Insights from 20,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

Strategies to Avoid Business Name Debacles


To catapult your startup to international acclaim it is important to name your company and brand with a moniker that resonates with your target customer. To fulfill the dream of your business growing into a unicorn worth billions, start by distilling the vision of your startup into a memorable and meaningful name. Here are some tips and pitfalls to avoid a costly disaster.

A Word of Caution on a Trio of Naming Challenges

Be strategic when deciding on the ideal name. Resist the temptation to settle on the first name that comes to mind until you and your team have vetted all the options. Outlined below are three of the most common naming mishaps that can bite you in the future if you are not careful. Avoid them and your business name may survive the test of time.

Mishap 1: Get naming validation from a broad range of people

You think you have found the perfect name–or two– or three. You love it, your mom loves it, but what about your actual business audience?  An ideal way to decide on the final be-all end-all, is to get your target customer to rank the options on your shortlist.

Consider using an online survey company to launch a short survey or poll to get feedback. Or ask a wide variety of people to weigh in. If not, you could be stuck with a name that you think works, but leaves customers puzzled. By getting feedback you will instead find a name that will be engaging with the folks you want to tune in to your new venture. uses audience validation surveys asking 100 people which names they gravitate to for the specific industry named. For one low price you can test up to 6 names. 

Mishap 2: Check online translators to avoid unfortunate naming mistakes

One of the worst things that can happen after you have picked a name is to find out it has negative meanings in another language. A popular soda in Ghana is called “Pee Cola.” That wouldn’t fly here. A best practice is to make sure whatever name you choose for your brand, business, or product does not translate negatively in another language. Other examples include Nokia’s smartphone Lumia. In Spanish slang it translates to prostitute.

To avoid language pitfalls, search google, dictionaries, and use online language translators to uncover and discover dual meanings that wouldn’t be in your businesses best interest.It’s best to find out in the exploration stage, rather than after you have printed business cards, stationary, and launched a website. To learn more about linguistic analysis click

Mishap 3 : Using a trademarked name

Double check for trademark conflicts on More due diligence than that is required, it is best to get a trademark attorney to run a full report for you. If you have your own attorney, speak to them about your potential name prior to getting too attached or ordering letterhead. If you do not have an attorney close at hand, can run a naming trademark report as an add on to other services .

Additional Tips For Keeping On the Right Track

In our article 10 Simple Tips for Developing an Awesome business Names, there are lots of reminders of other disasters to avoid. “Review URL Availability” with may sound obvious, but plenty of people don’t realize how hard it can be to find a name that correlates with the same .com. Ideally, you will check in early and often while brainstorming potential names. Likewise, review “legal implications” is just a reminder to keep your friends close and your lawyer closer while launching a new business.

Follow these suggestions and your new venture, name and all, will be on the yellow brick road to success.

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Insights from 20,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

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