Considering a new name for your business? Whether your company has just undergone a merger or acquisition, or perhaps just needs a fresh rebrand, corporate naming can be just as equally exciting as it is daunting. If you have kids you probably relate to the decision anxiety that comes with naming. Will the name fit his/her personality? Will the name be memorable and unique? Will it withstand the test of time? The classic choice overload paradox sets in. The infinite number of possibilities makes the ultimate decision even harder. Not to mention the significance a corporate name can hold. Choosing your company’s name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, as it sets the tone for all future branding initiatives. For better or for worse, your business name helps create a strong first impression with potential customers and investors.
As a brand marketing agency, Bluetext has assisted a number of companies in the naming selection process. Many of our clients considering a new name often ask, “Well, where do we begin? How do we name our company?” And truthfully, there is no right answer to that. Coming from years of branding and messaging experience, we’ve learned successful new names can arise in a variety of ways, but names do tend to flatline for a few consistent reasons. So, we figured it would be best to start with what not to do, leaving exactly what to do open to the unique circumstances. Keep reading for a number of tests that can help you weed out names that can help you avoid brand regret down the road.
How Not to Name Your Company
Copy the Competition: Don’t select a name that mirrors others in your industry. Especially if you are in a crowded industry, or perhaps have business offerings that span multiple industries, it’s paramount you do thorough research to ensure there are no similarly spelled or pronounced competitors.
Twitter Test: Nowadays it is expected (and advantageous!) for every business to have social media accounts. One quick test for your new company name is whether it’s compatible with common social media handles. If your name is too long to be a Twitter handle (maxed at 15 characters), your handles will need to be adapted on other platforms as well.
Go Crazy with Creative Spelling: One of the biggest trends in naming is creative adaptations to spelling common words. For example, how Waze adapted the spelling of “ways” to creatively communicate their business. This strategy can be successful but can risk confusion. The issue with having an overly complex name is that you’ll always have to spell it when you say it because it isn’t spelled how people hear it. This could cause challenges with potential customers finding your business.
Bluetext’s Rule of Thumb: When doing alternate spellings of names, try and stay to one letter tweak per name.
Disregard the Domain Availability: Don’t fall in love with a name with an unavailable URL. When researching or considering new names, we recommend looking up the domain options immediately.
Let in Too Many Voices: While great in theory, opening this discussion to the masses is never a good idea. It is incredibly unlikely that involving everyone will result in a consensus. Oftentimes involving too many decision-makers is like having too many cooks in the kitchen, it just results in an inefficient and stagnant discussion of competing opinions.
Bluetext Rule of Thumb: Involve only key decision-makers. Ones with the company’s best interest in mind, and those able to leave their egos at the door. It may be worth taking the decision to a vote when you have selected a top 2 or 3 names, but in the early ideation and decision phases, be sure to limit the discussion to only relevant stakeholders.
Frankenstein Phrases: One common naming tactic is to combine parts of an adjective and a noun into a new word. While great in theory, more often than not the name seems disjointed or forced. The two words might work great on their own, but just don’t go together. Other common fallbacks include truncated words like Tech, Corp, or Tron.
Go Too Generic: While your name should not be overly descriptive and superfluous, going too generic can also be dangerous. Random acronyms don’t give any hint into your brand, offerings, or story. A good test is whether someone could tell what industry you’re in by the name. Overgeneralizing could cause people to overlook your company if there is no sense of differentiation. Conversely, you also don’t want to use a name that is too specific to the industry you’re in, as doing so will limit your ability to expand into new territories and sectors with the same company name.
Forget to Practice Pronunciation: One of the most telling tests of a name: Can it be easily pronounced? Ask unbiased third parties to read the name aloud. Did they pronounce it as you expected? Can you easily repeat the word over and over without mispronouncing? Does the name roll off the tongue or is it a jumble of awkward consonants? Just like you would want your brand to look and feel right, you need your company name to sound and feel right.
We’ve shared our top eight ways not to name your company, but what should you do? Consult a professional branding agency. Hiring a third party brings in a fresh perspective to your company and overall brand strategy. Not to mention they will have a staff of professional copywriters who can help craft your new name and corporate messaging.
Need a new name? What are you waiting for? Contact Bluetext to learn more.