Naming Your Business
 In Branding

Name your businessOnce you have done a little branding homework, it’s time to choose a name for your baby business.  You don’t need to pay big bucks to a naming firm to help you choose a name for your business. On the other hand, it is important to spend the time to find the right name for your business and make sure there are no issues with it.

There are several directions you can go to find a name:

1)    A proper name. Using your own name works for a single practitioner or a professional service but for other businesses it can limit you later if you ever want to sell. Another problem with it is that it puts too much focus on one personality. Using a made up person’s name is not recommended unless you have a really good reason, since it is not authentic. You must have a story behind the name that reflects your brand. Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium actually works since it definitely has a story behind it.

2)    A word directly related to your product or business. For example,
Entry Control Systems is a name for an automatic gate company. A directly related name makes a clear association between the business and the name.

3)    A metaphorical adjective. You can create a name from words that are descriptive of the feeling of your business or the effect of its products. Dreamstime for stock images.

4)    A made up name. This is a favorite technique of tech or pharmaceutical companies. In this case the word might be memorable but it does not have a pre-existing meaning. The pharmaceutical names are getting really ridiculous. Cialis?

5)    An existing word that is not related to the product of business at all. Apple for example.

6)    Putting two words together such as WordPress or FourSquare.

7)    Adding a letter or two to an existing word, such as Gravatar which combines GR for globally recognized and avatar which is a pictorial representation of someone for a company that connects your avatar with your email so that your image will show up on web comments and such things around the Internet.

8)    Real words that are misspelled are often used for business names such as Flickr or Tumblr.


Some things that will save problems down the road:

1)  Is it easy to understand and remember?

2)  A clue as to what the business is about helps with marketing.

3)  It is best to get a name with an available .com and Twitter Handle. Use Lean Domain Search to help formulate names and make sure the .com and Twitter handle are available. If not available there are other non-top level domains and more have opened up recently. For example: .style is available.

4)  Check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to avoid legal problems.

5)  Don’t use hyphens or other punctuation in the name or URL.

6)  Shorter is better.

7)  Make it meaningful for your brand story.

8)  Don’t go trendy; you are in it for the long haul.

9)  Check the name in other languages.

10)  Stay away from acronyms or clichés.


How to go about the naming process:

1)  Come up with a naming strategy. Are any types of names off limits? What is the feel and character the brand needs to demonstrate?

2)  Have a group of people brainstorm as many names as possible. Don’t put down any of the names.

3)  Copy all of the names onto one sheet or a Google doc

4)  Have each person on the naming team put either a check yes or check no next to each.

5)  Cross off ones that are a definite no and keep a list of favorites.

6)  Take the remaining candidates and run them through Lean Domain Search to see if the .com and twitter are available and Google them to see if they are an existing business or what comes up for the name.

7)  Is there a tag line for the business and does it fit any name better?

8)  Narrow the list down further and try them on for size. How does the name sound to you when you speak it? How does it look when written?

9)  Run your short list through the Trademark Electronic Search System for prescreening.

10)  Send the final three to the attorney to check the legal status.

11)  Choose your name!

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment