A business name is more than just words – it is a representation of your company and brand. The process of choosing a business name may seem simple at first, but there are many factors that play into creating a successful one.
David Poulos, director of marketing at Pinnacle Advisory Group, thinks the creation of your company’s name should be not be taken lightly. It should be something you are proud of and willing to live with for quite some time, he said. While you’re never trapped with a name, choose one with the intention of maintaining it for years.
Having a name that resonates with your consumers can save you money, since you won’t have to spend advertising dollars clarifying a muddled message. A good name can also lift you above competitors, help you reach new markets and open doors to further growth.
What a good business name should include
While there are various rules and exceptions on what should be included in a good business name, experts agreed on some common elements. First and foremost, a business name should focus on the message you want to portray.
“The name chosen should reflect the attributes that you want to transmit to the customer,” Poulos told Business News Daily. “The best names are so indicative of a customer’s needs that it seems obvious.”
A good name should be short – two to four – syllables and easy to pronounce. Warren Diggles, president and creative director of Diggles Creative, said short names are ideal, because they tend to be very brandable and easy for consumers to remember.
While your name can include new or existing words, there are pros and cons with each option. Invented words – think Exxon – reduce the risk of confusion with competitors, but it can take a lot of time and marketing before your meaning is established with customers.
Existing names come with established meanings, but those terms are also likely to be used by some of your competitors. A paramount concern about using a common term as part of your business’s name is whether trademark and domain names are available, and many common words are already taken in these areas.
“If someone in a similar industry to yours is already using a particular business or organization name, you should not use it, nor should you want to,” said Diggles. “You should also avoid any name that is confusingly similar.”
To help business owners identify the main elements of a good name, Alexandra Watkins, founder and chief innovation officer of naming firm Eat My Words, developed a 12-point evaluation checklist: the Scratch and Smile Test. Her philosophy used to develop the checklist was built on the idea that a business name should make you smile rather than scratch your head.
SMILE: The five qualities of a super sticky name
- Suggestive: It evokes something about your brand.
- Memorable: It is rooted in the familiar.
- Imagery: It is visually evocative to aid in memory.
- Legs: It lends itself to a theme for extended mileage.
- Emotional: It moves people.
SCRATCH: The seven deal breakers of a name
- Spelling-challenged: It looks like a typo.
- Copycat: It is similar to competitors’ names.
- Restrictive: It limits future growth.
- Annoying: It is forced or frustrates customers.
- Tame: It is flat, undescriptive or uninspired.
- Curse of knowledge: Only insiders get it.
- Hard to pronounce: It is not obvious or is unapproachable.
How to come up with a business name
There are a variety of methods you can use to devise a name for your company. Poulos and his team found the most successful one to be a customer-centric naming method.
Poulos recommends starting the process by gathering an aggregate of various department staff or consultants to develop a list of characteristics that you want your company to stand for. This brainstorming session should result in a series of on-brand character traits that you can then match with a set of words that are implied by each trait.
With the implied words, craft a series of word combinations that bring out the various character traits and work them into a name that has meaning for the customer. This should evolve into a long list of first-round business name ideas.
After you have your first set of potential business name ideas, Poulos suggests polling potential customers to rank each name from 1 to 20, based on how well they fit or describe your business. Use the consumer poll to narrow your list down to the top five candidates. Verify that these top candidates, culturally and linguistically, will not create a conflict in the countries where you want to operate.
A critical next step that many business owners skip is to research each of your top names for corporate registry, trademarks, patent and domain name availability. Diggles said you should choose a name with an available .com domain.
“Unless you are a government, educational institution, or a nonprofit, you definitely want a .com,” said Diggles. “Your customers will automatically assume that your website is a .com because it is the most widely recognized name on the internet.”
Read more: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8829-choosing-business-name.html