One of the most critical decisions to make as an entrepreneur when you are embarking on a new business venture is deciding on the name of the company. Aspects such as the name, logo, color palette and slogan are all major parts of building a brand, and they are arguably just as important to the success of the business as are the other necessities, such as startup capital and potential investors.
Company names should be fairly short and simple to pronounce, but they should include more than just plain everyday words or phrases. A company name isn’t easily memorable if it is longer than just a few words, or if the words themselves are lengthy and intricate. Just the same, company names aren’t always memorable if they’re run-of-the-mill or boring. Depending on the type of business, it helps to use wording in the name that complements the type of business in which the new venture engages, such as Burger King or Dunkin’ Donuts.
Uniqueness is also key when it comes to a new business name. The name should always be completely different from the names of other companies, especially those selling similar products. This will prevent consumers from confusing the brands. For example, if the Glad brand was instead named Lock & Zip, its competition with Ziploc for plastic containers would be confusing for consumers. Also, if a consumer had a problem with Ziploc, there is a chance that this consumer could mistakenly make the complaint about Lock & Zip instead, solely because of the name confusion.
Using Humor, Avoiding Clichés
Company likability also increases if the name is funny or contains some form of clever wordplay. A Mexican-themed restaurant and bar called Tequila Mockingbird easily sticks out in consumers’ minds, as does a wine and liquor store called Planet of the Grapes or a Greek restaurant called Pita Pan.*
However, while humor can be helpful, cliché terms should be avoided. Adjectives like “top” or “best” are not always the most influence-inducing choices for company names, especially for new companies that haven’t been in the industry too long. When it comes to naming a business, creativity adds a light-hearted sense of comfort for the clientele, as long as it’s done in the most effective way.
Professional Naming Firms
There are companies that solely focus on creating names for other companies. These naming firms employ creative minds to come up with the most appropriate, likable and unique business names. Sometimes, as is the case for companies such as Compaq and Acura, these naming firms even research the etymology of various terms and end up creating completely new words to serve as titles for products, brands or businesses.
Make Sure the Name Passes All Legal Tests
When it comes to avoiding trademark infringement and other legalities, sometimes taking the road of inventing new words is the best option. Devising a brand-new term guarantees that there won’t be any legal infringements on the title of the business.
However, when an entrepreneur chooses to create a new word or phrase for the business, there should be research and testing to ensure that the major aspects of the business is 100% unique. Aside from just the name, the other attributes, such as the slogan, brand design, logo with color scheme, and any potential photo or mascot should all also be researched. This research should be completed prior to unveiling the business to avoid any sort of monetary loss as well as to deflect potential lawsuits that could quickly crush the new business.
* All of the examples provided here are names of actual businesses.