We know what you’re thinking—what’s the connection between a name and a thriving business? Isn’t a business built on work ethics, customer relation, marketing, and competitive analysis?
Well, it may surprise you to note, a study by Harvard Business Review revealed that a strategic business name can go as far as boosting its stock trading and financial performance:
“A 1-step increase in name “fluency” on a 5-step scale, such as reducing name length by 1 word, is associated with a 2.53% increase in market-to-book ratio, which would translate to $3.75 million in added market value for the median-size firm in the authors’ sample.”
—Harvard Business Review
Your business name is the spirit of your business. Its identity. For some customers, that’s all they look at before making purchasing decisions.
Makeup Enthusiast, Megan Dzialo once went to a store where she was unfamiliar with the products sold. According to her, she had to depend on the brand names and packaging to guide her choice.
So, do you still want to toss your brand naming to a business name generator? Or would you rather discover how to select the most effective name for your business?
How Does a Business Name Affect Success Rate?
When Kim Kardashian wanted to launch her lingerie line in 2019, her initial business name idea was “Kimono.” She promoted it online, only to discover that Koreans found the name offensive. They believed it tampered with the traditional meaning of Kimono.
Overcome by the clamor, the famous Kardashian had to rename her brand to Skims Solutionwear.
Kim isn’t the only business owner to face the ripple effect of a poor name choice. Unfortunately, some weren’t lucky enough to receive pre-launch feedback. Rather, they lost potential customers.
From cultural appropriateness to trademark regulations, here are some ways a name choice can affect the growth of a new venture:
Legal Action: Your products are ready. Your store is launching soon. The business is good to go! Then you receive an email stating that your brand name has violated trademark laws. Oops.
Amicus Mutual Insurance Company experienced a similar situation in 2005 and had to face legal consequences.
Luckily, they came to NameStormers afterward for a name change. Our team devised a powerful and legal business name which they’re still thriving on without infringement problems—StoneTrust.
Online presence: Successful brands like Flickr have pulled off hard-to-spell names, but such name styles can be costly to a small business:
- Constant auto-correction may frustrate people who are trying to find your business online.
- Potential customers may use the “correct” spelling and miss your website, forcing them to revert to competitors.
If you’re going with a misspelled word, ensure it’s easy to remember, spell or pronounce, e.g. StoneTrust.
The Business Offering: A catchy business name is vain if it doesn’t speak the business idea, goals, mission or values. A good name encapsulates at least one feature of the business. It gives people a reason to stop by.
When you think CarMax for instance, you think cars, you think maximum service and products. You’re not second-guessing whether or not you’ll find car-related services in the company.
7Eleven used another thoughtful approach. Because of their name choice, their customers don’t need a Google search to know the store’s opening/closing hours—it’s in the name!
Naming Your Brand Seamlessly (in 4 Effective Steps)
The first key to deriving a business name that works is understanding that it’s a step-by-step procedure. Skipping one stage may disrupt the rest of the process.
Step 1: Define Your Business Structure
Small businesses often end up with poor name choices because they never thought of the brand’s goals.
Imagine naming your store “Dan’s Shirts” before considering whether you’ll eventually sell more than shirts.
The first hitch, if you decide to sell other products, would be expanding your customer base. Your target audience may be unlikely to check if you offer anything besides shirts. Your name already told them that you don’t!
Secondly, if you registered only shirts as your business offering under the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it’ll be difficult to alter. You may have to register a new business to (legally) sell other products.
“…you may not expand or broaden goods and/or services…if you initially filed for “jewelry,” you may limit the goods to specific types of jewelry, such as “jewelry, namely, earrings.” You may not change “jewelry” to “jewelry boxes” or to a service, such as “jewelry stores.”
Avoid such hurdles by planning ahead. Answer questions like: are you a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company? What products will you offer? Will you expand in the future? Do you want an app or social media handle?
Here’s a Trick: Draft a complete business plan. According to the U.S Small Business Administration, a good business summary is like a roadmap; it guides its owner through stages of implementation, administration, management, and control.
Step 2: Unravel Unique Business Name Ideas
Your next move is to brainstorm names that are in sync with your business plan. As we mentioned earlier, these names should articulate what the brand offers or its values.
According to HBR, short business names are more effective, so try to keep your name ideas within two words, four at most.
Creativity is another key feature. The more generic a business name is, the greater its likelihood of being taken.
Here’s how we get creative at NameStormers. Our experience has proven that most customers remember names that appeal to their emotions. Therefore we sometimes combine two or more soothing concepts to form a strong brand name.
Senior Living Residence, Terova, is one example. The name combines “terra,” which means earth, and “rove,” which translates to journey. The word “earth” in the business name creates a sense of warmth for clients.
Here’s a Trick: Welcome suggestions from friends, families, colleagues, even the internet. Despite the expertise of each individual at NameStormers, we have a team, not just one person, that comes together to name your business. Two heads are always better than one!
Search Google and Instagram to see what similar businesses are using. This gives you an idea of common names to avoid. A quick tip to filtering your search results on Instagram is the use of hashtags.
Tags like these would present a listing of businesses that offer the same or similar products.
Step 3: Screen, Screen, Then Screen Again
Pull out your critical eye because screening is a very important step in naming your business.
Legal troubles can be costly to a startup. Not only do they affect your customers’ trust, but they can also demoralize you. So if you plan on trading nationwide, you need to crawl out of the shells of common law and secure a trademark.
Don’t also make the mistake of launching before searching for a .com domain availability. What if it’s not available?
There may be various other domain names, but .com names have proven easier to remember for most consumers. For this reason, give priority to names that pass the .com search.
|Trademark search for your business name and logo|
|Domain Name Availability||Domain registrars|
|Cultural Appropriateness||Google searches the meaning of your potential names in other languages. If possible, ask locals.|
The technicality involved in this stage can be daunting for small business owners. The trick? Cross this line with NameStormers.
You can choose to handle other aspects of naming your business while we carry out the screening with expertise and extra miles. For instance, since the basis for trademark infringement is any “likelihood of confusion,” we don’t just search USPTO, as it may only turn up results for exact matches.
Our search travels from Federal screening to web, global, and state search. We can also conduct market research for App names and social media handles.
Step 4: Testing and Selection
Test your potential names with at least a fraction of your target audience.
You and your team may think your selections are great, only to discover that it doesn’t communicate your business’s mission the way it’s supposed to.
Conducting a test prevents this discovery from coming when it’s too late or costly to change. Ask your respondents:
- What pops into their minds when they hear the names?
- Can they spell, pronounce and remember it easily?
- How does it sound?
A test also eases your final selection process. Rather than deliberating again, you could settle for the name which ticked the most boxes across most of your respondents.
Let a Naming Company Ease Your Burden
You have to build a business structure, draft a financial plan, a marketing strategy, and call for employees. Now you need to tick all these steps before selecting a name?
Maybe not. You could simply let NameStormers tick them for you.
You may wonder, why NameStormers? Why not any other company? Or a free business name generator? Easy:
- We adhere to fixed naming rules to replicate successful names for our clients’ businesses.
- We don’t get tired! No matter how often we have to brainstorm business names and screen for trademark/domain availability, we will—without altering the fixed package price.
- Once we have your approval on the shortlist, our team embarks on an “instant reaction” and “memorability” test. We also provide final recommendations based on the entire naming process and the test analysis.
- If you’re looking to form a brand under an existing company, we can create a structure where your company or DBA name, brand, and product names are in sync.
- Wouldn’t you want to work with a company that has multiple success stories and awards?:
Like we always say at NameStormers, enough talk. Let’s name something together.
Featured Image from: Freepik by katemangostar