounce will stick in the minds of your customers even if they are spelling it wrong.

Is the Business Name Memorable?

Great business naming creates memorable names for a variety of reasons, but here are the basic elements:

  • Meaningful names can create positive emotions which makes them more memorable.
  • Catchy names that use alliteration or words that flow easily are easier to remember.
  • Simple to spell and pronounce names are often just easier to recall.

Memorable names stick to the roof of your customers’ brains like peanut butter, so it’s worth spending time on creating a quick and snappy name that they’ll remember just like that gooey, messy, but oh so yummy P&J sandwich.

Is the Business Name Unique?

While something being unique is subjective, you can generally create a more unique business name by checking domain availability and ensuring that there are no other businesses using the exact same name through web searches and trademark screenings. You should also try to ensure it is distinct enough to make your brand stand out from the competition.

Is the Business Name Future Proof?

If you have plans to scale your small business to include more products and services in the future, then it may be best to use more general terms that relate to the target market as a whole. However, if you don’t plan to scale in the future, then the words you pick can be more of a rifle shot, providing great relevance to your business’s current scope.

You may also need to consider linguistic and cultural considerations if you want to appeal to international markets in the future. Certain words and themes may have negative connotations in other countries, hence the importance of being sensitive to their linguistic and cultural differences. Some AI-based tools are providing much better help here than even just a few months ago.

So whether you’re launching a small business or have plans to scale internationally, consider the extendibility or the future of your name.

Have You Tested the Business Name?

It’s worth seeking unbiased feedback to find the perfect name for your business. Speak with colleagues, stakeholders, or even family members to get some feedback regarding your name.

If you spend a lot of time brainstorming business names in an echo chamber, then it can be easy to miss out on some great naming ideas and opportunities.

While this checklist isn’t an exhaustive list of things to check before agreeing on a name, it should give you a good starting place. Whether you use a free AI business name generator or start writing down ideas yourself, checking for all of these things can help you avoid problems in the future.

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What Makes Our Process Effective?

While we take great pride in our brainstorming methods, that’s only part of our process. The initial brand strategy work we often do up front with a client is critical, and at least as important as the name development itself.

“They listen closely to what the brand stands for, and follow an efficient process to deliver relevant, own-able options that fit the overall strategy. I highly recommend them for all types of brand and product naming projects!”  Mary Louise Rubin- Senior Brand Manager, Benjamin Moore Paint 


Also, we vet all of our name candidates through our rigorous trademark screening and web screening before we present them to you. Not only do we check for potential legal hindrances, but we also often check for domain and social media availability. Our top name candidates might go through a linguistic screening as well, to prune the names that might strike your audience as offensive or off-color. If needed, we consult global partners in targeted regions and languages to screen for cross-cultural viability. This checking goes far beyond anything you can do yourself online, even with the best AI-tools available, but will save you lots of frustration, time and money if done upfront.

And finally, we share the favorite names that clear our screenings with you, the client. But we don’t just leave you with that list like an automatic business name generator would. We provide context, rationale, story and visual imagery. Then, as professional brand name consultants, we take your feedback into account and, if necessary, go straight back to that empty whiteboard for another brand name brainstorm, as many times as it takes. We can then take your favorite names through a market test with targeted customers, monitoring their reactions while uncovering their preferences. Reach out to us today to start your brand-naming journey.

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