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Our experts share insights on naming, branding and starting a new venture.
Trap: Picking a Name That's Not Your #1 Choice.
If you select a name that was your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (or yikes) 6th or lower choice, you are sacrificing something. Keep in mind that your name is the keystone of your start-up. Don't sacrifice the success of your business on a second-tier company name.
Tip: Don't Be Different, Be Outstanding.
Any company can choose a name that's different. Your goal should be to select an uber-cool company name that stands head-and-shoulders above your competitors.
Trap: Don't Use Hyphens or Dashes in Your Domain Name.
If you use a domain name with a hyphen or a dash you're telling the world you couldn't obtain the non-hyphen domain name. Hyphens and dashes look unprofessional and will compromise your online status. They’re also incredibly difficult to communicate and you’re quite likely to be sending people to the wrong site, hopefully not your completion. Hyphens only stand as an obstacle between your customers and website!
Tip: Harmonize Your Company Name With Your Strategic Objectives.
Many start-ups fail to align their name with the key strategic objectives of their firms. A great name communicates a core message in a flash of a second.
Check back regularly for new start-up tips and traps to be avoided.
Our company naming experts have undertaken one of the most expansive research undertakings to demystify business naming. We've conducted one of the largest longitudinal studies in the area of effective naming and synthesized the research findings into a set of concrete and practical steps for small business owners.
We've summarized our findings and have identified essential steps on how to name a new business. We will answer some of the most common questions on business naming and we will also share our years of experience, insider tips and other research to provide you with step-by-step naming help that will help you target a distinctive name for your firm.
Listed below are the 12 steps you'll need to follow to create a formidable business name:
When you start the entire process of choosing a brand new company name, we advise that you form a small decision making team. The smaller the team, the more easy it will be to make decisions. We have been involved in far too many new company naming projects that have been burdened with unwieldy decision teams. You will want input from diverse participants - just not on the decision team.
There are a lot of people who have an interest in your new business. They have a "stake" in wanting you to succeed so it may be good idea to get their input in your name development process. Consider soliciting input on business names from your key stakeholder groups -- employees, family, senior executives, key stockholders, community leaders, vendors and other people you trust.
Each of these stakeholder groups has a unique perspective on the company. You might want to involve select stakeholders at the onset of the naming process to help guide your initial thinking and help in the creation process. They can also help narrow a list of potential new company names and assist in refining typefont, image, color and other visual elements.
You will want to create of list of the keywords that capture the essence of your company. Brainstorm as many keywords as you can. Dissect these keywords into their root elements. For example if one of your keywords is “excellence”, add the root “excel” to you keyword list.
Use the KEYWORD SEARCH function -- located at the top of this page. Enter each keyword into the search bar. All the available company names that contain the keyword will be displayed. Make a note of the names that could work for your business
Think about all the industries and marketplaces that represent the activities of your business. Most companies are involved in businesses that span multiple industries. For example, if you provide “medical insurance support,” your business could be in the following industries: Insurance, Health Care, Office Support, Consulting, and Health Care Insurance.
Take a look at the category list in the column to the left. Many of the categories have subcategories. Click on the category and subcategories that best capture your business. Business names suited to the industry will be displayed. You can get more information on each of these business names by clicking the “details” tab. Make a note of the business names that could work for your application.
Think about the feelings that you would like your company to evoke. Do you want a name that is “fun,” “happy,” “safe,” or “cold”? Click on these links to find names that evoke an emotion or have a part a particular characteristic and make a note of the names that could work for your new venture:
Bright and Light Sounding Names Catchy Company Names Clever Business Names Cool Company Names Evocative Company Names Fast and Urgent Sounding Names Fresh and Frosty Sounding Names Fun Business Names Happy Sounding Names Names for Luxury Goods & Services Names that are Fun Names that Contain a Color Names that Contain a Shape Names that end in "ING" Names that say "Value" Names that say "Savings" Safe and Secure Sounding Names Short Names Spiritual Sounding Names Unique Business Names Whimsical Names
Consider an invented company name that is unique and highly expandable. Names like Google, Hulu and Twitter are all wholly invented company names. Click on these links to locate short and highly expandable names and make a note of the names that could work for your business.
Review the list of names that you’ve created that could work for you specific business application with your decision team. Don’t worry if the colors or logo design are not a perfect fit. The logo can be changed later by the Brandings design team at no additional cost.
Consider getting input from key stakeholders and involving them in the creative process. You might want to ask them what they like and dislike about each name, what each name makes them feel and to share the first words that come to mind when they hear the company name.
A great name is of little value if it is in use somewhere else. Here are a few free resources to check to see if your business name is available. As simple as it sounds, start by typing the company name into a search engine like Goggle, Yahoo or AltaVista. You would be surprised at the information you will find.
You can also take advantage of the free trademark search function the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) database at USPTO Search. It is super easy ... and it's free.
The dot-com extension remains firmly the domain extension of choice for businesses desiring established credentials. Simply put, you will need to own the dot-com domain name. As a defensive measure we advise clients to secure the dot-org, dot-net and other relevant domain extensions only when they are acquired in addition to the dot-com domain extension. We also advise our international clients that as a defensive measure, to secure their country code extension (when available) and redirect prospects to their primary dot-com website. To see if the name is available, just type it into your menu bar. You can also check out the history of any domain name through the free whois.net or domaintools.com search function.
Now it’s time to evaluate all the input and make a decision. If you would like to get input from the naming specialists at Brandings, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-852-8900 (Toll Free USA) +1-310-246-5100 (Worldwide) or simply click here to contact our office via e-mail: email@example.com
Our naming experts share the 11 factors you need to know when selecting a name for your start-up. Learn what to do and how to avoid the most common naming mistakes. This is a "must-read" before you name your company. Get the full report now -- it's free!