It takes creativity to name a company, and luckily most entrepreneurs are creative people. But naming is a particular skill set that goes beyond creativity. While fresh ideas are a key part of the process, it also requires research, screening, testing, and market savvy.
That doesn’t mean you have no choice but to hire an expert, but it does mean you need to go about the naming process the way an expert would. If you feel that your company is up for that challenge, here are some do’s and don’ts of running a naming workshop.
Make Sure Everyone Feels Free to Speak Their Mind
The dynamic of the workshop may be the most important factor, one that you need to be particularly aware of if you are inviting subordinates to join. While you may think of the workshop as a fun, playful exercise, your employees may feel intimidated or worry that their participation will affect their job security. Any uncomfortable employees will likely resort to giving safe ideas so that they can participate without taking risks—and safe names are rarely good names. You’ll end up with a name that is overly descriptive or a low-hanging fruit that another company will already have picked.
We’re not saying you should try to pull something controversial and edgy out of the group, but you should do your best to make the workshop a comfortable environment where there are no consequences for voicing whatever idea comes to mind.
Include People from Different Backgrounds in Your Naming Workshop
Diverse perspectives are vital. If you only invite your two best buddies who have everything in common with you, you’re likely to miss out on a wealth of ideas that someone with a different perspective could deliver. We’re not saying that more people is better (in fact, packing a conference room full of people for a naming workshop can get chaotic really quickly), but we are saying that you should give the available seats to people who have the power to truly enrich the conversation.
Don’t Get Attached to a Favorite Too Soon
It’s exhilarating when someone in the workshop comes up with the perfect name that somehow manages to be memorable, unique, and bursting with brand personality. But it’s easy to allow that excitement to become a runaway train, which might come to an abrupt stop if you later learn that the name isn’t available. The worst-case scenario is that you start using the name officially, only to run into legal issues because you put the cart before the horse.
Always check for trademark availability. A cursory search in the government’s trademark database is a good start, but that should only be the beginning of your vetting process. Consult state databases and dig deeper to make sure that there’s no chance you’ll need to ditch the name down the road.
Don’t Make It a Competition
Many small business owners think that a naming competition is the perfect solution to coming up with a business name, because a) it gets everyone engaged, b) it means the leaders can outsource a challenging task to their employees, and c) more minds means more brilliant ideas. Why not harness all that talent for the good of the company?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First of all, competitions can impact the morale of your team. Everyone who doesn’t win is going to feel at least a little disappointed and overlooked. On top of that, holding a competition is essentially painting yourself into a corner; if none of the ideas are great, then you’re stuck between giving your company a bad name or irritating your employees by choosing none of them.
How NameStormers Can Help You Name Your Company
As you can see, hosting a meeting of the minds is no easy feat. To run a naming workshop successfully, you need more than ideas. That’s where working with a reliable naming consultant such as NameStormers can help. In addition to expert naming services, we provide helpful resources for businesses that want to do their naming in-house, including a free naming ebook that walks you through our step-by-step process.
If you ultimately decide that a workshop is not the best path to naming your company, then we would be excited to partner with you. We are confident that our experts can create a memorable name that suits your company and opens the door wide for your future success.
If you’d like to get started with naming help, contact us today.