Wed, 06 Dec 2023

What's in a Name? The Secret to Naming a Business

10 Mar 2023, 17:33 GMT+10

How Name Your Business

Did you know that human beings form impressions after seven seconds? For entrepreneurs, this means that you only have seven seconds to prove that your product or services are worth investing in.

Logically, this isn't enough time to charm customers. The only way around this dilemma is to impress potential customers with quality branding. More specifically, with the visual aspect of your business, your logo, and the most important element - your business name.

Yet, how do you make a great business name to help with your brand marketing? Keep reading to find out the secret to naming a business today!

Know Yourself: What Are You Naming?

Before you start listing options for your business name, clearly define what you will name. Are you naming your first product line up or are you naming the company as a whole? Most business owners focus on incorporating the characteristics of their initial product lineup that they forget to consider the other aspects of the businesses.

For example, Pizza Hut initially sold pizza hence, they incorporated their first product lineup in their name. However, Pizza Hut started adding different types of food to its menu. Yet because of the message of its business name, it's having trouble explaining that they sell more than just pizza.

As such, think of what you're naming. In doing so, consider the foreseeable changes in your business.

You want to ensure that your business name can capture the essence of your business, not just the product. This is especially true if you have plans of expanding your product after the success of your first lineup.

Establish Business Identity

Now that you know what you're naming, create a brand identity for your business startup. Regardless of the generation, consumers go for brands that feel the most humane. As such, first-time business companies should launch their business as if they're introducing a new friend into their social circle.

As with normal human interactions, describe who your friend is. In most cases, this means telling them what aspect that new friend is best at.

Similarly, establish a character for your company and use the character as a basis. The company name Sir Speedy, for example, establishes that their product and services are fast.

By using "speedy" in the company name, people will get the impression that the printing services the company is offering will save them time. As such, they'd want to test it out to see if the name proves to be true.

What Tone Do You Want to Associate with Your Business?

When naming a business, consider how the name would sound. Certain pronunciations have specific connotations.

For example, the founders of the famed coffee chain Starbucks thought that "st" gives a strong vocal sound. They wanted to make sure that even the sound of the name will somehow replicate the strength of coffee. Hence, they started thinking of plausible business names that started with them.

In like manner, consider matching your business' character with the vocal sound of your business' name. If you want to promote your business as sociable, opt for softer tones. Meanwhile, adding z,x, and y letters can make your business name sound more unorthodox.

Market Research: Who Are Your Target Market?

After establishing who you are, start doing your research. Market research is integral in business launching. It allows you to understand how you can fit your business into the competitive market.

After identifying who your primary target market is, start studying about them. Find out about their consumer behavior, including their distinctive characteristics. This can help you come up with business names that can resonate with them.

Twitter, for example, is short, direct, and hip which younger generations prefer. Meanwhile, most boomers prefer brand names anchored on the founder of the product such as Levi's, Harley Davidson, and Volkswagen. The reason is simple, boomers prefer them because they feel more personal.

Aside from your target market, look up your competitors and try to understand how they operate. Specifically, look into how their business name affects their overall performance. In some industries, there's a specific pattern in naming companies.

For example, most information technology companies use technical company names. Moreover, their company names are usually their product names. Concrete examples of this trend include Twitter, Instagram, Microsoft, and Xbox.

In the clothing industry, brands are often named after the main designer such as Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. Meanwhile, the food and services industry often names their shops using their main dish. Taco Bell, Burger King, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

By studying your competitors' business names, you get a clear idea of how you can differentiate yourself from them. This also helps you cross out name ideas on your list that can get you in copyright trouble.

Should You Use Words from Other Languages?

Apart from the preferences of your target audience, consider the language they speak. When we say language, we're not only talking about the national or local language. We're also referring to the slang words or terms they use in their everyday life.

Hence aside from considering using French or Spanish words, see if you can incorporate a particular nuance. This will allow you to communicate with them more effectively.

An excellent example of a company name that used playful consumer slang words is the clothing name Depeche. This is french slang from the 60s which means hurried fashion. A fashion brand used this to appeal to consumers who don't have enough time to spend styling their clothes.

Note, however, to always do your research when using slang or local words. In some cases, one word may denote a negative meaning or association such as criminal gangs in other places. As such, consider how other markets can interpret the words you're thinking of using.

Give Yourself Choices When Naming Business

From your business research, you've probably gained numerous name inspirations and ideas. At this juncture, start making a list of plausible names for your business. Never limit your choices to two or three options.

In fact, don't even start with short business names. Instead, think of long company names because as you move through the naming process, these long company name ideas will eventually shorten due to several factors.

Why do you need so many name candidates? One of the primary reasons is trademarks.

It's essential to ensure that no other businesses have the same name as your business. This will only create confusion among your customers and fellow vendors. More importantly, it will only lead to a legal case.

Remember, trademark infringement has severe penalties, especially for startup businesses with limited funds. Thus, check to see if any of the business names on your list isn't already trademarked.

For instance, when Poachable launched its business, Poached and Poachee companies were already well-established. Hence, Poachable has to change its name to avoid legal challenges.

For extra protection, don't just rely on the information given to you by the state filing office. Just because it stated that the business name is available, it doesn't mean that you're completely off the hook.

Remember that state filing offices only check their own business entity filing records. They don't cross-check with the filing records of the entire state, federal, or common law when determining a business name's uniqueness. As such, always conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that you're not about to use a mark owned by someone else.

Start Creating a Naming Brief

Start putting together a naming brief for the business names that made it to the finals. A naming brief, regardless of whether it's formal or not, summarizes the strategy behind the business name.

Your brief should describe what part of the business you're naming and the message you're trying to convey. These details will guide you in creating brand names that you can choose from.

Moreover, bringing a strategy when naming a business enables you to align your brand name to your business strategy. It allows you to consider the cultural and competitive backdrop of your brand as you establish your business. When making your brief, ask yourself these questions:

Is the name meaningful? Does it convey your intended message? Business names should invoke the right feelings from your audience so that you can encourage them to look further into your brand.

Above all, you want your business name to have a lasting effect. That way, it will always stay on their mind and will compel back to keep coming back to you. For example, Tesla evokes superior technical prowess which makes them stand out in the electrical industry.

Also, ask yourself if the names you're considering are distinctive. Will the names on your list help you stand out when compared with your competitor companies?

Take for instance the company names Steve Jobs considered using Matrix Computers and Executex. Compared to Apple, these company name ideas lack a sense of familiarity and denote complicated context.

Slowly Cross Out Candidates: Consider the Technical Side of Your Business Name

As a business owner, don't just focus on the creative aspect of the business name. Consider all technical liabilities that may arise for each business name you have on your list.

Ask yourself, is the business name easy to spell and pronounce? Take for instance brands from Silicon Valley such as Xobni and Phressia. Not only does it twist the tongue, but it also makes it hard to type into the search box.

Therefore, it's wise to avoid substituting letters just to get away with name distinctness. Stop using "K" to replace "Q" or "Ph" with "F." It would do you better to think of other names.

Also, don't forget to think of the acronym your company name will form. Nowadays, consumers love to abbreviate business names by using their corresponding acronyms. You want to avoid forming inappropriate words such as "ASS" for Apple Support Services.

Key Business Naming Tips Every Entrepreneur Should know

Starting a business requires going over the laws in the states and countries where you might conduct your business with. Under most corporation law, for instance, foreign companies that use an assumed business name will have to register that said name before giving permission.

Other entrepreneur tips to observe include being careful when using city, state, or region names. Not unless you don't have plans of expanding your scope, a geographic name could hinder you later.

A good example is Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining. The company started operating in Minnesota but soon expanded to other states and industries. Hence, to avoid unnecessary confusion the company changed its name to 3M.

Further, you'll want to avoid naming your business after trends because these eventually evolve and become outdated. Polaroid is a testament to how failing to be flexible can lead to bankruptcy.

Polaroid became a hit in 1972 when they introduced their SX-70 camera that developed pictures as users watched. However, because the foundation of the whole company is stiffly anchored in paper print, it didn't survive the digital age. The business name did no favors in allowing it to resurface even amid the improvement in its technology.

Improve Your Standing as Business Rookie Today

Creative, strategic, but technically-sound best sums up a good business name. Beyond distinction, you want to establish a business name that will best represent the product or services you're offering. However, you ought to consider the foreseeable future and be more technical in naming a business.

Ultimately, the key to a good business name lies in creating a balance across these three qualities. If you're careful to consider these business naming tips we provided, you'll be a step closer to creating an effective brand name.

Do you find yourself wanting to learn more about business, marketing, and more? We've got you covered! Keep abreast of the latest tips, tricks, and news by browsing through our webpage today!

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