Business Naming Really Is a Science – Or Is It?

Although the business naming process is far from exact, you can develop a formula to find a name that can rocket your company to success and sustain ongoing growth.

Would a rose, by any other name, truly smell as sweet? Romeo may think so in regard to his fair Juliet, but in the business world, a name can truly make or break you.

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious: a good name cannot save a bad company. A clever or interesting name may attract some consumers to a particular company, but those consumers will not stick around when they encounter significant flaws in that company’s products and/or services. Furthermore, that once “clever/interesting” name will take on a whole new meaning in the marketplace as public opinion of the company begins to decline. 

So why is a company’s name so critical to success? The answer lies in the fact that a name is so easy to instantly love or hate. First impressions are incredibly important, and so are the ways in which a company’s name initially hits the ear and/or the eye.

Everybody automatically judges a name and, furthermore, feels qualified to do so. For this reason alone, investing in an effective name makes great business sense.

So what differentiates a good business name from a bad one? Investigating this question, The Atlantic contacted marketing executive and legendary brand naming expert Hayes Roth, who could offer no universal rules for landing on the ideal name, but presented the act of business naming as a protracted process that begins in strategy and ends in practical application.

As an example, Roth, the mastermind behind the brand name BlackBerry, stresses the importance of speaking with “a familiar voice.” He adhered to this principle by choosing all one-syllable words for BlackBerry’s line of smartphones (Bold, Curve Storm, etc.). From the iPad to the iPod, Apple’s mobile products also epitomize this concept by universally beginning with a lower-case “i.”

Forbes adds to this key tactic with several other general but imperative tips for effective company naming. Consider the following four tips carefully before embarking on the business naming process. 

1. Keep it simple and catchy.

Avoid overly long and hard-to-spell names. You want your name to be eminently “googleable.” Obviously, you want to avoid any boring names, but you can easily confuse and/or repel potential customers if you choose a name that is too strange or outlandish. As Forbes puts it, ”You want your employees to be able to say where they work without hesitation, and you want your name to resonate with your target audience.” Play close attention to the way your name sounds when it is spoken and looks when it is read!

2. Use a name that conveys strategic meaning.

Although meaningless names such as “Google” can certainly catch on, in general, the name of your company should clearly convey something that is meaningful, positive and associated with the type of business that you conduct. By developing a name that has recognizable meaning with direct ties to your company, you can also cut down significantly on branding costs.

3 Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.

Today, few people are aware that the electronics chain Best Buy formerly did business as Sound of Music. That name worked perfectly well during the early years of the company, when it primarily sold home stereo equipment. But as the company gradually expanded to offer the diverse array of products that it offers today, the original chosen name of this multinational retail giant just made less and less sense. The moral of this story? Prevent the tremendous expense and dangerous pitfalls of a complete rebrand by avoiding company names that are narrow enough to cause future problems.

4. Conduct thorough Internet and trademark searches.

When you begin to favor a particular name, it’s time to check to see if it is already in use. Although businesses with the same or similar names can conduct business simultaneously in some cases, this arrangement will almost always create significant issues. After conducting a general Internet search, check USPTO.gov to see if you can get the name trademarked or service marked.

Getting Professional Help

In light of the incredible importance of an effective company name, wise companies will often seek the help of a quality marketing agency that provides professional business naming services. If you have questions about effective naming strategies, contact a skilled and knowledgeable marketing expert at Bigeye today.

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