Choosing a name for your brand or business is both exciting and challenging. Unless you’ve woken up one day struck with inspiration and just knew you had the one, you’re more likely to be toying around with a number of simple and abstract ideas, wondering which one to choose. Or perhaps you’re at ground zero, without any idea of what to call your business. Luckily, there are a few tried and tested ways of coming up with your new brand or business name.
You can start the process of choosing your brand or business name by asking yourself a few questions and writing down the answers. You might have already done this in developing your brand strategy.
You want to know:
You don’t want to name your brand on a whim. Ideally there should be some strategy behind it, in the sense that you understand your audience and what’s going to be appealing to them, and that your name is aligned with your brand values and unique selling proposition.
Your brand or business name can relate to your brand substance, desired market position, personality or a message you want to communicate to customers. Whatever you choose, the goal is to enhance brand recall – instant recognition when your brand name is said or shown. So you’re aiming for something that is simple, catchy and potentially even meaningful. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be immediately obvious what that meaning is, and that ambiguity can be good for your brand story (Adobe, for example, was named after the creek behind the founder’s house).
Your brand name should also be phonetically appealing, unique and enduring – not based on current trends. This is, after all, an opportunity to get your brand and marketing messaging off to a flying start.
It’s time to put pen to paper to start generating ideas for your new brand name. Create a spreadsheet and list ideas across the top line using the different naming styles below that appeal to you. Then use the columns below to iterate on each idea. As you start to shortlist favourites, you can even try combining a few of your top picks to create something even more unique (for example, combining an industry term with the geographic inspiration).
Business name matrix for a lawnmowing company
|Acronyms||Founder Name||Sensory Characteristics||Descriptive|
|ELM (Every Lawn Mowed)||Jim’s Mowing||Fresh Cut Grass||All Lawns And Landscaping|
Check out this list to get the creative juices flowing and help inspire your brand name development:
Once you’ve got your shortlist, apply them to sentences about your brand that might apply in the real world. For example, your vision statement, mission statement, or a conversation about your business. It may sound awkward at first, but almost all names do. Just think about the first time Steve Jobs told someone his business name would be a piece of fruit! Repetition is key, so once you’ve chosen something, you’re best to stick with it.
Is it taken already?
Once you’ve chosen a brand name, take to Google and check out if the name’s being used by someone in your industry. It’s not the end of the world if you have the same name as a business in another country, but you want to avoid doubling up if it’s in the same industry or geographical location.
Is it ownable?
You might have found the perfect brand name, but if the URL/domain name isn’t available, you may want to reconsider. The same is true for social media handles, and ultimately copyright! Learn more about trademarking and copyright for your brand here.
If you landed on a brand name but it’s still not feeling right after a period of time, you may consider changing your business name. Just make sure you’re changing it for the right reasons, not just because you’re sick of it or have decided you don’t like it.
The longer you keep your brand or business name, the more value it builds for your business. Be wary of losing brand equity that you have built up since starting your business.
Make sure you consider all these things before you make your decision. A name change can have a big impact on your business and brand, so it may be worthwhile – just try to be sure the pros outweigh any cons. Learn more about rebranding your business here.
Read next: How To Write The Perfect Brand Strategy
Chris brings over a decade of industry experience to Red Kite working at design agencies in both the UK and Australia. Over the years he has accumulated a wealth of graphic design, strategic identity design and marketing experience. Chris is a hugely passionate identity designer endeavouring to offer the highest quality branding and logo design Brisbane and Australia wide. Chat to Chris about your branding.