Choosing a company name is one of the most important things to consider when starting a business. Ideal names generate interest, awareness, brand loyalty and, through time and consistent use, they become valuable assets. But how to come up with the ideal name? We asked 12 brand experts and entrepreneurs to share their best advice on how to create a brand name, and here’s what we have learned.
“In my view, and I’ve named 3 start-ups which I’ve founded, the points an entrepreneur needs to address are:
Is the name meaningful (relevant to the startup) and memorable (encouraging word of mouth);
Ensure it doesn’t infringe anyone else’s intellectual property;
Can it be easily found online — can you access a good domain name and social media handles;
“To name something is to truly know it. The process of naming something is what’s important, the name is secondary. Naming forces a company to distill down the essence of their idea into one single atomic unit. We have names for everything around us. Names help us to understand and contextualize this complicated world, and the name you choose will be how people recognize, recall, and understand your idea. Think of it as a one-word mission statement. Logos and rebrands come and go, but a name is forever.” Marc Hemeon, Hemeon.com
“The first time for me was, “Does your mom, approve”. Mine didn’t so respectfully I learned about DBA’s. Secondly, do you have a domain and social names available to support it? Third, get a trademark on it.” David Franklin, Founder & CEO of KnowRX™
“When naming a child, they say you should practice shouting it — as though you are yelling for the kid on the other side of a playground. I think the single question to ask is: “Can you say the name with clarity and confidence in conversation?” So many times, a salesperson or business owner will spend precious time spelling or sounding-out the name of their business, or correcting people, or explaining what the name actually means or its origins. If you have to do all that… it’s time to find a new name.” Hilmon Sorey, Co-Founder and CRO of ClozeLoop
“My advice is to listen to your customers. Also, register the names you test before going public. Another important part is to check the international rights. Do an international trademark search. Your name may be in use by someone in another country. If the name is not used, make the investment in registering your name in the countries that you plan to do business with. I made the mistake not to register the name Selling Power in Germany. In 1990, a small sales training company registered our name in Germany and they got a trademark for sales training just for the German market. To fight an intellectual property thief is very costly and time-consuming. Get a good trademark lawyer to guide you through the legal jungle, it will save you money in the long run.” Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and CEO of Selling Power Magazine
“The one question they should ask is, “How does this identity communicate our brand strategy?” Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it’s about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem. If your name doesn’t deliver on that, it’s not selling your brand.” Rob Frankel, Branding expert (RobFrankel.com)
“Does your name say what you do for your customers? Your startup name is your identity among your customers, and your market, it is your identity online. Make sure it describes your brand in the best possible light.” Sean Sheppard, Entrepreneur | VC | Founder of GrowthX and GrowthX Academy
“When naming a startup you need to print the name out and see what it will look like on t-shirts and coffee cups. What themes or colors does the name invoke? Your name needs to both represent what your company is and sells. Is it a cool-sounding made-up word? It is a double entendre? Or is it a word that already exists? Having a 360-degree view of the name, what feelings it invokes, and thinking about how other people will digest it when they see (and hear) it should help you avoid some of the naming pitfalls that keep companies with great products from standing out.” Chad Dyar, Enablement Leader, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Author of Southern Gentleman
“Is your brand name memorable?Every day we’re bombarded with information — humans only retain a very small amount of that information. I think it matters less how a name is illustrated (abstract, pictorial, or wordmark, for example) and more important that it’s something people will remember. We can all think of brands that we’ll never forget the name of. I, for one, never forget the name of the automation software IFTTT, as it’s really unique and references the software’s functioning; however, its competitor Zapier, which I actually use more, is a brand name I continually forget. I often have to first search “IFTTT vs” to even find the website. I’m not saying it’s universally forgettable, but I am recommending you do some basic market research. Asking people if they like the name, or better yet, ask them a few weeks later if they still remember it.” Phil Pallen, Keynote speaker, brand strategist & celebrity brand expert
“You should start a google spreadsheet, brainstorm all names, then rank by a few categories — one would be related to my question: can you get the online assets of this name? Domain, social media accounts, etc. Another question would be: Can you control the Google search results for your brand name? If you can’t, because there is a lot of competitive traffic or keywords being advertised on, then you may want to reconsider.” Tristan Pollock, Entrepreneur and investor (TristanPollock.com)
How do we capture and communicate the spirit of our business in our brand name?
“Is the name meaningful? Quirky and unique startup names are great. But you have to find some grain of truth or meaning in it, too. After all, your startup name will represent the essence of your business. So, a weird letter or word combination with no extra meaning will have less impact.” Julia Gifford, Founder of TrueSix
We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect business name. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat with someone about the process of acquiring your exact brand match domain name,book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade. We are always happy to hear from you.