20 Jul What’s in a Business Name?
What’s in a business name is important. Your business name is the first image that your business projects. It’s what customers will think about your business (positive or negative) even before they’ve seen it. It’s the all-important branding that you need to get right. (And if you didn’t get it right the first time, it’s worth changing. Lucky and Goldstar Co became simply LG.)
- Google was a misspelling of googol (which is the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros)
- Facebook was preceded by The Facebook
- Xerox used to be The Halloid Company
Making up a word is a good idea that should be considered, ie Google, Twitter, and Pixar.
Beyond that, notice how many businesses have two syllables, such as those referred to above, and those of Apple (and their iPhone, iPad, and iPod). There’s also Yahoo!, eBay, WordPress, PayPal, Wal-Mart, Nike, Best Buy and even Kleenex (etc). Two syllables because it makes the name easy to remember — pithy.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you must only have two syllables to have a successful business name and brand. There are many examples for one or multiple syllables, as well. It’s just easier to remember two (or even one).
The point is, part of the value of your business is the name, so don’t take it lightly.
Consider these name characteristics:
- Think about the “stickiness” quality.
- Keep it simple, avoid puns and don’t copy.
- Even with some evidence to the contrary, misspellings usually aren’t a good way to go.
- Keep in mind future developments and don’t pigeonhole your name. Think of Radio Shack and how much money they spent on advertising to let people know they sold more than radios.
- When looking at names you have to study the market and look at who is called what to make sure that you stand out.
- Consider that you have to have domain names that work, too.
A business name is so important that if you successfully branded the name, your brand alone could be worth more than all your other business assets put together. Think about a Harley or Wendy’s Burger. You know what to expect from both. That’s name and brand recognition!
Here are some questions to answer when choosing a business name.
- Simplicity: Is it easy to remember?
- Meaning: Will customers “get it”?
- Imagery: Does it create a mental picture?
- Emotional: Is it empowering, engaging, enlightening?
- Recall: Does it have “legs”?
- Encompassing: Will your business or your market outgrow the business name?
- Trademarked: Is anyone else using the name? Could you trademark it?
What are some business names that stand out in your mind? Why do you think they work so well?