Naming a business. It should be the fun part of entrepreneurship. And it is. But it’s also the part that calls for lots of thought. Lots of jotting-down of lots of ideal candidates. And lots of reluctant scoring-out of these winners as you discover, for lots of reasons, that they’re not as ideal as you imagined.
In short, across your naming adventure, you’ll have to prepare to kill your darlings. And that’s because your darlings are often the darlings of other businesses. These enterprises met, dated and settled down with your darlings prior to you sharing that special moment in the brainstorming session.
Tried and Trusted Business-Naming Strategies
The business-naming process, then, is one that calls for tenacity and patience as well as creativity and invention. And whilst a great business name doesn’t guarantee success and visibility, a poorly chosen name does guarantee you’re starting off on the wrong foot.
Happily, you can avoid common pitfalls by embracing tried and trusted naming strategies. And that’s what this blog is all about.
Ready to discover what’s in a name? Follow Hookson as we call on seven tips for naming your business.
A great business name doesn’t guarantee success and visibility. But a poorly chosen name does guarantee you’re starting off on the wrong foot.
Cyber security brand ZoneFox was in the market for a name that combined technology and reassurance. ZoneFox emerged from our brainstorming sessions as a winner delivering both these values.
Choose a Name That’s Flexible Enough to Grow with Your Business
One common goof is settling on a business name that paints you into a corner.
Look at Amazon.
It began life as an online bookseller. But had the business name reflected its early offering, it would have been difficult to cram, into jeffsellbooks.com, what Amazon was to quickly become.
Instead, an abstract, creative name provided limitless scope for expansion.
Amazon is Amazon – we get that – but this tip applies to ambitious businesses of every shape and stripe.
Similarly, geographic names – those that tie you to a particular location – should be considered carefully. Place-names are a double-edged sword. They can lift your business name to new levels, indicating quality as well as geography – the use of Kensington, for example. But if you’re planning on expanding, move carefully across the map of potential business names. International ambitions? Think about how your name will be received overseas.
Quirky is Fine. But Proceed with Caution
It goes without saying – but let’s say it anyway – that your business name is a reflection of your brand. It’s a summation of all of the values and promises and personality that contribute to that brand. It can therefore be helpful to imagine your name as a bucket in which your brand values reside.
So, with bucket in hand, try matching your name to your business’ purpose and personality.
Whilst quirky is fun and fine for some enterprises, others require a serious tone that communicates knowledge and expertise. It’s OK to break the mould, of course – to shake up, say, the legal sector with something out of left field – but it’s a brave move and one that demands a good deal of thought.
Your business name is a reflection of your brand. It’s a summation of all of the values and promises and personality that contribute to that brand.
LawWin is a firm of personal injury lawyers. That’s a crowded market, so standout was key. Our snappy, simple and positive name – the victor from numerous workshopping sessions – helped LawWin stand apart from the crowd.
Don’t be Led by Trends
Connecting your business name with whatever’s popular and trending this afternoon will do you no favours. So forget riffs on fidget spinners and loom bands. They’ll be gone tomorrow (in fact they left a long time ago). But your business name won’t be. So don’t be the only Tamagotchi left in town.
Hit F7 on your business-name longlist and observe the smoke billowing from your computer. That’ll be its spell-check function thrusting into overdrive.
And that’s because business-name brainstorming will often bring about some pretty obscure non-words. Typically these present as collision names: two words gaffa-taped together to form one. Netflix is a fine example. So is Microsoft and YouTube.
Great collision names are snappy, fun to say out loud and, most importantly, descriptive. A slick and addictive tool that helps out with constructing them is werdmerge
Abstract words will feature too: memorable names like Intel, Moonpig and Uber that are commonly not related directly, or at all, to your business activities.
Prepare to Research
These creative names are loads of fun to think up. And they can also swing to your rescue. Why? Because naming involves a heck of a lot of online research. And an equal amount of disappointment as your searches reveal that another business has already swiped terrific name after terrific name.
But collision names and abstracts, carefully used, can light up and liberate your ideal business name, suddenly making your desired key word available to use – with a twist.
Symphonic software offers user-friendly visibility across a client’s entire data landscape. From our workshops, the idea of harmony suggested itself, and from our list of possibles, the elegant Symphonic name won the day.
Say it Loud. Say it Proud
A quick-but-important tip: it can be easy to fall for a name on paper. But remember that business names exist beyond the notepad and monitor.
So speaketh the name out loud.
This is honestly an awesome way of testing the feel of a potential business name. Speak it in context too: the way someone would naturally use it in conversation.
Hookson has named countless products, services and innovations across the years, and this exercise is something we swear by. Even if it does resemble an am-dram class at times.
Dot the Com. Or the Net, Biz, Org, App…
Checking the availability of domains is super-important when naming a business. And a good time to do this is post-brainstorm.
Sure, you could be checking out domains throughout the brainstorm. But here at Hookson we feel brainstorms should be spontaneous and unbridled. Too much caution at this stage can kill potential winners. So we reduce to a shortlist before using a domain checker.
It’s usual to aspire to .com, but other suffixes are available. Often they can be better suited to your business too. Some third-sector organisations, for example, prefer .org. That suffix is more related to the community than the commercial.
To save time, why not try namechk This resource will quickly tell you which extensions are up for grabs.
And speaking of all things online, don’t forget to also seize your business name across your social media channels too.
At Hookson we can advise on this, and on every aspect of business naming.
You’re Not Alone
Naming is tough. It’s fun, like we said. But it can be a slog. You can make it easier, though. Because as well as brainstorming and regularly visiting thesaurus.com, there are loads of other resources out there.
Both these tools generate options as well as advising, suffix-wise, what is and isn’t available.
Don’t Forget to Take a Look at Images
And away from words, pictures can provide a powerful route to a business name. For visual inspiration, make Pinterest your first stop.
Used in combination with good old-fashioned thinking, and the knowledge you hold about your business, your goals and your audience, these tools can be the key to a real winner of a new business name.
Lastly, be aware of legal and copyright/trademark issues when choosing and using your name.
Just a Few Businesses Hookson Has Given a Name to
Policy Partner came to us from the world of banking and finance. This name for a Lloyds Banking Group internal policy repository used friendly language. It communicated the helpful and supportive nature of the bank’s application.
Gift Juggler is an e-commerce gift-matching service. This innovative firm required an informal
name that was both memorable and loaded with intrigue.
Imperators is an IT firm that specialises in guiding clients directly to a solution. The company’s focus on what was important led Hookson to the name Imperators. This alludes to both the solutions provided, and the team of IT specialists driving them.
The highly scientific ModusTX was searching for a name that reflected its work in developing safe blood flow therapeutics. Our name is greatly suggestive of a science-based enterprise and employs the medical acronym for Therapy.
Can Hookson Help Put an Attention-Grabbing Name to my Business or Organisation?
Absolutely. We’ve helped lots of clients with their naming strategies, and with all of the checks and methods covered in this blog. So whether you’d like us to advise on your naming strategy, or to mastermind the entire naming process, you know our name. Just send us a message or call us on 0131 524 7940