It’s true: creating a good name for your business or products is crucial to long term success. In general, business names should be short, easy to say and spell and the product or business name should “stick” in the minds of the consumer. That much we know.
However, for many people, there are two common problems. Firstly, coming up with a memorable and appropriate name for your business. Despite all the good advice, many people are still making the same naming blunders. It’s obvious to onlookers that they didn’t spend enough time on naming — and it hurts their business.
Secondly, creating a name that is available. Is it trademarked? Is it available as a domain name? What often happens is that we settle for second best. We can’t get the names we want, so we settle for less memorable names. That’s the first big mistake.
Linguists call this “semantic positioning.” Compare your name to those of your competitors’. Does your name sound as good as, or better than theirs? If not, improve it. You want your name to be the first name people remember when looking for your type of service or product. Give yourself a good start by getting the name right.
On the web in particular, your name has got to convey the right message and it has got to stand out from the crowd. Here’s a list of top tips to getting that perfect business name:
1. Spend the necessary time in getting it right
You want to convey the correct image right from the very start. Never settle for a second rate name — it will hurt your credibility. A bit of persistence will reap large rewards. Don’t skimp on this – take all the time needed to get a winning name.
>> RELATED: Directory of What’s in a Business Name?
Before coming up with a list of alternatives, decide what qualities you would like your name to convey. For example – quality, trust, integrity, compassion, competence and assurance are some examples. Be sure to convey your chosen qualities and avoid hype.
2. Do your research
Look for companies in your field of interest. Compare your name to theirs? Whose is better? Does your name sound more solid, more memorable? If it doesn’t – change it. You want your name to sound professional and unique, not just another “me too” outfit.
3. Start your name with a plosive
A plosive is a little bit of language that pops out of your mouth and draws attention to itself. It’s a “stopper” in language. B, C, D, K,P and T are all plosives. Many studies have shown that names beginning with such letters have higher recall rates. Many top brand names (knowingly or not) start with these letters.
What does this mean? Try to start your name with a strong sounding consonant or a plosive.
4. Do your language checks
Most huge naming blunders are due to the Spanish language. There are dozens of examples of companies not doing their checks and consequently ruining their campaigns. It’s easy to check, but many people tend not to bother. If you opt to use an uncommon word, it’s best to check its meaning in foreign languages. It could save you lots of embarrassment later on.
5. Stick to short and simple
Short simple words that have real world associations work best. People can identify and picture words that have some sort of association. A problem that many fanciful names have is that they need a lot of marketing to build the brand name. Made up names have no meaning, thus need large amounts of exposure to get remembered.
Short and simple names that are pleasant (even fun) to say are often the best names.
6. Traditional meaning is only one part of the equation
Consider how your name looks. Does it look feminine? Does it convey trust or reliability? Typically, words that have lots of round looking letters such as o, m, n and so on, are softer and more feminine. Letters with hard, rugged strokes such as k and x are more harsh and manly.
Consider Olay and Clorox, and you get the idea. Consider your target market and what image you want to convey when creating your name.
7. Relax, and let your thoughts flow
You know it’s true: good ideas usually flow when you’re relaxed and not trying too hard. If you’re struggling to find a winning name that’s available — take a break. Do something else. You’ll often get lots of new ideas and come back a whole lot fresher.
By understanding and applying the basic naming techniques, creating dozens of great sounding names that are still available, is very possible. Don’t fall for the myth that all the good names are gone. They’re not. In fact they’re becoming easier to come by as people give up on the dot com hype.
A bit of persistence combined with simple naming sense, and your next name is likely to be a true winner.
Recommended Books to Help you Find that Perfect Business Name:
- Unique Business Name Ideas: Find a Killer Name for Your New Business
- Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business
- Naming Your Business and Its Products and Services: How to Create Effective Trade Names, Trademarks, and Service Marks to Attract Customers, Protect (Small Business Bookshelf Series)
- Naming Your Small Business: Brand your new company for success today and for success in the future
- Naming for Power: Creating Successful Names for the Business World
Andy Routledge is the webmaster of http://www.name-genie.com, a site dedicated to creating quality names for your business or products. For more naming tips and tricks, visit http://www.name-genie.com
Category: Startup Basics