Naming your company is one of the most important decisions you are likely to make, and it also happens to be one of the first. The name of your business will have a significant impact on how it is viewed; choose badly, and you will lag behind from the start. It is such an important process that there are company name generators or organisations such as A Hundred Monkeys and Igor who charge a small fortune in return for helping you find a suitable moniker. Rather than add another expense to your overheads, read on for my five top tips on how to name your Company.
1 – Brainstorm
You need to have an idea of what your company stands for as well as what it sells, before your brainstorm sessions. Any name you consider needs to be somewhat linked to what your company does or at least related to your niche. You should come up with a few keywords related to your industry and use a tool such as Bust-A-Name to help expand upon these initial ideas. Bust-A-Name and similar tools work by checking all possible combinations of the entered keywords and give you available domains containing these words. You can then expand on these words with synonyms or related keywords using a tool such as LeanDomainSearch or even a plain old Thesaurus!
2 – Narrow It Down & Test
At least 95% of the company names you’ll come across will be garbage, but since there is likely to be hundreds of names, that is probably a good thing! I find that choosing 20 or so as a long list is a great start, and then it is best to whittle it down to five names. At this stage, you’ll need to do a trademark search and check Companies House (if you’re in the UK) to see if you can legally use these names. It may be the case where some of them are taken, and this further helps with the narrowing down process.
3 – Be Unique & Unforgettable
This is a real challenge and involves you finding a name that becomes synonymous with your industry, remaining fresh and memorable over an extended period. You’ll find that it will be necessary to be creative in most cases. While the ideal scenario is that either your name or your company name is available as a domain, it is pretty likely that it has been taken. It often feels as if every single word in the English language has been trademarked so you’ll need to be creative.
Compaq is a prime example of a successful brand name that was just ‘made up’ while ‘Acura’ is another brilliant example, as it is now associated with precision engineering – exactly what the company needed. While ‘Acura’ has no dictionary meaning, ‘Acu’ means precision in a number of different languages. The aforementioned ‘Compaq’ was for a company that sells portable computers and wanted a name that emphasised the compact nature of their device. The name ‘Compaq’ was chosen as it was deemed to be more noticeable and less generic than the term ‘compact.’
One possible issue when using made-up names is that there could be a perception that your company and its products are complex which may not be true at all. Additionally, you may need to use the services of a specialist naming company to find the best name in this manner, and this can be an expensive process.
4 – Simplicity
Doing all of the above whilst keeping the name simple may be the toughest task of all. First and foremost, you need to keep it relatively short, and it is best to avoid hyphens or other special characters, as Internet users do not like typing such names into the search engines. Most marketing experts say that the best names should be two syllables or less.
It goes without saying that you should avoid unusual spellings and while the practice of weird names seems to work for sites like Flickr, it is isn’t guaranteed to work for you. Some business owners try to use strange names in a bid to stand out, but this does not end well as customers are often unable to find the business when they use Google or another search engines! Finally, ensure that your business is easy to remember and steer clear of acronyms, which can be both confusing and meaningless to consumers.
Using all of the above information, you may come across 3-5 names that fit all of your criteria and once this happens, look at each name and decide which one is the best representation of your company and business. Most professional firms can take a minimum of six weeks to come up with a business name and while you probably don’t have that much time, it is an indication that a new business name is not something you should rush into. Once you have chosen the name, register it, set up your company website and begin building enthusiasm for it straight away. From now on, that company name you choose will be a huge part of your brand identity so make it a good one!
What process did you apply when looking to name your company?