When you’re choosing a business name, these tips will help you pick one that will work for you, right now, and well into the future as your brand grows.
Whether you’re thinking of starting a new business or you’re revitalizing your existing brand, the right brand name can make your success a whole lot easier.
We’re not saying that an awesome name guarantees business success or that a company can’t succeed and thrive without a name that has a powerful positioning strategy behind it.
All we’re saying is that the vital task of brand-building is exponentially more manageable with an evocative, memorable name that creates a positive and lasting impression on your target audience.
Finding a meaningful, unique name that sets you apart and boosts your brand recall is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s not impossible either. To help you on your exciting entrepreneurial journey, we’ve put together our top ten tips for choosing a business name.
1. Your potential customers don’t want to be bored by your brand name
They’re overwhelmed with ads and messaging all fighting for their attention (and their purchases). Usually, you’ll have a few seconds or less, to catch their attention before they move on, bounce, scroll past or walk away.
A boring name is a disadvantage right off the bat. Your customers will be drawn to an evocative name that they can relate to, that paints a picture of your brand personality and the work you do.
According to Forrester Research, feelings are 1.5x more impactful in influencing purchasing decisions and brand loyalty than any other factor. We choose to buy things that evoke strong feelings, but we are also inclined to buy from brand names that make us feel good.
2. Keep your name simple, easy to understand, and easy to say
You want your audience and your customers to remember you.
You want them to talk about your brand, and tell their friends and family about you.
If they can’t recall what your name is, and they don’t know how to pronounce it, they can’t encourage other people to look you up online.
There are a lot of business names that we have no idea how to pronounce. Now a name that’s hard to pronounce is not a complete deal-breaker, but your marketing efforts have to work that much harder to create brand awareness and recognition with a difficult-to-remember name.
3. Consider the meaning of the name you choose in other languages
There are many stories of names from international companies that don’t travel well, but we’ll stick to a fictitious example for now.
“Gift” is a common English word and wouldn’t raise any red flags if you were to include it in your business name.
However, if your business expands to Germany, you could be in for a nasty surprise because “gift” translates to poison!
4. Check URL availability
Finding a URL that’s available for your brand name is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to choosing a business name.
Before falling in love with a name, running a search to ensure that an appropriate URL is available is a good idea.
However, there are creative ways to deal with the URL availability problem if there’s a name that’s perfect for your business.
XYZ.com might be taken but alternatives like “getXYZ.com” might still be available.
5. Research legality and trademarks
There are legal implications to consider when you’re choosing a business name.
A name that’s already in use will defeat your goal of being unique, but may also cause legal problems in the future.
Getting help from an experienced professional to deal with the trademarks and other legal issues is a great idea when you’re working on choosing a business name.
6. Don’t choose a name that looks like a typo
It might be tempting to change the spelling of a common word to create your brand name, especially if you can’t get the URL you wanted, or the name you want is taken. But if your name seems like a typo, it’s going to create more issues than it’s worth.
Imagine having to spell out your brand name every time you have to give someone your website address or your email.
Voice search won’t work for you either if your brand name has an unusual spelling.
A spelling-challenged name will confuse your customers, sometimes to the point of frustration. Is that the brand experience you want to leave your audience with?
7. Don’t choose a name that restricts your business from growing
With small business branding, you want to avoid picking a name that boxes you in, tying to a certain region, or restricting you to a particular type of service unless you’re 100% sure you don’t want to expand and diversify.
A store called Just Drums can’t start selling ukuleles and other instruments if they wanted to, and Smallville Motors can’t open a branch in Largeville without changing their name.
Another common mistake is picking a name that’s “trendy” now, exposing the possibility of making your brand seem dated in the future. When you hear eHarmony, you just know they picked that name in the early 2000s.
Picture your brand’s journey over the next 15 to 20 years. Will the name you’re choosing be open enough to accommodate what the future holds for your business?
8. Have a well-defined target audience, and think about how they would react to your name
When you’re coming up with names, your target audience should be a primary consideration. You want to choose a name that your customers will fall in love with, and enjoy using, but remember, you can’t appeal to everyone.
Choose a name that fits your target audience’s personality. A name that speaks to them, that they can relate to will boost your chances of success.
9. Get opinions from a sample of your target audience
Continuing from the previous tip, after you’ve chosen a name or a few options for names, you need to confirm that you’re on the right track with your target audience.
It helps to get a small sample of your audience to share their thoughts on your chosen names, to understand their thinking, and to learn which names they connect better with.
10. Get help when choosing a name for your company
Trying to develop a great brand name in isolation is an exercise in futility. Get help from others and bounce ideas around to find the best one that works for your business. Another advantage of involving your internal team in the brand name brainstorming is you’ll have to explain your goals, brand personality and reason for existence to them. This will help you sharpen these attributes.
If a rebrand is what your business needs, creating a plan is Step One.
Use the Mystique Rebranding Checklist to plan for success.
Your brand name is the first impression you’ll make on customers
The name you select for your business is the foundation on which your brand’s identity is built. Your brand name is the first window that customers get into your brand personality. It’s only a few words, but extremely important in defining the future of your business.
We hope you use these tips, to help you in your exciting journey of finding an evocative brand name that works for you, and helps you market and grow your business well into the future.
If you need some help in finding a name that will give you the advantage you need to succeed in your business goals, our experts will be happy to work with you.
We invite you to schedule a no-obligation discovery call with us to understand how our brand naming services have helped businesses like yours find and use names that work wonders on their business bottom line.
Pick a time that works for you.
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