How to come up with a superb business name
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet”
Unfortunately, this legendary “Romeo and Juliet” quote doesn’t really work if we’re talking about the business name ideas. Like it or not, the brand name plays a significant role in your company’s commercial success. And by choosing a weak business name you gamble with your startup’s future.
The brand name is the first thing your potential customer will hear (just like the corporate logo is the first thing (s)he will see). It will be one of the most powerful psychological triggers working for or against your business growth. So how not to mess it up?
What makes a successful business name?
Let’s start with one quick test. Check any online business name generator right now and browse the list of the suggested names. Can you tell the potentially good brand name from the rubbish? The answer is, of course, you can! Everyone has some criteria a good business name should meet. And if you ask some of your friends or colleagues to try and do the same evaluation test, the results will be pretty similar. That’s because there are several principles the startupper should never break to come up with a perfect business name. The name should:
Be easy to pronounce and spell
Be unique and available
Let’s break each item on this list down. First of all, the meaningful name is a winning option for every startupper. Sure, you may object telling that such valuable companies as Google, IKEA or Skype placed their bets on a weird brand name and won. But that’s a very risky way to go as the chances are your extra creative approach may not actually pay off.
You want your name to be easy to memorize because there’s nothing worse than hearing something like: “What’s your company’s name again? Yeah, right…. I just keep forgetting it.”
If your brand name isn’t available (for example. as a domain), it will make your business path more thorny that it could possibly be.
The simple spelling and pronunciation really help to keep your brand name on everyone’s lips and make your company easier to find on the internet.
Let’s see how to come up with a business name that will make your startup skyrocket.
How to come up with a brilliant business name?
There are several techniques that will help you get a bunch of revolutionary business name ideas and will make the whole creative process way easier. Let’s dive in!
Make the keywords list
Yep, it’s the first advice you’ll get reading any article on this topic but it’s because it works! Getting the list of the words that tell people what your company’s doing and that trigger certain associations can really help you eventually come up with a strong brand name.
Do it on paper, in Excel, or by using your favorite SEO instruments, whichever way feels the most comfortable. Add all the words that are either descriptive or make the customer feel good about your brand name.
Let’s imagine you’re collecting keywords for a candy store. The descriptors may include the words candy, sweets, pastry, cupcakes, chocolate, ice cream, delicious, sugar, tasty, store, shop, sell, buy, organic etc. And the association triggers may be happy, joy, delight, pleasure, unique, gourmet, on a budget, luxurious, the great deal of choice etc.
The companies like Hormel Foods, Microsoft, Upwork, Atlantic Records, Walmart have the keyword incorporated into their names. So you know this technique is effective.
Once the list is ready, try to choose one or combine two or three of them coming up with those business name ideas. And even if this method will not work for you, at least it will give you a taste of where you should go.
Get the most out of the business name generator
If you have a list of keywords, the business name generator can actually help you. It probably won’t equip you with any good brand names but it can steer your creativity and imagination in the right direction.
The thing with any online business name generator is that it offers you unexpected randomly generated names. And our mind tends to follow the well-known patterns over and over again. That’s why the business name generator can offer you some options that may be your diamond in the rough. Besides, trying different keywords on the business name generator can turn into a really fun game and getting some endorphins can boost your creativity as well.
Experiment with acronyms and abbreviations
When in doubt go for an acronym. There’s no such business name rule but it definitely should be! Acronyms and abbreviations are pretty common in the business world and they usually have that serious and professional vibe. IBM, DHL, At&t, H&M, FedEx, Intel and many other super successful businesses have used this technique to come up with creative business names and didn’t regret it. So you should at least try it.
There’s basically no chance the bunch of the creative business names will appear in your dreams while you’re taking a nap. So it’s totally ok to look for the inspiration in your hobby, in books, in foreign languages, in distant places. Such brands as Nike, Asus, Adobe or Volvo got their creative business names like that.
Just think of something that you truly enjoy (like dancing, rock climbing, traveling or embroidery) and make up a list of words or terms that may suit your business.
Puns and alternative spelling
If you really want to challenge yourself and put your quick wit to the test, try to come up with some puns that can be related to your business specifics or alternative spellings that create several meanings. The pun is by far the most difficult method of composing creative brand names but it’s worth it. Puns are memorable, catchy, and witty. Alternative spelling is a great way to make your brand stand out or resolve a problem when the traditionally spelled name is either not available or too plain.
The audience loves such creative brand names as they prove you’re smart and you have a sense of humor. Think of Whatsapp or Petsmart, Toys R Us, Chick-fil-A for the inspiration and let the creative process begin!
Why my business name idea didn’t pay off?
You may spend days exploring online guides and tutorials explaining how to come up with the top business name but it still won’t guarantee a great result. Every single soul is biased when it comes to something (s)he’ve created and as an author may not see the mistakes. So, if the business name you came up with doesn’t seem to do anything check the list below and find out how to fix it!
It’s too long and/or complicated
Trying to make the business name meaningful and well-rounded entrepreneurs usually give up the laconism. Even the greatest brands in the world make this mistake! Did you know that at one point Starbucks was known as “Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice”? Or that IBM replaced the “Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation”?
Revise your current business name and all the business name ideas you have. Are they simple or do you have a tendency to overexplain everything? Try to make the name shorter. The audience will love the changes!
It has an unusual spelling
Yep, there are brand names like Tumblr, Froot Loops or Chick-fil-A out there. All of them used the alternative spelling and succeeded. The intentional mistakes may help to make the business name unique and appealing. They may solve the problem with unavailable domains. But such a bold move is always a risk and if you’re a startupper with the minimal marketing experience, the chances are it eventually won’t pay off.
The business names with unusual spelling make the search process harder. They are harder to memorize. And that’s exactly the opposite of what you as a startupper want to achieve. Sometimes it’s better to play it safe.
Even if you’re launching the smallest local business ever, you still need to consider the global implications. A name with the double meaning can be a trigger for mocking and may totally destroy your brand.
For example, did you know that Siri is actually a rude word in Georgian language meaning…. well, male genitalia? Or that there’s a Polish candy called “Fart” (which means “luck”)? And as an entrepreneur, you want to avoid negative connotations at all cost.
Sure, it’s nearly impossible to think ahead about each nuance (especially if we’re talking about cultural differences). But don’t neglect the careful investigation to avoid such slips. Take some time to check if the business name you’ve chosen has a hidden meaning. Even if it’s just a simple Google Translate check! Forewarned, forearmed.
P.S. Once you have that perfect creative business name, it’s time to complement it with a beautiful custom logo design. Try our online logo generator to create your own logo and brand identity without having to pay hundreds of dollars to some random design team.