What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name? 842 452 Nathaniel Seevers

Some things to think about when naming your business

What’s in a name? Well, it sure meant a lot to Romeo and Juliet but does it have to be a life or death decision for your business?

Not exactly.

It should be a piece of your brand’s overall strategy and it shouldn’t be something that you take lightly. A name is often the first thing you decide on when starting your company and it’s almost always the first impression your potential clients are subjected to.

How will it stand up?

Gone are the days of starting your business name with the letter A just so you show up early in the yellow pages. It’s not likely your customers are finding you there and if they still are that won’t be for long. That doesn’t mean you can’t start your business name with an A – just means you’re free to use other wonderful letters now. It’s no longer part of the strategy.

So what then? Is there really a strategy for naming your business?

Well, yeah. Sort of.

Ask yourself these questions as you’re brainstorming potential names:

Are you able to effectively communicate your brand’s personality?
Your marketing copy says you’re fun but your name sounds like a funeral home. Or maybe it has no personality at all – ABC Motors. You’re sending your audience mixed signals.

Is it memorable?
You can use an acronym if you want but you think people are more inclined to remember a group of letters or something they can visualize? Red Giraffe Designs or GHA Designs? Sure, GHA may end up building a bigger business in the long run but they’ve already put themselves behind the curve when it comes to brand recognition.

Does it rely on some partially truncated, made up, super word?

  • PolyWhateverthehell
  • QualiSomethingorother
  • SomewordTech
  • SuperAwesomeCorp

Is it too literal?
Listen, you may be an insurance company that specializes in policies for pets but the name of your company doesn’t have to be Pet Insurance Agency. And no, adding a “Plus” to it doesn’t make it better. Super literal names are quickly lost in the mix of other like-sounding super literal names.

It’s understandable for companies to be concerned about potential customers knowing what they do. That’s what a good strapline (or tagline) is for. And a strapline is much easier to change out than your entire brand name. Which leads us to our next question…

Does it stick you in a corner?
If your name has a particular product or service set in it you could be painting yourself into a corner. Listen, things change. You’ll be creating branding and marketing around this name and it’s going to require some time and money. You may later regret that all your t-shirts and materials say Top Notch VCR Repair when well, no one gives a damn about VCR’s anymore and you’ve moved on to repair Blu-ray players. Get it?

Same goes for a name calling out a specific city or state. Not only could you end up moving your business to another city but you may be hurting yourself when it comes to generating business online.

Is the name easy to spell?
This shouldn’t be an immediate kill to a potential name but just keep in mind, someone’s going to jump on the web and type your company name into a search bar. If they can’t spell it will they still find you?

The point to all of this is a company name can either be a best foot forward event or a future obstacle to work around. You’re never going to please everyone but the right mix of logic and creative will make a big difference.

Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski
In use under Creative Commons 2.0

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