Your name is a critical extension of your brand, and it can reinforce the value you provide or distance you from it. When you’re developing a name, you have a number of options:
- Use the founder or inventor’s name (Hewlett-Packard)
- Describe what you do (Southwest Airlines)
- Describe an experience or image (Sprint)
- Take a word out of context (Apple)
- Make up a word (Google)
It’s important to decide what your name should mean and represent. For example, if you’re running a company that provides naming services, your name is a sample of your work—it should be great, right?
Here are some companies that provide naming services:
- A Hundred Monkeys
- The Naming Co.
- Brighter Naming
- Lasting Names
- Name One!
|These naming agencies have forgettable names:
All of these companies may provide great services, have many years of experience, and have terrific track records. If you needed to select three companies to bid on your naming project, which companies would you contact? Are you more likely to call a company with a unique name, an average name, or a forgettable name?
This example reinforces that you have one chance to make a first impression. Many of your potential customers might know virtually nothing about your company, product or service, and a great name can make a positive impression and open doors. A weak name can close them.
The name selection process is especially challenging because there are more than 26 million businesses in the United States. U.S. trademark law protects business names, so when you find one you like, make sure you can use it. If you infringe on a trademark, you could be forced to abandon your new name after investing a lot of time and money in it.
Also think about your internet marketing goals, since you may have to find a URL to match your name. There are almost 200 million domain names registered worldwide, and some experts believe that over 98% of words in the dictionary are registered as domain names.
Don’t let these challenges stop you from finding the best name you can—there’s a lot at stake.
A great name can create buzz, position you as a true leader and innovator, and reinforce your positioning and brand in a word or two.
That’s powerful. It can convey a culture, a position, and differentiate the company from the rest of the market.
You look and sound like everybody else.
You’ve missed an opportunity to convey an important message, but at least you’re not hurting yourself.
A poor name can neutralize or even negate the work you do to build a position in the market.
You may have trouble generating interest in your company, product or service, forcing you to spend more time and money educating the market about your value.
A poor name can also limit your opportunities if you expand into other markets.