Naming rights - how to choose an effective business name (pt 1)
31/10/2017 by Ean Brown Partners Limited
Part 15 of our blog article series: "Strategies for business success"
(and part 1 of 2 of our mini blog series on "Naming rights - how to choose an effective business name")
One of the very first things on the to-do list when starting up a new business is deciding on a great name.
Choosing a name can be a fun exercise, an opportunity to let your creativity flow, however it can also feel like an overwhelming responsibility – much like the angst associated with naming your newborn.
But fear not! We'll take you through some suggestions on how to get started on compiling a list of potential business names, and in part 2 we'll run through some of the things a good brand name should do, to help you whittle that list down to just one.
If your mind is a complete blank and you don't know where to start, it can be helpful to refer to some resources for inspiration. Internet searches, dictionaries and thesauruses, White (or Yellow) Pages, and so on. Find words you like, or that have particular relevance to your business, and play around with different combinations.
There are also loads of website programs (often free to use) which will generate business name suggestions based on your input of a couple of key words. Try businessnamegenerator.com or naming.net, with plenty of others available online as well. Even if they don't create a "eureka!" moment, they may at least help to budge that persistent mental block.
Check out competitors
What are the names of your local competitors? How about nationally, or even worldwide? Using the power of the internet, researching businesses in the same industry can give you inspiration on what (or what not, if they are dreadful!) to name your business, but will also tell you which names are already taken – good to know, for intellectual property purposes. A quick way to check if your preferred name is available is to enter it at onecheck.business.govt.nz – it confirms if the name can be used as a company name in New Zealand, if the domain name is available, and/ or the name can be trade-marked.
Whilst researching competitor names, also check out how these businesses are leveraging their brand for marketing and advertising purposes, and if their strategies look effective.
Research your customers
Consider your market and the type of customers you are wanting to attract, and use their demographics to guide you. You might want to use tongue-in-cheek humour, convey your hip, contemporary style, or establish a professional image – all of these are effective strategies, provided they speak to your target market.
Relate to your industry
A lot of naming cues can be gleaned from your particular industry too. For example, "Accountants R Us" does not paint the sort of professional image you'd expect from your accounting firm, nor does "Smith & Sons" invoke the image of a tech startup.
Make the most of your contacts – your friends, family, associates, possibly even current or potential customers – by asking them for their suggestions and/ or feedback. This will help you gauge reactions before committing to printing 10,000 business cards. Get an online poll started, or sit down for a brainstorming session. You might be surprised with the results!
If you are still struggling, you also have the option of bringing in a branding professional. There are costs involved with engaging these services, but their expert knowledge and skills in marketing may well pay for themselves in the long run.
Look out for part 2 of our blog article mini-series on 'Naming rights - how to choose an effective business name', where we'll discuss some of the things a good brand name should do for your business. Please feel free to share this article on Facebook, or leave us a comment below - we love your feedback!