Is your business name the only thing standing between your business idea and its launch? While many entrepreneurs scout for various resources to name their business, the naming process doesn’t need to be too complicated.
As part of a startup that has helped more than 35,000 brands with business names, I can tell you that naming is a 3-step process. And when followed diligently, you can end up with a compelling name that appeals to your target customer and aligns to your business goals. Here we go:
1. Understand your brand:
The naming process starts with an inward look at your business and brand. Your first objective should be to finalize a value proposition or elevator pitch. In simple words, this is an ideally one line statement on what your business is and/or what it does.
Here are some useful examples:
- Apple: Apple transforms how humans interact with technologies.
- DoorDash: DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service.
- Instagram: Instagram, now part of Meta, is the world’s most popular photo-sharing app
Such clear value propositions allow you to clearly communicate your business plan and vision with your target audience. You can use the examples on Sequoia Capital’s companies page for guidance. Remember, while the examples you see already have business names in them, you can do so without one or with a placeholder. Focus on the one-liner at this stage.
Another key aspect of understanding your brand is defining its tone. This is your brand’s character and attitude. It will shape how others see your brand and their expectations of it. It will also influence all other branding elements such as the logo, tagline, font etc.
The most commonly used five brand tones are:
- Emotionally Powerful
- Playful and Fun
While a modern, spunky, mono or two-syllable business name is the norm these days with names like Uber, Slack, Zoom and on, don’t be afraid to choose outside the box
With the value proposition and brand tone, your primary groundwork is done. We can now move on to namestorming!
2. Brainstorm a ton of names:
Once the intense deep dive is done in step 1, you can move on to the fun part – brainstorming a large range of names. The aim is to think of as many names as you can that reasonably align with the brand tone.
You can use tools like a thesaurus, rhyming words, industry slang etc. to get started. You can also use our business name tool creator. Don’t worry about judging and assessing names at this stage. The point is to think as creatively as you can. You can end the brainstorm with 200 odd name ideas or less.
Next, you must condense this list. Now, you can map your name ideas comprehensively against the brand tone and persona as well as feedback from others. During the shortlist process, you can evaluate names to match with brand personality, how it sounds and looks on different properties such as social media or on paper, how excited it gets you and your team. Try to end the shotlist with under 10 names.
You’re probably eager to launch your business now with its new smashing name but you pass a few checks before the final reveal. Consider three major factors when validating your business name:
- Domain names: Few businesses can survive without a website. Hence, you will need a domain name that aligns your business name. While yourbusinessname.com, is the ideal domain name, you would need a massive budget to acquire it. You can also experiment with alternate spellings and .co domain names.
- Trademark: You must check if your business name is legally available . Most English words already have a login. You can rope in professional legal help to avoid any cease and desist letters in the future.
- Audience response: Present your name to as many friends, acquaintances, family members, and strangers as you can. They’ll spot and use the name more than you would. Hence, audience response is indispensable. Ask them for genuine feedback and incorporate it as you deem necessary.
One last time …
If you can ace this 3-step naming manual, you will be ahead of the curve in terms of your branding strategy. A constructive and successful naming process must begin with a deep evaluation of the brand, the entrepreneur’s preferences, and how they want to be seen. Then delve into a fun and judgment-free brainstorming process followed by a thorough validation test. This will ensure you end up with compelling, marketable, and unique business name ideas.
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