Update: a Shiny New, better version of this article, can be found over here: How to think of a Brand Name
We really enjoy thinking of business names for our clients, but it is a difficult thing to do, and shouldn’t be something you take lightly. So here’s our tips of how to think of a business name…
Websites you need open
Before you start to think of a business name these are the websites that you are going to need open…
http://www.thesaurus.com (the online thesaurus). This is great for looking for alternative words, and getting inspiration from the English Language.
http://www.google.com (the search engine). Before deciding on a brand name you are going to have to give it a google to see what the competition is like. If there is a company (or something else) with a similar name, then it probably isn’t the best idea.
http://www.name.com (the domain name registrar). Getting the right domain name is crucial, and could be a whole other article in itself. The main point here is if the one you want is linking to a competitor, then it is best to stay clear of that brand name, as there could be some confusion.
http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk (the big database of companies) for the UK. Even if the domain is available, and google says there’s no competition, it is always a good idea to double check with companies house that the name hasn’t been taken. For non-UK companies, there should be a way to find out if your company name has been registered too.
It’s also a great idea to have open any social media websites that you are thinking of using, just to see if you’re username is available. Also, look to see if anybody has trademarked your name ideas, and if going with an ‘unusual’ name – make sure it doesn’t mean anything unfortunate.
What do you want your business name to say
Next step is thinking about what you want your business to stand for and what are it’s values. This is important to know for many reasons, but will come in handy when thinking of a business name. Good examples of business values could be: creative, friendly, professional, expert, serious, down to earth, posh, high-end, traditional. Your business values and brand name should go hand in hand. For example if you want to project an overly professional image, then stick to a professional sounding strong business name. The more creative your business is, and the more boundaries you want to push in your market, then the more creative you can be.
Now Get Creative
You are going to struggle to think of a good business name if you aren’t very creative. Thinking outside of the box is essential, so here are some tips to help you get creative…
1. Don’t go it alone. Having somebody to bounce ideas off is really useful when brainstorming brand names. 2 heads are better than one, and often it is a group effort. Find somebody you are comfortable with, and is creative in their own right.
2. Play the no wrong answer game. This is one we use a lot when brainstorming and it is really simple to do too. Take it in turns with your brainstorming partner just saying possible business names, no matter how strange. You only have a couple seconds to think of one, so it becomes quite fast paced. Eventually you’ll hit something that makes you pause for consideration. Write this one down then keep going. At the end you should have a list of words/ideas that you can expand on. The only rule is not to be negative about another person’s idea – that’s bad for creativity!
3. Pause for reflection. It is unlikely you will think of a name straight away (the first thing that comes into your head is usually obvious, and therefore generic!), so give it at least a week before coming to a decision. It takes time for a name to grow on you, so when you think you have found the one, don’t pull the trigger until you are 100% happy. In the reflection time, think of other names too. When you have found ‘the one’ you’ll find yourself comparing other potential names to it, and none will meet the mark.
4. Look for inspiration everywhere. Inspiration is essential, so go out into the world and find it. Read more magazines, take more notice of your surroundings, analyse other brand names. Whatever you can do to get inspired – go for it.
5. Don’t limit yourself. The best brand names are often very left-field. So don’t think your brand name has to explain what you do. All it needs to be is 3 things: Unique, Memorable, and Easy to pass on.
ACTION: Next time you need to think of a brand name, or even a name for your services, remember to follow these simple rules.