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Part 1: Business Naming Fundamentals

business naming

Naming a business is one of the most crucial steps in developing your new business and therefore there are several considerations that should be thought out before rushing into a trademark.

The first and most important consideration is brand positioning.

Your name should help separate your company from its competitors. If not, it immediately pushes your business into the saturated, unoriginal part of the market where many business owners deign to be. Once your business is named, it’s hard to dig yourself out of that name without having to do a full business rebrand which can be both costly and inefficient once the business is established.

Another important consideration is the name’s connotation.

How does it make you feel when you say it? There are different kinds of positive implications that can be associated with your business and they often can have contradictory meanings so it is important to choose the values that your business most identifies with (e.g. fresh and new vs experienced and accomplished). These connotations also have to resonate with your position in the industry (e.g. a kid’s dental office may prefer a fun, fresh look while a plumbing company may want to emulate experience).

Consider how your business may grow in the future and ensure that you are not boxing yourself in with your name.

If Thornhill Tech Shop wants to go international someday and open up shop in New York, it may cause some confusion; so as a general tip – avoid geographical names. In addition to just geography, ensure that you leave enough flexibility to diversify your product or services offering. For example, John’s Toilet Repair may someday want to start repairing sinks and showers.

Finally, study the meaning of the name in terms of its relevance to your business.

There are four main methods of name development: functional/descriptive, invented, experiential and evocative. Each method has its own benefits and downfalls when it comes to creativity, expressiveness, and originality.

If all else fails and no eureka moment is striking you, consider picking a name closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Many directory algorithms organize business names in this way and if you are closer to the top it may be more likely that your company is more visible to consumers. Also, pick a name that is easy to pronounce and spell so that when your consumers look you up online they aren’t confused by unconventional spellings.

There is an endless amount of rules and tips that can be given to justify making naming decisions but ultimately what needs to be thought about is the simplest question: What is in a name? This is what will be explored in the part two and I will flesh out exactly how important a name can be. Then in part three I will get into the nitty gritty of the different types of naming methods and how each one can have a different effect on how your small business is perceived.

Click here for part two!


Michelle Levandovsky
Marketing Intern
Mystique Brand Communications



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