When coming up with a name for your startup, rebrand, product, or just about anything else, it may seem like the name possibilities are endless. However, despite the millions of great (and not so great) company names out there, the majority of great names can fit into one of five categories: classic, clever, emotional, experiential, or intriguing. Let’s take a look at each category in more detail to help you decide which productive direction is right for you.
Classic Names allow you to fit into an industry. They can also help establish your brand as sophisticated, high-end, and premier.
Here’s a list of strong Classic Names developed by the Squadhelp Creative Community:
- Terralink Transportation
- Stone Eagle Advisors
- Cherry Moon Bakery
- Academy of Sleep
- Zenith Capital
- Pitbull Motors
- Ellie Grey
Classic names can be great for consultants; law and accounting firms; health, wellness, and medical businesses; realtors; banks; colleges and universities; national parks; and many manufacturing and B2B companies. Classic names will make you say, “Yes, of course, that sounds like a law firm … a high-end women’s fashion brand.”
There are typically three reasons to use a classic name: to exude strength, to fit in, or to align with a high-end price point. Strong Classic Names can often transcend many industries (e.g. Inc 500 Company Blackstone or Squadhelp developed name Stone Eagle). Alternatively, names like Cherry Moon, Pitbull, Ellie Grey, and Medway are industry-specific Classic Names. Finally, Classic Names like London Cotton Collective, Windsor Harlow, and Lydia & Park exude prestige.
Classic Names also have their opposite form, Outlier Names (names build to stand out). Squadhelp-Community-developed name Think Law Group is an excellent example of a name designed to stand far out from the industry. Probably, the most famous Outlier Name is Apple. In the 70s, entering an industry of acronyms and classic names, this innovative company chose to represent themselves with a bright, organic object – something that everyone has substantial first-hand experience of.
Clever Names connect deeply and instantly, get remembered, and pre-frame a fun brand.
Here are some examples of Clever Names from the Squadhelp Creative Community:
- Love Bites (Chocolate product)
- Rentlemens (Mens clothing rental)
- Next Comes Love (Dating app)
- Once Upon a Robot (Robotics class for kids)
- Wiggle Bug (Kids clothing brand)
- Tiny Trends (Baby boutique)
- Moody Mango (Creative agency)
Clever names can be used in any industry. If you have a fun brand, you’ll want to consider a Clever Name. Clever Names are very powerful and appealing because they can be descriptive, while still connecting deeply with your target audience. However, if a Clever Name would not align with the rest of your business and branding, don’t go this route.
Successful tech company MailChimp has created a wonderfully playful brand around their playful name. The somewhat surprising success of the product Squatty Potty would assuredly not have come about if they did not communicate in a fun and lighthearted way.
Clever names are fun to create and fun to use. They can incorporate puns (Love Bites and Whey to Go), plays on words (Rentlemens and NakeBun), witty phrases (Next Comes Love), silly imagery (Wiggle Bug), and playful poetic sounds (Moody Mango and Tiny Trends).
Experiential Names, especially of the descriptive style, are very popular, as many people believe that they help reduce marketing costs by explaining your Value Proposition right in the name. Experiential Names provide a brand experience.
Here are some excellent examples of Experiential Names created by the Squadhelp Creative Community:
- Tiny Moments (Baby book company)
- Playformance (Playground surfacing product)
- Radical Creation (Web design)
- LoanSpring (Online microlending)
- The Tea Shack (Tea ecommerce)
- Get Pet Ready (Pet supply guide)
- Flirt Perfect (Dating app)
- Bluntly (Medical marijuana)
- 8 Weeks to Amazing (Transformation program)
- DataMap (Big data consulting company)
- RainMate (Umbrella)
Experiential Names work great for businesses that have a very unique and pointed Value Proposition. PayPal approached the market as a payment solution that was easier and more user friendly. PayPal is an brilliant two-work statement of this VP. Dollar Shave Club is another example of an highly successful company that captured a unique Value Proposition expertly with a name.
Some Experiential Names like Tea Shack, Data Map, and Bluntly are descriptive of the product, service, or features themselves. Other Experiential Names, such as 8 Weeks to Amazing, Get Pet Ready, and Flirt Perfect, portray benefits. Names like LoanSpring incorporate metaphor to create a powerful descriptive name. And names like RainMate, Radical Creations, and Playformance are a bit less obvious and lean toward the next category we will talk about, Intriguing Names.
Intriguing Names are great for companies that don’t want to be boxed in by a Descriptive Name or who like the idea of having a blank slate to build on. Intriguing Names are often short and appealing, which supports recall. Intriguing Names are very popular with tech startups, as well as fashion brands.
Here’s is a list of Intriguing Names developed by the Squadhelp Creative Community:
- Itorix (Software company)
- BackPorch (Brewing company)
- Vivo (Digital delivery company)
- Voya (Travel company)
- Beepz (Carwash)
- Rinsio (On-demand drycleaning service)
- Blue Cabin (Publishing company)
- Orange Yoyo (Product company)
Intriguing Names come in may forms. Abstract Names, like Vivo, are short, easy, and they sound great. Visual Names, such as Blue Cabin and Back Porch, are popular, especially for those companies related to the art and creative professions.
Names like Itorix (IT without Risk) and Metaphoric Names like Mosaic and Pangea have relevant meaning that is not readily known when you first hear the name. And names like Voya, Beepz, and Rinsio are build from root words that are descriptive–making these names slightly experiential.
For companies that aren’t afraid to lead with emotion, Emotional Names can be a great way to connect and make a brand statement.
Here are some examples of Emotional Names, developed by the Squadhelp Creative Community:
- Promise Hill (a nonprofit)
- Waverlust (a surfing apperal company)
- WorkJoy (a Human Resource company)
- Bold Move (a fitness company)
As you can see, these names are build on powerful, emotive words and phrase like Promise, Lust, Joy, and Bold Move.
Emotional Names are often category blends. For example, names like WorkJoy and SalesForce contain a level of descriptiveness. Names like Promise Hill and Bold Move are more intriguing. And a name like Moody Mango is quite playful.
What Resonates with You?
Now it’s time to make the big decision. Which one or two directions make the most sense for you? What would you like your name to do for your company? What would be most helpful for your success?
When you can say, “My project is all about … and it would be excellent if we could find a great name that …” you have made substantial progress toward finding an awesome, productive name – a name that will support your venture for years to come! And you will not longer be swatting about, frantically spraying out names, hoping that an awesome idea will magically appear.
You can now start your naming project with complete confidence and a focused direction. You have the knowledge you need to develop an awesome name for your new venture.
Let the Namestorming Begin
Of course, there is still a lot more work to be done: the creative work of developing great names and the somewhat tedious work of validating your favorite names for domain availability, audience resonance, linguistic conflicts, and trademark risk. This is where Squadhelp’s unique crowdsourcing process can be of great help.