Reflect purpose & style

The name you choose lives with you for the lifetime of the business. It has to reflect your purpose and style now and into the future.

A winning nameHow can you come up with a winning company name? It will need to be:

  • Memorable
  • Easy to spell
  • Easy to find online, in a phonebook, or directory.
  • Visual: A strong business name needs a visual element
  • Positive: A word’s connotation can be neutral, positive, or negative, depending on emotional associations by the reader, for instance, use words associated with strength in a trucking company’s name. Give a positive connotation, never a negative one.
  • Informative: Quite possibly your new business will not be an international brand any day soon, like CocaCola. Therefore, give people some clue about what the company does. This also makes it easier to find on and offline.
  • Quite short: A short name helps customers remember your business and serves promotional purposes, and makes it readable on business cards and billboards.

Avoid difficult spellings

When choosing a business name, unique is great, but difficult spellings are a bad idea.

Describe your business

When deciding on a name, try to include a word that describes your business, preferably a keyword used by potential customers on the web.

Make it work for you

Don’t use a name your grandmother and uncle happen to like. Your company name should work for you.

Points to consider when naming your business

  • Be aware when combining words to create your name. Entrepreneurs often try to take two qualities, only to discover that the newly formed word makes no sense or is cumbersome. At times the result can be unfortunate, as in the case of “Expertsexchange”– a company who had to hyphenate in order to offset the original oversight.
  • Differentiate yourself, by not using words that are too common and hence not memorable. Certainly on the web, it is vital to find a niche and show uniqueness.
  • Using a location in a name may possibly be very limiting as the business grows and you hope to serve a wider target audience.
  • Though many companies have turned their names into a clichÃ�©, it is better to try combinations of positive metaphors.
  • Don’t take a name that is so obscure that nobody understands its meaning.
  • Don’t choose a name that is hard to pronounce or spell.
  • In today’s global market place it is necessary to check a business name against the international landscape. For example, if you plan to export widgets to Japan and your company name in Japanese means “death” or some adult-related term, you will fail in that market before you leave the gate. It really has happened.
  • People in other countries are often not used to US sports analogies.
  • Visualize your target audience when you choose a name. The level of sophistication can impact who understands language subtleties and who doesn’t.
  • Since the arrival of the Internet, companies often limit their choice of company name to available domain names or strange spellings that are often hard to remember.
  • Make things easy for the words to be understood and recognized. A fledgling business does not have the means required to pay a high price for heavy advertising so as to place its name in front of the public.

A wrong name can hurt you. Change it as early as possible and don’t just hope the situation will be resolved automatically.

What if you succeed?

Ask yourself, “Supposing my company soars and becomes a real success? Will the name carry us through growth, diversity, and into the global market?”

You need a name that works in the short and long term.

You may consider a name that may be an umbrella for numerous products and activities. Such a name would be less specifically descriptive.

Who should help you choose a name?

It is best to brainstorm with some key decision makers, as few as possible. Include only people who have the company’s best interests deep down. Ensure there are both right brain and left brain types present, meaning the input is both creative and realistic.

Avoid decision by committee. A committee prevents you from changing your mind or modifying the name, as a result of a fear of offending someone emotionally invested.

It’s tempting to receive advice from relatives and friends, most of whom have little if any understanding of repercussions.

Time well spent

Your business carries its name everywhere, every day for many years. Hours invested in considering a suitable name, is time well spent.

Image: Flickr License

“America” Replaces the “Budweiser” Name

“Budweiser is renaming its beer “America.” The beer Budweiser will henceforth be known as America. When you gingerly lift a tall boy of Budweiser out of your bodega’s fridge, what you’ll really be lifting is a tall boy of America. Got it? Budweiser, the King of Beers, will now respond only to its new chosen name, America.”

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On Facebook: Successful rebranding of a bar

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