Coming up with a brand name for your enterprise is one of the most essential aspects of branding.
That’s because your potential customers hear your business name first—even before they know what you offer. It’s your chance to make a lasting first impression by communicating what you do and conveying your values and principles.
Additionally, a fantastic business name makes your brand stand out from your competitors and convinces your potential clients you’re the best there is.
Thus, your business name is a core factor in whether the company succeeds or not.
For instance, when you start a ladies’ footwear company and call it “Darling Heels,” the name will limit you in the future when you want to expand and include men’s shoes in your product category. This is because your name doesn’t represent male clients and that makes it harder to convince them to buy from you.
We don’t mean to threaten or dishearten you in any way but to show you how important your brand name is.
It’s, therefore, no surprise that many entrepreneurs state business naming as the most arduous task during the startup process. You want a company name that not only sounds good but also works for you.
So, how do you make sure your business name is relevant today and for generations to come? To start, you need to work with a recognized brand naming agency, then follow these steps:
Know What Makes a Good Business Name
As we’ve mentioned, your customers hear your brand name before they know anything else about your company. If you have the wrong name, your potential customers might lose interest even before they buy from you.
There are criteria you should ensure your business name meets whether you’re starting a new enterprise or refreshing an existing brand.
The Name Should Be Easy to Remember
Your brand name won’t work for you if it’s not memorable. Most small businesses rely on word of mouth as their means of marketing. How will your customers tell others about you if they can’t remember your name?
A memorable business name keeps your brand at the top of your customers’ minds. They’ll also have no problems searching and finding you online. If they misspell your brand name on Google, you could lose them to your competitors.
Always keep things short and sweet if you want to make your business name memorable. Simple names are easier to remember.
Contrastingly, evocative and more controversial names, like Angry Orchard are highly likely to be etched in your client’s minds
You can also incorporate various styles to come up with a creative, memorable business name. For example, alliteration has made brands, such as Coca-Cola, stand the test of time and remain relevant for decades.
The Name Should Stay True to Your Brand Values
Have you ever wondered why coming up with a mission, vision, and value statement is important while branding a new business?
These qualities tell customers what you stand for and enable them to relate to your brand. As a result, your brand should communicate and represent your core values, principles, and promises.
It doesn’t necessarily need to describe what you do, but capture the essence of your brand identity. For example, Hoover Agility is a steam-cleaner product by the Hoover brand. Through the name, it’s easy for the customers to relate the product, its ease of use, and high-quality performance.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to come up with an authentic business name:
- What do we stand for?
- What makes us different from our competitors?
- Where are we coming from?
- Why are we in business?
- What personality do we represent?
Answering these questions will help you to come up with a unique business name that’s authentic to your brand.
The Name Should Help You Stand Out from Your Competition
If you want a brand name that’s memorable and timeless, it must make you stand out. A distinct brand name also helps you avoid confusion for your customers, especially if you have competitors with the same target audience.
To understand distinction better, you need to distinguish it from differentiation. While they may seem to mean the same, differentiation involves using your brand’s key aspects and benefits to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Distinction, on the other hand, involves making your brand stand out instead of trying to camouflage among competitors. This helps your customers identify and recall your brand.
Business assets that help brands establish their distinctiveness include:
- Brand name
- Company logo
- Brand colors
- Brand messaging
As an entrepreneur, don’t focus so much on trying to look different from your competitors. Focus on how your brand name separates you from the rest and captures your target audience’s attention.
For example, there are many coffee convenience retail brands. When 7-Eleven came to us, they wanted a name for a new premium coffee blend that was focused on morning commuters.
They wanted a name that would stand out and convince hurried customers to try it.
The name Heavenly Blend fits all the criteria because it signifies smooth but unique coffee that’s the best to tickle your tastebuds.
Brainstorm Business Names
Now that you know what makes a great company name, it’s time to come up with a few new business name ideas.
There are a few ways to brainstorm business name ideas. You can do it all by yourself or assemble a team.
If you hit a creativity block, here are a few ways to jog your mind:
As the name suggests, word dump means writing down all possible names you think are related to your industry or keywords.
Don’t be too analytical. Simply write down all your ideas for a set period, say 30 minutes. Try free writing so that you don’t stop until your time is up.
|Use a thesaurus||
Take all the words you’ve written down during your brainstorming session and search them on a thesaurus.
If the search results bring any words that you’ve not already written down, add them.
You don’t have to be picky, but also don’t write words that aren’t related to what you do.
Stay away from trends when brainstorming. Company names latched to trends become irrelevant as soon as popularity disappears, for example adding an “i” in front of a name, like “iPod”
Word dumping and using a thesaurus gives you a long list of ideas and a wide selection of possible business names.
Now you can start using your instinct and preference. If a name doesn’t sound good to your ears or is too common, strike it off your list.
With your remaining name ideas, you can evaluate them based on the criteria we gave above. Are they memorable, authentic, and distinct?
Why Is a Free Business Name Generator Not the Ultimate Solution?
If you’re in the process of getting a name for your business, you’ve likely tried a free business name generator. However, we advise that you tread with care.
- They stifle creativity: A business name generator is a machine using algorithms to generate possible brand names. A machine won’t ask for your business location or what makes it unique. Besides, you’re likely to get generic name suggestions.
- They recommend similar name ideas to everyone: A business name generator is available to all. Don’t be surprised if someone else in the same industry has already seen the exact list you’re seeing.
A company name generator can be helpful in setting your brain rolling, especially when you’ve hit a creativity block. However, only use them for inspiration. Hire a professional business naming agency to do the hard work for you.
Ensure It’s Friendly to the Target Audience
By this point, you have a couple of business name ideas. The search isn’t over yet. What’s next?
Other than checking that your business name is memorable, it should also be user-friendly. What do we mean by this?
Your business name should be as easy to spell as it is memorable. Remember the last time you misspelled something on Google, and it brought some suggestions under “Did you mean…”?
Unfortunately, there’s no such system for company names.
If your target customers misspell your business name on Google, it’ll show them a list of related results. You could lose them to competitors. Remember, your customers might not be as great at spelling as you might think.
A business name that helps your audience find you easily can put you steps ahead of your competition.
Getting feedback from your friends and family members is one way to ensure you have a user-friendly business name. Ask them to give an opinion about the name ideas you have.
If they look confused when they hear it, you might want to consider another business name idea.
Many entrepreneurs also forget to check their business name translations. You likely don’t want a name that translates to something bizarre or explicit in another language.
Check It’s Availability
Now it’s time to do some digging to make sure your final name choice is available. You don’t want to get into legal trouble for trademark infringement.
Always engage legal professionals when checking for name availability. Most names in the dictionary are already trademarked to some extent. If your preferred business name is high-risk, change it before you receive a cease-and-desist letter.
Working with legal professionals also ensures that you’re abiding by state and country regulations. Carry out a trademark search in your state’s appropriate agency and reserve it if it’s not in use.
When we talk of availability, most people forget about domain availability. Domain names are essential nowadays for any online business. Your customers can only find your website through your domain name.
Check if your business name is available in .com form. You don’t have to worry if it’s not. If it’s a parked domain name, you can consider buying it. It might cost you, but it’s better to secure it rather than lose your potential customers.
There are numerous other domain extensions you can choose from, such as .net, .org, or .inc.
Don’t forget to check if another company is using your preferred business name as a social media handle.
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