Ever wondered why so many actors change their names? Walden Robert Cassotto changed his name to Bobby Darin. Not just actors but businesses do it too. The old name of Google was BackRub while Altria is the new name of Philip Morris.
Your name is your identity. It represents you.
Similarly, your business is known by its name. Naming a business should be your top priority. This is how you, your employees, customers, and everyone else will identify and differentiate your business.
Choosing a business name is not as simple. You must consider a lot of factors before naming your business.
Make it count
It is not just your products and the business idea that drive sales and profit but the name of your business has its own unique value. The idea is to make your business name add value instead of just being another name.
It should be attractive and must appeal to your target audience. If it doesn’t, it will not count.
When a person will hear about your business, the first thing that he will do is listen to its name and will try to connect to it (emotionally and otherwise). This is the point where the name should be attractive and must appeal to a wider audience in the first attempt.
Keep it simple
Alexandra Watkins, the chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, says:
“Any time you have to explain your name or apologize for it, you’re just devaluing your brand.”
Try to keep the business name short and sweet. Something that is extremely easy-to-pronounce and is easier to remember.
Better yet, use fewer words such as an abbreviation like CIA (Central Intelligence Authority). CIA is easier to pronounce and is simple as compared to the Central Intelligence Authority.
If you prefer a long business name that consists of two or more words, try using abbreviations or merge the two words such as advertorial, which is derived from advertising and editorial. This is known as a portmanteau word, a blend of words.
Anything that’s simple, easy-to-read, and easy-to-remember should be preferred.
Keep it short
Macy’s is a short business name. You can read it in less than a second as compared to Comme des Garcons.
Even if it is easy-to-read, if it is long enough, people won’t remember it. You have to remind them several times before they will learn the business name.
Needless to say, all the big brands that you see around have tiny names. You will hardly find big businesses having more than a single word in their names.
The rule is simple, keep it short – single word works best.
Yes, it has to be unique. I am sure you know it.
Not just unique, but it must not be similar to another business – especially a famous business.
A unique business name will help your target audience and customers identify your business. It helps differentiate your business from the others.
When we say unique, it doesn’t mean it should be something awkward. The best names are the ones that are true representative of your business and/or product.
Best Buy is a great example. The business name is unique and it clearly shows what it is all about.
Use domain name
It is practically not possible, as of today, to launch a new business without a website. Even if you are starting a small local restaurant, you need a website for it.
One of the simplest strategies for choosing a name for your business is to hook it to the domain name. Look for a nice and clean single-word domain and name your business on the domain name.
Finding single-word attractive and simple domain names is a challenge in itself because all the best names are already taken.
Here are a few tips to find or generate a domain name from scratch which can be ultimately used as your business name.
- Using a foreign word will open new doors. Try naming your business on a foreign word. You will be able to grab a domain name easily.
- Create a new word from scratch and buy the domain name. Nobody knew Google before the search engine giant named it. Most of the business names are actually created from scratch.
- Do no follow the trend instead come up with something totally out-of-the-box, and it will work.
Mistakes to avoid
There are certain mistakes that must be avoided when naming your business.
Do not use common words
Refrain from using simple words that are used in daily life such as salt, electric, or business directory. These are simple business names but they are not unique. It should be simple but not so simple that it should merge and mix with other words and lose its identity and uniqueness.
No personal names
Do not use your name as your business name. While it is a common trend and it has worked exceptionally well for brands. But it is not a decent approach to naming your business. It doesn’t help grow your brand and a business name on your personal name will not convey any message to your target audience.
Mark Tiger doesn’t mean anything for the end-users. These types of business names are bad at creating an emotional appeal for the target audience.
No region-specific business names
Do not use a country, city, or state name in the business such as Florida LED bulbs. While this sounds extremely attractive. It is appealing for a specific geographic location but this is generally a bad idea to use geographical locations in the business name. Things get tough when your business grows.
There is a reason why Kentucky Fried Chicken was renamed KFC.
When your business grows and you have to move into new markets and regions, such a name will do more harm than good. Your potential customers will assume that your business is not available in their region.
Besides, people from other regions will not be able to connect emotionally with the brand. If you are born in California and have been living there for 35 years, will you be able to attach emotionally with Singapore Burger? Naturally, you just cannot.
Do not make things hard for your target audience. Keep it simple and plain.
People do not remember the staff, they do not remember the CEO, all they remember is the business name. Half of the Facebook users do not even know the name of its founder but the people who do not use Facebook know about it.
Your business name is its identity.
Make it memorable and catchy. Period.
Dil is one of the co-founders of Insight Matters, a counselling practice in Dublin – because Insight really does matter.