The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

by Mark Stephens

With more than 500,000 brands in the world, it is safe to say that brand identity is important; we know that. The questions are: how important is it, and what to do about it in order to stand out from a huge crowd? A short answer: you begin with what you want your customers to feel when they say the name of your brand out loud. For instance, Google is a misspelling of the word ‘googol’ which is a large number: digit 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. Whereas, Volkswagen – with a rich naming history – means ‘people’s car.’ 

What Makes a Good Business Name

Be it a made-up word such as Yahoo or a thoughtful combination of words Wal-mart, the name of your company needs to be a replica of what you want to convey to your target audience about your brand. However, in all honesty, the above sentence is easier said than done. Regardless, entirely possible. A good business name can be many numbers of things:

Distinctive: The entire concept of naming a business is to give it a separate identity from its competitors. Thus, in a way, your business name will be different from any other. However, it is important to ensure that the name stands out, is unique, and is as memorable as a classic song.    

Future-proof: What most of us do not consider while doing several brand-centric activities is the future expansion of a business. One thing you do not want to do while naming your business is limit its future reach. 

Meaningful: Here, by meaningful, I do not necessarily mean that your business name should have a definition as per the Oxford dictionary. Instead, a meaningful business name is a word (or a combination of words) that conveys the essence of your business to its target audience. 

However, the most important aspect to consider when naming a business is if it resonates with your target market. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before giving your business a rock-solid identity:

  1. How would you describe your brand to others in the least words possible?
  2. What is a set of adjectives that you would use to describe your product or service?
  3. Which feelings do you want to evoke in your customers as they come across your brand name?
  4. Details of your target customers: their age, cultural background, and geographical settings (if needed). 

Grab a piece of paper and come up with answers to the above questions, and you are a step closer to deciding the name of your business. 

Types of Business Names and Tones

It is important to put your audience at the center of everything your business does or gets. Then, comes the technicalities of the same. Here, once you consider your target customers concerning the name of your business, it is time to decide what type of name you want to explore. 

Descriptive

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

This is your safest bet. Period. Through a descriptive name, the name of your business clearly describes what your business is, or what products and services are aligned with the same. The Home Depot, American Airlines, and Bank of America are all perfect examples to represent how powerful and confident your business name can sound by giving utmost clarity to your customers through the business name itself. 

Eponymous

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

There are some business names that can get away with using the names of their founders as their own. For instance, Michael Jordan, Coco Chanel, and Tesla. All these billion-dollar companies, if not more, are named after the founders (or homage to someone).  

Acronymic

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

To explain the best: the acronymic names are shortened versions of the descriptive names. As these names are most popular through the acronyms, you can go ahead with these names and be sure to remain futuristic, no matter what the new trend would be at the time. For instance, Kentucky Fried Chicken labels itself as KFC because ‘fried chicken’ sounds unhealthy to some. 

Suggestive

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

As the term implies, suggestive names are when you ‘suggest’ some message, value, service, or quality to the world through the name. For example, Facebook – well, we all know what it means. Besides composite: a combination of words, another form of the suggestive name is real: terms taken straight from the dictionary, such as Uber (meaning outstanding example). Lastly, my favorite out of the three forms, invented; such as Pinterest, one of the most overlooked examples of brand names. 

Learn about the Facebook name change and journey to building Metaverse.

Associative

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

For the most part, an associative name has a metaphorical meaning; it is through the names of these businesses that they reflect their brand as a whole identity. One of the greatest examples is Amazon, which is the world’s largest river which reflects the range of products one can select on Amazon as an e-commerce platform. 

Lexical

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name

It goes without saying, a good business name must be memorable. The Lexical business names are the ones that are largely based on the remembrance of the name, mostly by being playful. Some of the examples are Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King. 

Begin Brainstorming

Now the actionable part of it all. Once you gain a perspective on your target customers and decide the type of name based on the same, it is time to give identity to your business. 

The entire concept of brainstorming is to simply put your thoughts into perspective without putting any sort of limitations to the same. 

Nevertheless, many of us presume that because we have considered the type of name or any other factor, brainstorming names should be in alignment with the same, which is untrue. Here are some ways to do it right:

Do it All

While brainstorming, here is something that I would like you to explore: come up with adjectives, verbs, phrases, made-up words, vibes, thoughts, idioms, colors associated with your brand, anything that comes to mind. Do not bother if something is not entirely related to your brand, the reason behind doing brainstorming through this method is to connect the dots, not have a fully formed structure laid out. 

Word-play at Best

Here, wordplay does not mean your regular puns or witty expressions about the meanings of terms. Instead, actually, play with words: explore alternate spellings of words that you came across in the first form of brainstorming – Toggl and Tumblr are a few great examples to show how it works, or explore foreign languages and words in those languages which conveys a part of your brainstorm session. 

Also, read: 5 Must-Use Tools for Brainstorming Company Names

If you feel unsure and are open to suggestions, you could organize a focus group or take surveys concerning shortlisted names for your business and see what your target market thinks of each of the business names. 

Bonus Tip: As you finalize a few names – or even decide the one – head over to the local jurisdiction and check the availability of the name you have decided. Also, go through domain providers and check if the domain name for that business name is available, or which variants can you play with by adding a prefix or suffix.

Businesses accross the world have consulted DesignBro to build their brand with logo, website, packaging design and much more.

We can help you too!

The Perfect Way to Come Up With a Winning Business Name
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