Fact: Customers hear the business name first and make an impression before they know anything about its products or services.
A professor at Babson College, Leonard Green suggests a business name should be catchy – quick, unique and easy to remember. “You have 10, 15, 20 seconds to catch people’s attention,” he says. “Just get in there and do things differently than what everybody else is trying to do, because that’s where the home runs come from.” You only get one first impression so you better make it count. The right business name can make all the difference when it comes to propelling your business – that’s how powerful it is.
It gets a bit complicated these days as well, with the huge growth in the availability of diverse marketing tools with which to promote your business – from Web sites to social media networking platforms – together with traditional forms as signage, invoice, business card and basic advertising. Getting your business name right the first time is more important than ever.
So how do you choose the catchy, powerful, branding business name? Here are 5 tips that can help:
5 Tips for Deciding a Business Name
1. Establish, Know, and Visualize Your Brand
Before anything else, you need to visualize your brand. Your brand is your business identity or personality. Yourbusiness name is more than just a name, it’s a big part of your company brand. Companies like Wow Branding, Brandings and Brands For The People offer worksheets and e-books aimed at helping you brainstorm, focus your ideas and create a stellar brand name.
Try to ensure there’s a story behind your name. Ask these questions:
• What message do you want to portray?
• What do you want people to think when they see your company name?
In this age of social media, content marketing and online communications; this is definitely an area we recommend you to focus on first.
This is the fun part. If you can focus on your brand and add creativity, the ideas will flow naturally. While it is a common tip that names be short, easy to pronounce, and remember, don’t cross out a name that is entirely new to the market. This has the potential to make your business memorable and provide a great opportunity for a back-story about your branding, especially if it has meaning towards your history.
During your brainstorming phase, use some of the tools that are available to get you inspired. A thesaurus is a must-have, and here are a few online tools to try out:
These are just focus areas you can work on in phases:
• Variations with spelling
• Words related to what you do and/or how you do it
• Made up words
• Words from quotes or other inspirations
3. Don’t Limit Your Business Name
While it maybe easy to choose a name that identifies what you do, you need to choose a name that has longevity. What you do right now can expand two years from now or you will diversify so don’t limit your name to an industry.
For example, if you are doing web site design for now a great way to ensure longevity is dropping the word “web” and simply use the word “design” for your business. This way, in case you expand to doing brand consultancy or logo design, your name will have your business covered.
4. Consider a Name That Makes Sense for the Business and Works on the Web
Think of a name that can scale with you and the presence you plan on undertaking. Consider the following:
a. Imagine how the potential name will:
• Look (on business cards, website, advertisements, with a logo)
• Sound (ease of pronunciation)
• Be remembered (connotations the name may evoke)
• Distinguish you from competitors (avoid trademark infringements)
• Embarrassing spellings, abbreviations, profanities, potentially offensive undertones
• Implied associations with organizations/people the business is not connected with
c. Since online presence is also important, consider:
• Is your business name registered as a domain already?
Make sure your business name is available as a domain name. This will help you identify whether you can actually set up a website with a web address (domain name) that is clearly affiliated with your business. You can do a quick domain name search in the WHOIS database.
• Is your business name social media-ready or friendly? Consider your business name across all social media handles. Be careful with similar-sounding or same-spelling brands or businesses. Check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc for these. You might not think of using these for now but eventually it might come in handy for your business.
• Is your business name e-mail friendly?
5. Test Drive and Get Feedback
Once you have a couple of possible names, get input. This can be from people who are your mentors, your family or friends, potential clients or colleagues. Ask for their impressions and suggestions.
You can also try to have a test market. You can make an online survey, focusing on a minimum number of questions. Pop Survey and Survey Monkey are two free websites where you can easily create your own professional online surveys.
A very great tool you can work with is Google. This can spell the difference in really branding and establishing your presence on the web.
• Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool provides detailed information about the popularity of certain words and terms, including specific traffic numbers associated with them.
• Google also provides a patent search function that searches the entire U.S. patent database.
• Google Trends allows you to search through current and past search trends, so you can see when and why people have searched for your proposed business name.
• Google gives you a macro view of the words and images associated with your idea. See what happens when you run your proposed business name through Google images, videos and even its translator. It will help give you a visual feel on how your proposed business name impresses upon people.
Get the name right, and you get branding as a by-product of your advertising.
How did you come up with your business name? Share your tips on the comments below.