Our number-one naming commandment is simple: make it memorable.
But in a world where consumers are constantly scrolling past ads and skipping over commercials, it’s harder than you might think. Without inherent memorability, your hands are tied. How will your target associate your brand with quality or a pleasant persona if they can’t even recall your name? The answer is that you’ll have to devote more of your budget to marketing just to make your audience remember that your business exists.
As you can see, the stakes for delivering memorability are high. Fortunately, we have a few trusty tricks for coming up with names that stick.
The Key to Brainstorming Catchy Business Name Ideas
Most people think catchy business names need to be informative and descriptive. They think that if the name avoids making reference to the products or services provided, no one will associate it with anything meaningful and it will soon be forgotten. But that’s not true. In fact, the more literal the name, the more boring it tends to be.
A catchy business name engages emotions rather than intellect. It tickles the right side of the brain more than the left, causing you to associate feelings and sensations with the brand rather than mere definitions. A good name doesn’t have to be descriptive to forge a connection with the intended audience.
Compare search engines Google and InfoSeek. In a practical sense, the name InfoSeek seems to do a better job conveying the reason for its existence. But Google is off-the-wall, memorable, and a bit silly, and its catchiness helped paved the way for wild success.
Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Catchy Name
Some clients have already made a few wrong turns by the time they come to us, and that’s okay! We’ve spent decades polishing our seven-step naming process. Even business owners who have incredibly clear visions for their brands and products may not be equipped to come up with their own names. That’s why we’re here.
Here are some common mistakes that we see businesses make:
- Trying to force your name to do too much. In a dream world, a single name would immediately convey your company’s purpose, key values, mission statement, culture, and history. But hunting for a name that can capture all of that – while managing to be catchy and available to own – is a fool’s errand. The name will be so much more powerful if you’re able to identify one or two main objectives you would like it to accomplish and run with that.
- Overcomplicating the process. When you involve too many people in naming your business, things can get a bit dicey. You don’t want too few opinions, but coming up with catchy business name ideas does not need to be a democratic process. Don’t hold an employee naming contest or take a company-wide poll. Five or six heads in the room tends to be the magic number.
- Using an acronym. There’s no such thing as a good acronym. Yes, some incredibly successful businesses have acronyms for names. But that was because they dedicated an incredible amount of resources to building brand awareness and preference. Do you know what CVS stands for without looking it up? Don’t rob yourself of the valuable tool of word association.
- Trying to please everybody. You will not satisfy all of your constituencies. No name in the world can please you, your board, your employees, and your target, let alone your mom or your childhood best friend. Be wise about who you involve in the process. If you listen to every constituency instead of narrowing it down to the key groups, you end up compromising and landing on a name that nobody hates but nobody loves — the dreaded no man’s land of naming.
- Shying away from controversy. Speaking of names that nobody hates, sometimes the most agreeable names are just flat-out boring. It feels good to play it safe, especially when you’re trying to appeal to a wide and varied audience. But controversial names generate conversations and raise eyebrows. People talk about controversial names, which provides you with free organic advertising. Of course, we’re not telling you to go out and offend as many people as possible! But don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little spice on your name.
Our process prioritizes memorability and emotional connection. We zero in on names that make an immediate impression but also manage to marinate in the mind. And, most importantly, we’ve made mistakes on the journey of perfecting our approach so that you don’t have to. Ready to discover a catchy name for your business? Contact us today.
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