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Start Brainstorming: Business Name Types with Examples

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Brainstorming business names can make you feel like you’ve hit a wall. After gathering momentum with your great business idea, it can be disheartening to feel your momentum slow as you are presented with the task of coming up with a name. Maybe you have come up with a great name, but you can’t use it because of trademark competition, or you’re simply stuck and can’t come up with a solid name. Here, we will give you some tools to take your brainstorming to the next level.

We believe that before you brainstorm, you should distill your brand, consider styles of names you might use, and set up your name criteria. When you are naming your business, be sure to start with big ideas and consider how you want to come across.

There are a wide variety of directions you can take when it comes to generating business name ideas. You can think about how to structure your name using a variety of business name types. Unlike styles, types speak to the makeup of the name itself rather than the tone it conveys.

As you start generating business name ideas, use these 16 Brand Name Types to develop awesome name ideas for your business, product, or just about anything else. This list will help you generate dozens of ideas to give you a sense of what you are and are not looking for in a name.

  1. Real Word – Apple, Swoop, Slack
  2. Misspelled – Lyft, nimbl, Mohawx
  3. Compound – SnapChat, SplitWav
  4. Phrases – StumpleUpon, Ready to Rise
  5. Blends – Groupon, Yuconic, Winvested
  6. Made Up/Abstract – Orizia, Itorix
  7. Transmutations – Zappos, Zumba
  8. Acronyms – IBM, HP
  9. Play On Words – Deja Brew, EyeQ, Inner Peas
  10. Metaphoric – Nike, Silverline, LoanSpring, RobinHood
  11. Visual – Iron Flame, Blue Cabin
  12. Foreign words – La Brosa, Nomi d’Italia
  13. Latin, Greek, Anglo Roots – Rinsio, Bluntly, Omni Lend
  14. Poetic – Dunkin Donuts, Lula Learn, Piggly Wiggly
  15. This & That – Abercrombie & Fitch, Lydia & Park, Owl and Lark
  16. Names and Surnames – Oskar, Windsor Harlow, Barnes and Noble

Here is an example of what this exercise would look like for you if you were trying to name a coffee shop:

  1. Real Word – Brew  
  2. Misspelled – Coffi
  3. Compound – DripSip
  4. Phrases – Common Ground
  5. Blends – Swishful
  6. Made Up/Abstract – Zoshy
  7. Transmutations – Cupzos
  8. Acronyms – BCA (Best Coffee Around)
  9. Play On Words – Deja Brew
  10. Metaphoric – Hermes Coffee
  11. Visual – Red Kettle Coffee
  12. Foreign words – Kawa
  13. Latin, Greek, Anglo Roots – Avrio Coffee Co.
  14. Poetic – Honest Origin
  15. This & That – Cup and Key
  16. Names and Surnames – Taylor Coffee

You can see how developing just a few names from each type will quickly give you a large list of names to look at.

Obviously, some of these name types work much better than others for specific businesses. That is why this exercise is so helpful–it puts you in the right frame of mind to generate name ideas. This strategy reveals new angles you can take with your name as well as what directions you should not take.

Once you generate a list of ideas, go back and thin out your options into a shortlist of a few names that you love. Then, it’s time for Audience Testing, which will give you an idea of what names will appeal to you target market. You should always consider trademark conflict and URL availability as well.

Whether you are generating names on your own or working with our naming experts to find the perfect fit, it is important to explore various directions. This will make coming up with a business name ideas feel less like a roadblock and more like a fun brainstorming activity to inspire your brand.

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