How to choose a business name

Personal Branding

Regardless of whether you already have a company or are just planning on starting one, if you’re here, chances are, you’re facing a very delicate task of naming a business or a product.

Before we start, let’s clear something up. The company name and brand name do not have to be the same. Very often, corporations tend to have more than one brand under the same ownership. For example, BMW Group holds ownership of BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad brands, the same way that The Coca Cola Company produces not only Coca Cola but also Fanta, Sprite, Dasani Water, Powerade and various other things, although each of these brands could actually be a company for itself.

The doubts that every entrepreneur faces when starting a business encounters are very common. Although it seems simple, choosing a name for your brand is not a small thing and can greatly affect the future of the company itself.

The first step in creating a brand is a good company name. It must be easy to remember, pronounce and understand. The name of your brand must evoke a clear association.

To begin, ask yourself a few questions:

Is your name easy to remember?

Is it difficult to pronounce?

Does the name make sense for what it will provide?

Does it send the message I want it to send?

Do I limit my company by choosing this name?

How does it sound when you say it out loud?

Does the name have any hidden meanings??

Does it have the same meaning when translated into another language?

Good choice of a brand name is really what “prepares the stage” for branding. Just think of some of the world’s greatest brands: Meta, Apple, Disney, Starbucks, Google, Twitter, Nike, Coca Cola, Ferrari, Tesla and others. You need no more information to help you understand who is doing what. Without any explanation you are familiar with all these companies. You know who they are, what they do, what they mean to you and what feelings they evoke.

In time, the name begins to incorporate the meaning, values, trust, and true feeling of a brand. Brand naming is such an important part of the process because it needs to communicate all these meanings to consumers. So do not take this lightly. It is a decision that will determine the future of your company, product, or a service.

Quick tips for choosing a brand name

1. In digital reality we’re living in, first thing you want to do is check the website domains, because if it’s already busy, you may want to reconsider your choice. You can check you domain availability and book it here .

2. Search the web, because even if no one has the same name, check what you get when you type a company name or part of a name into a search engine. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn’t use it, but it's a good piece of information to know before making a decision.

3. Communicate with others. Create a list of names and go through it with someone whose opinion you value. Let them tell you their views and associations they get from hearing those names.

4. Be creative! Think about what kind of reactions you want to see from people when they hear or read the name of your brand. Write the connotations on a piece of paper and sort them out.

5. Avoid names based on proper names. They are hard to remember, and it is almost impossible to make a brand out of them. Also avoid common names that describe your product or service, such as a consulting firm or real estate agency.

6. Do not use geographical names either. In addition to being difficult to remember, you will make it very challenging to relocate or expand. There are exceptions when you want to create local business such as a local bar.

7. Make a list of keywords, browse the web, and write down all the names you like. Then choose your favorites and study their brand naming process. As you consider others, keep track of all the new names and keywords that come to your mind in the process. The best way to come up with a bunch of these words would simply be thinking about what makes your company unique.

Brand name

While you’re thinking about potential names, think about what you want the name to say about it. Your name should highlight all the key elements of your brand. There are 4 types of brand names you should consider:

1. Descriptive names

They represent the work that the company does or what is accomplished by using the products or services of the brand. Descriptive brand name is the oldest type of name and there is a reason for it. They are proven to be the most efficient. They carry the core message of the brand to you immediately. Take Whole Foods as an example, it is instantly clear to you at what kind of company you’re looking at. Descriptive names can be useful for positioning a brand very clearly, and are perfect for start up brands where customers need to introduced to what exactly the brand is offering.

2. Acronym names

Acronyms are in fact abbreviations of descriptive names. Take BMW for an example. If you’ve ever wondered what the luxury German car’s name stands for, it’s Bayerische Motoren Werke in German, which translates to Bavarian Motor Works. Acronyms sound powerful, are easy to remember, easy to pronounce and are easier to brand. Still, acronyms don't have a soul. At first glance, they have no real meaning and are more open to interpretation.

3. Fictional names

Some of the world's most famous brands, such as Google, Twitter, Kodak, etc. have fictitious names that were created just to name a brand. This type of brand name has one big advantage, and that is that there are no restrictions. They can be anything you want them to be but there is a catch. Not every fictional name is good for every brand. The best fictional names are those that are resonant and give a certain impression.

4. Feeling / Experience names (Evocative Names)

This type of name is hardest to develop because it is based on the experience the consumer has after using a branded product or service. Feeling names are a choice of some of the most popular brands, such as Apple or Amazon. This type of brand name is supposed to evoke certain feelings every time you recognize the brand or use its products or services.

They are very difficult to master because it is sometimes hard to associate a brand name with a certain experience or a specific value that you want customers to compare to your brand. To come up with this kind of name, requires a lot of experience and time.

Popular brands with handwritten logos

To inspire your own ideas, we’ve prepared the list of top 5 brand naming processes around the globe.

1. Coca Cola

John Pemberton, founder of the infamous drink formula, turned to Frank Mason Robinson, his partner and bookkeeper, for advice regarding the name of his newly developed product. Robinson, who suggested the name Coca-Cola, believed it should represent the drink’s exotic syrup formula - Coca, which was derived from Coca leaves and Cola from kola nuts.

1. Coca Cola

John Pemberton, founder of the infamous drink formula, turned to Frank Mason Robinson, his partner and bookkeeper, for advice regarding the name of his newly developed product. Robinson, who suggested the name Coca-Cola, believed it should represent the drink’s exotic syrup formula - Coca, which was derived from Coca leaves and Cola from kola nuts.

2. Sony

The name Sony was drawn from a Latin word Sonus which is the root of words such as Sonic and Sound. The name is easily pronounced in every language, recognizable and represented exactly what the company was providing.

3. Nike

The name of arguably the biggest sports apparel brand dates way back to the days of Greek mythology. In these stories, Nike is represented as the Winged Goddess of Victory. Great choice for a brand that primarily deals with athletes, isn’t it?

4. Amazon

Jeff Bezos' first idea when he founded Amazon was to start the name of the company with the letter "A", in order to appear at the very top of searches and contact lists. He named the company Amazon because it represented the largest river in the world and was guided by the fact that his Amazon will be the largest company in the world.

5. Apple

Based on his biography, Steve Jobs named the company Apple when he was on of his fruitarian diets. After visiting an apple farm, Jobs thought to himself “the name sounded ‘fun, spirited and not intimidating.’

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