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What’s in a name

The answer to the question in the title of this piece is of course…, plenty!

It’s fair to say that choosing the right name for your business or product is one of the most critical steps in the process of establishing the new or refreshed enterprise or product, and it’s critical that you get it right the first time. Jumping through all the hoops of setting up all the tools required for a business is very involved, and the last thing you want to be doing is having to go back to the drawing board because you made the wrong decision – for all sorts of reasons.

The majority of business names fall in to one of six categories. It might be ‘vernacular’ descriptive words, words that are simply made up, the names of the owner or partners, the ‘obvious’ i.e.: telling it like it is or what you do, or perhaps acronyms using initials or abbreviations to create something.

While all of those are quite common, there are some potential pitfalls in a few that you may want to be mindful of. For example, words that are simply made up obviously don’t immediately mean anything to people, and this is often the case with the acronym approach as well. These types of names can often be misspelled, which doesn’t make it any easier for people to find you through Google, and they really need a descriptor line attached to them, preferably in the logo lock up, that provides at least a clue to what the business actually does. 

A similar situation can occur when going down the path of using the owners or partners names. A couple of decades ago, this approach was common in industries like accounting, law firms and even advertising agencies. Using surnames, or simply letters, may be easier to spell when it comes to search engines, but the likes of say, ‘George Patterson Bates’, didn’t mean much without tagging it with ‘Advertising’ when launching the business, until the brand starts getting some ‘real’ exposure over time.

Another critical step when considering your naming options, is ensuring that your ideal name isn’t already registered or Trademarked and what might be available by way of a domain name for your website. Just because you’ve chosen something you believe is catchy and memorable, chances are there are already several other companies or brands out there who’ve had the same idea. While these days, there’s obviously a lot of choice when it comes to .com’s,’s, .net’s and so on, but having the right top level domain (TLD) may be important to you from a positioning perspective, so it’s worth bearing that in mind.

Our process to naming is one of filtration. We like to have a deep discussion about your initial thoughts, ideals and the logic behind them, before commencing our own brainstorming session to establish a raft of possibilities that match the brief. From there, it’s all about refinement to create an even shorter list before carrying out all the mandatory checks and balances on corporate registrations and URL Domain names to ensure we’re all clear to move forward.

If you’d like some third-party objective thinking to help discover the right name for your business or product, why not give us a call to start the conversation so you don’t make the wrong step.

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