Insights from 20,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

Creating a Business Name

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Think that landing on a business idea is the most difficult part about starting a new company? Think again. For many people, the idea comes naturally – it’s the name that gets them stuck. It’s a challenging decision to make given that so much of your branding is relying on an impactful business name.

The following 7 strategies will help you to create a business name that suits your brand and sets your company up for success.

Do your research

Coming up blank when thinking about business names? It’s time to turn to the trusty search engine and get Googling! Look at your competitors, peak bodies, and anything relevant to your industry. How have other companies named their businesses? Are there any keywords and specific jargon used in the sector that you can play with? What are the recurring ideas that people associate with this type of business or product? Your research may trigger a name idea, but if it doesn’t this information can be used with other strategies.

Get brainstorming

An open brainstorm is one of the best ways to generate ideas. Try not to be restrictive, especially in the beginning. You never know what idea might be useful later on! If you are finding a general brainstorm to be unhelpful because it is too broad, structure your ideas using a theming technique. Start by writing each idea on its own post-it note, then group post-it notes according to theme or similar ideas. You will notice that some groups are bigger than others, which means there are some recurring ideas occurring in your thought process. Pull out keywords from these groups and see if these can be used to create a business name. 

Consider symbolism

Metaphoric business names can create a strong image for your audience and be very memorable. Think about your brand and see if you can create a symbolic name. The best way to do this is to write down words that describe your brand and its values. Are there any words or phrases that are particularly catchy, but also represent your brand well? These may make a good business name.

Use a thesaurus

If you have plenty of ideas but still no business name, get out your thesaurus. Start looking for synonyms of the keywords that you have identified through your research and brainstorming. You might find something that starts with the letter you are looking for or a word that stands out more than your existing thoughts. 

Combine words

Gather a collection of keywords and see if you can combine any to create a new word that can become your business name. This process is especially effective after you’ve looked through your thesaurus as it gives you more words to play with. Consider alliteration (words that begin with the same letter) and rhyming words as these are likely to be catchy and memorable. 

Look at different spellings

With many business names already taken, you might need to get creative to find your own. Think about changing up the spelling on a typical English word to create an effective business name. Shorter words are likely to have more of an impact, like ‘Lyft’ or ‘Xero’. 

Create something entirely new

Many brands have experienced success from creating entirely new words for their brand. Words like ‘Kodak’ and ‘Xerox’ were entirely made up and yet they have become commonplace in everyday conversation. If creativity is one of your strengths, give it a go! Try out different sounds to see what would be the most catchy.

There is no right way to create a business name, although these strategies will help to provide some structure to your thought processes. Always remember to test your business name to make sure that it can be heard, spelled, and said easily. This will avoid confusion down the track and help to strengthen your brand. 

About the author

Kathleen Krause
Insights from 20,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

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